6 great books about British queens

3. The Third Queen: She Who Couldn't Last

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While history turned Boleyn into "the Tempress," Antonia Fraser writes, Henry VIII's next wife became known as the "Good Woman." Perhaps that's why she's not among the most famous of Henry's wives and gets little attention in the biography department. She also died after only a brief marriage to the king.

But she was certainly important. For one thing, she produced an heir who became king. (If you're scoring at home, that makes three children of Henry who became monarchs.)

Fraser's book "The Wives of Henry VIII" aims to "illuminate women's history" through its subjects.

Fraser uncovers Seymour's religious conservatism and devotion to the "old ways," in contrast to the perception that she was a force for Protestants. Fraser also captures the tragedy of her death shortly after childbirth.

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