THE GOLDEN QUARTET: SULEYMAN I, HENRY VIII, FRANCIS I, CHARLES V. Never before had the world seen four such giants coexisting. Sometimes friends, more often enemies, these men held Europe in the hollow of their hands.
“The early sixteenth century was a time when prophecies were popular and prophets were confident: men and women puzzled over ancient rhymes which might (or might not) be held to have predicted such mighty topics such as the fall of Cardinal Wolsey, the split from Rome, and the dissolution of the monasteries. But no one ever predicted the King would marry six times and, if they had, he would not have believed it. Nor for that matter would any of his six queens have believed the various densities which lay in store for them, if predicted at birth: not one but two princesses were to die cast off; equally surprising, four women of modest enough birth were to become royal consorts; most astonishingly of all…two of these apparently unexceptional women were to die a traitor’s death.” Antonia Fraser, The Wives of Henry VIII.
Pictured in order: Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr