Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Children of Henry VIII” as Want to Read:
The Children of Henry VIII
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Children of Henry VIII

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  10,822 Ratings  ·  438 Reviews
At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife Katherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the teenage daughter of his second wife Anne Boleyn; and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. In her brilliantly compelling new book, Alison Weir, autho ...more
Hardcover, First American Edition, 385 pages
Published July 9th 1996 by Ballantine Books (first published May 16th 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Children of Henry VIII, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Children of Henry VIII

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who liked Weir's The Six Wives
Recommended to Andrew by: Lindsay
Shelves: history
Best place name: Fotheringhay
Best adjective: bedecked
Best phantom pregnancy: Mary's first
Most unwelcome death: Jane Grey's
Most welcome deaths: Tie between John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland's and Queen Mary's
Biggest asshole of a Pope: Pope Paul III
Most unfit parents: Henry Grey and Frances Brandon (Duke & Duchess of Suffolk and Jane Grey's parents)
Most scantily mentioned former queen: Anne of Cleves
Best hunchback: Mary Grey
Paul Bryant

On that day a dead dog with clipped ears, a rope around its neck, and its head tonsured like a priest’s was hurled into the Queen’s chamber at Whitehall.

This is history at its best, with utterly intense soap opera plots and weird glamorous characters and all of it true. This book picks up where Henry VIII and his collection of calamitous chorines left off and tells the story of the next eleven years. And what eleven years they were. Heads rolled, the stench of burning flesh hung in the air, and
Although I wouldn’t say I’m a “Tudor Expert” (okay maybe I would); I do like to think I am well-versed on the topic. I first read Alison Weir’s “The Children of Henry VIII” almost a decade ago before I was as acquainted with the Tudor dynasty. Although both are far different experiences, re-reading this history piece still brought enjoyment (once-again).

Immediately in the first sentence of the Preface, Weir states that The Children of Henry VIII “…is not a history of England during the troubles
BAM The Bibliomaniac
There isn't any earth shattering information contained in this tome, no new facts unearthed; but Weir has such mastery of her research that it's always a pleasure to read her works. This is the first time I've read about all four I suppose you could call them junior Tudor monarchs in succinct, consecutive order. I've always been partial to the nine-days queen since I saw the movie starring Helena Bonham-Carter in the '80s. I think she's been shortchanged by history. Here she is given a healthy d ...more
Steven Peterson
Feb 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book is a bit misleading. While Weir does her usual fine job of elucidating characters and their times, calling this "The Children of Henry VIII" is a bit misleading, since Lady Jane Grey's nine day reign is included. Her story as a child until her brief reign is also told. This makes a great deal of sense historically, since she was labeled sovereign by some lords upon the death of Edward VI and before Mary's supporters drove Grey's "handlers" from power.

The book does a nice j
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, summer, royalty
Alison Weir always delivers, and it's a pleasure to have one of her books in my greedy-for-more-history hands. Here, she focuses on Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI, the Tudor Children. She paints the picture of papa Henry and how his lust for power, and women, led him to be father to three different children from three different mothers.

There is even a biographical portrait of Lady Jane Grey, the unfortunate girl caught between avaricious parents and power-hungry opponents. Believe me, you wi
Children of England (also known as The Children of Henry VIII) covers the years between 1547 and 1558 and explores the problems of succession after Henry VIII's death, following the troubled lives of his children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth and of his granddaughter Jane Grey.

This is a very comprehensive book. I liked how Weir did not present the children only by their actions, but also spent some time talking about their appearances, their personalities and their educations. It was extremely int
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who is looking for a detailed read about the Tudors
Recommended to Jennifer by: Mom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fresh off her earlier work, Henry VIII, I dove headfirst into this follow-up that recounts the tumultuous period between the great monarch’s death and the ascension of his second daughter, Elizabeth. The title, as many have observed, is a tad misleading as only three out of the four monarchs featured were actually children of the late Henry; the teenage Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for a mere three months after the death of the equally young Edward VI and before being deposed by Mary and her alli ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an account of the events that happened after the death of Henry VIII up to the ascension of Elizabeth I to the throne. It is the story of how his heirs; his son Edward, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth and his grandniece Jane Grey engaged in a power struggle. This is not a biography of either of them but a look at a pivotal point in English history. I gained a good deal of insight into the events of that time period and how they all fit together.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A fascinating book that deals with each of his children in turn. This book was very good in tackling subjects which usually get dealt with as a chapter in a book on the individuals. As someone who finds the period fascinating, it was academic enough not to be boring if you know a fair amount about the main characters, but not daunting if you dont. Alison Weir puts the chronology together well, and examines the four characters relationship with each other, how those relationships were manipulated ...more
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend reading this book after Alison Weir's "the Six Wives of Henry VIII" as this picks up right where that left off. At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. Weir examines the relationship between Edward and Mary, Edward an ...more
Mar 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this reads too much like a text book from school and not really my type of enjoyable reading.
Ray Campbell
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Weir does a terrific job of storytelling. There are histories that are dry and impersonal, this is not one of them. By focusing on a narrow window, Weir makes it easy to connect to the characters in the book as though it's great fiction rather than history. Never the less, her research is amazing and she has many scholarly points to make.

The book begins with a quick run up and review of the reign of Henry VIII in order to set the stage for the assent of his son, Edward VI. It is easy to skip ove
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
One of Alison Weir's most popular books does not disappoint. Its material flies off the pages and makes you really think about what happened between Henry VIII's death and Elizabeth I's succession. I thought that I would already know a lot of what was in this book, having read a multitude of other books on this period, but I was very, very wrong.

Firstly is Edward VI's succession. A man hailed as 'the next King Solomon' - as such a young boy when he came to the throne (9 years old) he was manipu
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think people shy away from reading History books is that they remember the boring text books they were given at school, where they would point out the primary and secondary sources over and over again. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

What people need to be reading are History books that read like fiction. Alison Weir is an author that achieves this. And so far, everything I've read by her, I've been impressed with.

This is the story of the four heirs to the Tudor throne. Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane Grey
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Children of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir

"The Children of Henry VIII" is a nonfiction history that reads like a narrative. One interesting, engrossing, detail-filled narrative. The book follows the ascent of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, and Elizabeth I to the English throne. Also covered are the men around the throne, such as John Dudley, Thomas Cranmer, Edward Courtenay, Philip II, etc.

The basic story is known by many, especially fans of the Tudor period. Weir's book is perfect for lover
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely adored this book...and not just because I'm wild and crazy about the Tudors. Let's be honest, people. Long before Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon's Landing, Another World, and even Passions, there were the Tudors, and they were wonderful! My only regret regarding the reading of this book is that Sundance Channel played 1998's Elizabeth directly I was through, and of course, all I saw during the first screening was all of the historical inaccuracies committed for sake of cinematic appeal. ...more
To reiterate my review of Weir's "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," I can't believe I read this book all the way through, which says something about Weir's writing skills. Obviously, it helps to be interested in the subject matter, but it really expanded my knowledge on the children of Henry VIII. Of course Elizabeth I's reign would be its own book, but I was expecting Weir to touch on her reign a little bit more. Maybe one chapter - which I know would be hard, but Weir is such a great writer, I kno ...more
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For all his worry about heirs, he spawned three drastically different Monarchs, one a puppet, one infamous for religious fanaticism and murder and one celebrated as the greatest Monarch in English history. I knew of their adult lives, but reading this really put the pieces together for me and I saw how their childhoods dictated their future actions. I thought it was a fascinating peek inside, so to speak.
I love this book. Now, Elizabeth, we want Elizabeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I looooooooooooove this book and can barely put it down. I will be reading all of Alison Weir's other books once I finish this one!
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction, tudor
As much as I’ve already read about Tudor history, this offered an interesting dynamic about how Henry VIII’s children interacted with each other. Despite having read biographies of Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Jane Grey, I feel like I learned more about the royal family and how their actions impacted one another. The scandal involving Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour portrayed Kat Ashley as a meddling busybody. It illustrated how awfully the Suffolks treated their daughter Jane. Mary’s obstin ...more
A closer look into the Tudor dynasty, after Henry VIII and his six wives but preceding the Elizabethan Age. Focuses on the lives and reigns of Henry VIII's children: Edward VI, Mary I, and ends with the accession of Elizabeth I to the throne. The book also details the extremely brief "reign" of Lady Jane Grey, aka the Nine Days' Queen, chronologically in between Edward and Mary. I will talk about some "spoilers", I guess, but not really, since this is history. But HERE IS YOUR WARNING in any cas ...more
Lukasz Pruski
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And now for something completely different. Not a mystery book review. First, a disclaimer: I have quite a limited experience with history books, having read fewer than 10 of these in my lifetime, in contrast with well over a thousand mysteries and several hundreds of “serious fiction” titles (not to mention non-history non-fiction titles or books in my profession).

I understand that Ms. Weir’s “serious” books, meaning her historical non-fiction, are frowned upon by “serious” historians as being
Ana Mardoll
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
The Children of Henry VIII / 9780307806864

I picked up this book after finishing Weir's excellent "The Six Wives of Henry VIII". This book follows straight on from the end of that one, and is an excellent and engrossing look at the interactions between Edward, Mary, Elizabeth, and Jane Grey as they each in turn took the English throne whilst maintaining complex relationships with the others.

There's really not much to be said here that I haven't said already with regards to Weir's books: her scho
Janastasia Whydra
I think the United States public school history lesson can be summed up as: Britain was our enemy during the American Revolutionary War, the British Empire during Queen Victoria's reign, and Britain was our ally during World War II. When it comes to European history, American education is lacking... then again, it is lacking in regards to the history of the United States as well.

So, reading Alison Weir's The Children of Henry VIII was not only educational and enlightening, but also entertaining
Duncan Wilson
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of henry VIII and his six wives has been covered in great detail...and often… may too often….? However, where the books and definitely the TV productions ends is where for me it gets interesting. Edward VI reign is mired in the machinations of some truly deplorable folks especially Thomas Seymour, John Dudley and Henry and Frances Grey.
Dudley and the greys must go down in history as some of the most underhanded scumbags of the Tudor era. Extending the dying kings life with arsenic whil
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
I have previously started this book, but I only got forty pages into it before something else caught my attention. After I finished The Six Wives of Henry VIII I wanted more Tudor stuff, so what better to read than this? After I've always been fascinated by those three royal children.

This book gave me more insight into Edward VI. Although it didn't delve too deeply into his reign. Edward seems to me to have been a puppet through most of his reign. But he did set the groundwork for the Protestant
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read very little in the way of history books - I honestly cannot say when I last read a book of history before this one, so bear that in mind.

I found this book extremely readable in many, many ways. Weir does a very good job of moving things along at a pace that keeps the reader from feeling bogged down, and in such a way as I also did not end up feeling like things were rushed through in the book. It was quite interesting to see how much of a particular individual's personality Weir was ab
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Wives of Henry VIII
  • Mistress Anne
  • Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne
  • The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary"
  • Catherine Parr
  • Edward VI: The Lost King of England
  • Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII
  • Elizabeth's Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen
  • Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford
  • Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery
  • Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII
  • The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France
  • The Sisters Who Would Be Queen
  • Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England
  • The Mistresses of Henry VIII
  • In the Lion's Court: Power, Ambition, and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII
  • In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, #6)
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.

Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her
More about Alison Weir...

Share This Book

“When these with violence were burned to death,
We wished for our Elizabeth.”
“At six o'clok the young King's terrible sufferings finally ended. After his eyes had closed for the last time, the tempeste raged on. Later, superstitious folk claimed that Henry himself had sent it, and had risen from his grave in anger at the subversion of his will.” 5 likes
More quotes…