Serena Freewomyn

Making History Sexy

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | January 20, 2008 12:12 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Gay Icons and History, Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII of England, Showtime, The Tudors

Are you the kind of person who falls asleep as soon as someone starts talking about history? If this describes you, perhaps you haven't discovered historical novelist Philippa Gregory. I found her books in an airport bookstore. But my interest in historical fiction, and her novels about the wives of Henry VIII, predates a recent pass through the airport.

Showtime's series "The Tudors" will begin Season 2 on March 30th. The show dramatizes the life of Henry VIII of England and his many wives. I wasn't all that into Season 1 when I saw the initial trailors, but once I watched my first episode, I was sucked in. Henry VIII was a playa! I mean, he was the original P.I.M.P.!

Henry's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. She was a princess in her own right and not just some nobelman's daughter who married into royalty. She was cast aside, however, by the scheming Anne Boleyn, who makes Monica Lewinsky look like an amatuer (oh wait, she was). Showtime does a fabulous job of spelling out the plotting it took to overthrow the Catholic Church's hold on England and put Anne Boleyn on the thrown. After watching Season 1 of "The Tudors," I became obsessed with knowing more about Henry VIII's wives, especially Katherine of Aragon.

This is where Philippa Gregory comes in. The Constant Princess is about Catalina, who became know as Katherine of Aragon. Catalina was betrothed to Henry VIII's older brother Arthur from the time she was six years old. When they married, they originally didn't like one another. But their relationship turned into a passionate affair. Arthur died young, and rather than loose her claim to the English thrown, Catalina said that the marriage was never consumated and she eventually married Henry VIII. Sadly for Katherine, she had several miscarriages and only bore Henry a daughter, making her position on the throne very precarious.

The Other Boleyn Girl is about Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn's younger sister. Henry was desperate to have a son to inherit the throne, so he started fuckiknocking boots with the women of the court. Mary was Henry's mistress before Anne was and she actually gave him both a daughter and a son. However, Henry's interest in Mary quickly faded and Anne Boleyn is the woman who eventually became queen. Anne never bore Henry's son and she, too, lost her position and was eventually beheaded and succeeded by Jane Seymour. The Boleyn Inheritance is about 3 of Henry's other wives: Anne of Cleeves, Katherine Howard, and Jane Rochford. I haven't read it yet, but you know it's on my list.

If you're not big on reading, The Other Boleyn Girl has been made into a movie, starring Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Scarlett Johansen as Mary Boleyn. It will hit theaters on February 29th.

Showtime will start Season 1 reruns of "The Tudors" on January 27th to get ready for the March debut of Season 2. So if you're interested in how sexy history can be, check it out!


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Serena - thanks for this post. It's a great idea to encourage people to explore history for themselves.

TV is always a good starting point for these explorations, even though the producers and writers often can't resist the temptation to make the story better. The real-life Henry VIII didn't look anything like Jonathan Rhys Meyers by the time he married Anne Boleyn -- he was 42 and starting to get fat, as we can see in the Joos van Cleeve portrait of him at age 40.

Sometimes I think that we'd all get the shock of our lives if we had to look at the real history in all its detail. But hey...it's all about the journey of discovery...the personal fun of digging out what REALLY happened.

Sometimes I think that we'd all get the shock of our lives if we had to look at the real history in all its detail.

Something tells me that historical people are a lot smellier and a lot uglier than we think of them today. I mean, while we don't think of Franklin or Washington as sexy, something tells me that they were even uglier than we can imagine nowadays.

Henry VIII did have an interesting sexual life. It's funny how the church he founded and led is all on a sexual purity kick nowadays (at least the non-American branches).

Alex, ain't that the damn truth.

Patricia, you're so right. Henry VIII was totally gross by the time Anne Boleyn came along. He had a paunch belly and a festering sore on his leg that never healed. How would you like to go to bed with that every night? I'm all about the chub, but a stinky, rotting flesh wound? No way!

You know how they have the E True Hollywood Story shows? Wouldn't it be awesome to do like E True Presidential Stories. We'd find out who was banging who in the Oval Office. Clinton's would clearly be the most interesting. But something tells me there were some Republicans getting some puntang in the White House. What's the point of being president if you can't use it to get laid?

From what I remember of the time though, it wasn't likely Anne and Henry actually "slept" together so much as he occasionally had his way...

I love the Henry VIII saga - and I've read a couple of the books by Phillipa Gregory too. :)

I've always been interested in Henry VIII. I thought it was so horrible that women had to bore a son, or that bitch was sent packing, having to leave her head on the way out.

It sounds like someone's getting into TV. :) I wanna watch Tudors. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is really hot.

Sexy history really is the most entertaining. :)