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Cultural depictions of Henry VIII of England: Wikis

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Henry VIII of England has been depicted many times in popular culture.

Contents

Art

Literature

Film

Henry has been portrayed on film many times. He was played by:

Television

Henry has also made many television appearances. He has been played by:

Music

Camille Saint-Säens' opera Henri VIII (1883) is based on the divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

In 1910, Fred Murray and R. P. Weston wrote a music hall song, "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am", which plays off Henry VIII's numerous wives, although the lyrics make it clear that it is actually about a man named Henry who is the eighth with that name to have married the woman alluded to in the song. It became a signature song of Harry Champion, and became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States when it was revived in 1965 by British rock band Herman's Hermits.

In 1973, Rick Wakeman of progressive rock band Yes released The Six Wives of Henry VIII, a concept album with six instrumental tracks dedicated to each of Henry's wives. The track listing is not chronologically correct, as the album lists the wives in the following order:

  • Catherine of Aragon
  • Anne of Cleves (4th wife)
  • Catherine Howard (5th wife)
  • Jane Seymour (3rd wife)
  • Anne Boleyn (2nd wife)
  • Catherine Parr

In the liner notes Wakeman explained: "This album is based around my interpretations of the musical characteristics of the wives of Henry VIII. Although the style may not always be in keeping with their individual history, it is my personal conception of their characters in relation to keyboard instruments."

Wakeman fulfilled a life-long ambition by performing the album, in whole, at Hampton Court Palace on 1 and 2 May, 2009, which was later released on the live album and DVD, The Six Wives of Henry VIII: Live at Hampton Court Palace, featuring himself among The English Rock Ensemble, The English Chamber Choir and the Orchestra Europa. Brian Blessed narrates each song with his rich presence.

A widely believed legend is that the song "Greensleeves" was written by Henry. It is said that he composed it for his future Queen, Anne Boleyn, who he was at the time attempting to court. However, there is no evidence that he was the author and the song is written in a style which was not known in England until after Henry died.

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