Katherine Parr: the truth about the wife who 'survived'Henry VIII’s final wife and widow did far more than simply outlast her tyrannical husband. Talking to Rhiannon Davies, historian Estelle Paranque argues that Katherine used her royal position to push for religious reform – as well as to advance her own power. She may have even, Estelle claims, have looked to her young stepson Edward as a means of releasing her ambitions.


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Dr Estelle Paranque is a royal historian and assistant professor in history at Northeastern University London. Her latest book is Blood, Fire and Gold: The Story of Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici (Penguin, 2022)

Explore the full video series

In our accompanying six-part video series, leading Tudor historians delve into the fascinating lives of each of Henry VIII’s iconic queens. Could Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard have avoided the executioner’s block? Why can Anne of Cleves be seen as the true survivor? And who was the queen whom Henry loved most?

Find out in this video series exclusively available to HistoryExtra subscribers. All episodes are available to watch now:

On the podcast | Explore the full Six Wives audio series

The story of King Henry VIII’s six wives is a tale of political crisis and personal tragedy, sacrifice and survival, sex and death, scandal, love and betrayal. But, after centuries of myth have built up around this story, has it clouded our view of the real women involved? In our accompanying six-part podcast series, we’ll be peeling back the layers of mythmaking to take another look at these fascinating women, who shaped the course of Henry’s reign – and the history of England.


Want to learn more about the queens?

  • Explore the full podcast and video series plus a range of companion content from across HistoryExtra on our Six Wives hub


Rhiannon DaviesSection editor, BBC History Magazine

Rhiannon Davies is section editor for BBC History Magazine and our Tudor ambassador, writing a fortnightly newsletter in which she shares the latest Tudor news, anniversaries and content with her audience. She also regularly appears on the award-winning HistoryExtra podcast.