Six women. One man.
This is “The Regina Monologues,” a play staged in Key West through this weekend.
Catherine of Aragon was 24 when she married the 18-year-old Henry. She gave birth to a daughter, Mary. Twenty years (and some serious political shenanigans) later, Henry had their marriage annulled.
Anne Boleyn was 24 when she caught the interest of the (very married) 34-year-old Henry. She refused to be his mistress and they were eventually wed. She gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, followed by three miscarriages. Anne was beheaded at age 35 when Henry’s interest wandered elsewhere.
Jane Seymour was 28 when she married the 45-year-old Henry (just 11 days after Anne’s execution). She was an advocate for her stepdaughter, Mary, to be restored to the line of succession. She gave birth to a son, Edward, but died only days after at age 29. Henry did not remarry for three years.
Anne of Cleves was 25 when her marriage to the 49-year-old Henry was arranged sight unseen. The marriage was reported as non-consummated and rumors ran wild as to just why. The couple amicably divorced soon after the wedding. Anne lived out her life as Henry’s “beloved` sister.”
Kathryn Howard was 15 when the morbidly obese and almost 50-year-old Henry took a fancy to her. Her family was English nobility but also poor. She was beheaded for “failing to disclose her sexual history to the king within 20 days of their marriage.” The law was six days old. Kathryn was 19 years old.
Katherine Parr was 31 and twice widowed when she married the 52-year-old Henry. She was a published author and a capable regent when Henry was out of the country. She played a key role in restoring Mary and Elizabeth to the line of royal succession. Henry died at age 55. Katherine remarried and died in childbirth a year later.
“The Regina Monologues, starring Diane May, Erin McKenna, Lisa Elena Monda, Melody Moore, Jade Williamson and Ellen Rickert, is sold out for some performances but there are still tickets available. Performances are at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 401 Duval St., Key West. Go to www.fringetheater.org.