Divorced, Beheaded, Died… by Kevin Flude – Book review

As today, June 28th, is Henry VIII’s birthday (born 1491) and he is – to me – one of the most fascinating English monarchs to have lived, let’s celebrate with a review of Divorced, Beheaded, Died… by Kevin Flume.

Henry VIII divorced-beheaded-died-kevin-flume-book-review

Opening sentence: It is slightly unfashionable, these days, to be taught very much about the kings and queens of Britain.

Yes, following on from that opening sentence, I don’t really remember learning much about the monarchy in history lessons, which is kind of puzzling now I think about it. Due to this, I’ve never felt like I knew much about the kings and queens of Britain and I decided it was time to rectify this.

History – but make it bite size

I didn’t, however, want this to become a massive project with too many layers of information. There have been over 60 kings and queens, so delving into the life of each could take some time.

What I wanted was a succinct but informative overview of the monarchs, the order of succession and the key facts about the life of each explained eloquently. And that is exactly what I got with Divorced, Beheaded, Died… (also v. clever to reference the most famous royal story of all in the title to catch the eye of potential royal-loving readers browsing in bookshops, like me).

I have a kind of inexplicable interest in the Royal Family

Inexplicable because even I’m not sure when it started or why I find them so endlessly fascinating. I’m just a sucker for a good story I guess, as their history is anything but boring.

From rebellion and murder to deceit, and revenge, it’s all there. I mean, less so these days with the current Royal Family, but they still have their fair share of scandal and headlines and keep my interest levels high.

In this little book, I learnt so many new facts including that from 1649 – 1660, there actually was no king or queen and England was a republic! How did I not know this before?? It didn’t really work out though and Charles II was asked if he would like to take back the throne. Luckily he said yes and royal order resumed.

So, this is kind of a niche review but if you also find yourself thinking you wouldn’t mind a little more info on our monarchs, then give Divorced, Beheaded, Died… a whirl. From the (possibly mythical) first King of Britain, Brutus (c.1160 -1137 BC) to the country’s longest reigning monarch, our wonderful Elizabeth II, they’re all in here!

If you want to read another random royal book about Queen Elizabeth II, Our Rainbow Queen by Sali Hughes is a brilliant look at Liz’s amazing wardrobe and the political statements she makes with what she chooses to wear.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

6 thoughts

      1. I got interested in The Tudors when I was 17 and am still fascinated by them. There’s a series of historical novels by Alison Weir you might enjoy – each one focuses on one of Henry 8’s wives.


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