The Six Wives of Henry VIII Themes

Alison Weir (historian)
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The Role of Medieval Women

At the time of Henry VIII's reign, and for centuries both before and since, there were strict socio-cultural conventions defining the ways in which women, and in particular high born women, were expected to behave. They were more or less property, with their fundamental purpose being to serve men—sexually, politically, financially, and/or emotionally. If their husbands were unfaithful, women had to put up with it, silently and with grace—but if a woman was unfaithful, she could be divorced or even executed. If a man wanted a woman to marry a potential political and/or business ally, she had no choice—she did it, often leaving her home at a very young age never to see it again. If a woman wanted to marry for love, she was often sent to live in a disgraced exile (such was the...

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This section contains 781 words
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