St Mary’s Church – Bury St Edmunds


St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmunds is the final resting place of Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk. Youngest sister of Henry VIII, Mary was grandmother to Lady Jane Grey.


St Mary's Church

St Mary’s Church


Mary died on 25th June 1533. After lying in state at Westhorpe for three weeks, she was buried in Bury Abbey.

According to the St Mary’s Church guide book, ‘at the dissolution of Bury Abbey in 1539 her tomb and body were transferred to the north side of the sanctuary of St. Mary’s. In September 1784 the tomb was dismantled, her lead coffin opened and her embalmed body revealed. Locks of her long golden hair were cut off, one of which can still be seen in the borough Museum. She was re-buried in the sanctuary and the original tomb top, a pre-reformation altar stone with five consecration crosses, placed over the grave. (1) *


Queen Mary's grave and the accompanying display

Queen Mary’s grave and the accompanying display


Close up of portrait of Mary Tudor

Close up of portrait of Mary Tudor


Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon


Maria Perry describes Mary’s funeral procession to Bury St Edmunds.

‘…led by the young Marchioness of Dorset, who was chief mourner, with her brother, the eleven-year-old Earl of Lincoln, the family assembled for the solemn funeral. Lady Eleanor came after her brother and sister, accompanied by Lady Catherine Willoughby, Suffolk’s ward. Mary’s stepdaughters, Lady Powis and Lady Mounteagle, came next.

…The procession formed up in the courtyard. Six gentlemen lifted the coffin from the chapel, placing it on a carriage draped with black velvet and drawn by six horses trapped in black. A pall of black cloth of gold was placed over the coffin, upon which rested a beautiful funeral effigy of the late Queen in her robes of state, a golden crown on her head and a sceptre brought specially from France in her hand. In front of the coffin 100 poor men in black carried wax tapers. Immediately behind the young Marchioness, escorted by her husband, rode a palfrey accoutred in black velvet. Lord Clifford, who was to marry Lady Eleanor, rode beside them, while ten noblewomen who had served Mary at various times rode single file behind them. Next came two carriages with the Queen’s gentlewomen and lastly the yeomen and servants.

…It was two o’clock before the procession reached Bury St Edmund’s, where the abbot and monks received the mourners and the Bishop of London waited in full pontificals. A hearse had been prepared for the coffin, all hung with black drapes, fringed and embroidered in gold with Mary’s arms and her gentle motto, ‘La volonte de Dieu me suffit.’ Banners embroidered with the symbols of Lancaster and York, the Tudor portcullis and the fleur-de-lis, adorned the church from the gate of the monastery right up to the high altar. The monks began to chant the solemn dirge and the French herald cried out at proper intervals, ‘Pray for the soul of the right high and excellent Princess and right Christian Queen Mary, late French Queen, and for all Christian souls.’” (2)


Mary's tomb

Mary’s tomb


Dr Erin Sadlack writes that ‘William Fellows, who was Marleon de Aye Herald to Brandon, records Mary’s original epitaph:

“Here lyete the Ryght noble and excellent prynces Mary frenche qwyne Suster to the moste myghtty prynce kyng Harry the viii of that name and wyff to Lews kyng of france whyche all hyr lyff tyme contynuynge pesyble qwyne dowager of france and in high favor and estymacion of bothe Reaulmes was afterward maryed to Charles duc of Suffolk.” (3)


Inscription above Mary's grave

Inscription above Mary’s grave


Mary's coat of arms

Mary’s coat of arms


In the South Chapel is the Mary Tudor Window. According to the guide book, the window ‘is by Clayton and Bell and dates from 1881. It was presented by Queen Victoria in memory of Princess Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk.’ (4)


Mary Tudor Window

Mary Tudor Window


‘In the upper tracery are depicted Mary Tudor, Henry VIII, Prince of Castile, Henry XII of France, and Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk. The glass shows the main events in Mary’s life (1) marriage with Louis XII in October 1514, she aged 18, he aged 52; (2) the entry of Mary into Paris, in November 1514; (3) Mary as the ‘White Queen’ in her widowhood in January 1515, talking to Henry’s ambassador Charles Brandon; (4) her marriage to Charles Brandon in March 1515; (5) their reconciliation with Henry VIII in England in May 1515; (6) Mary’s funeral at Bury Abbey in 1533.’ (5)


Close up of window showing (4) her marriage to Charles Brandon in March 1515; (5) their reconciliation with Henry VIII in England in May 1515; (6) Mary’s funeral at Bury Abbey in 1533

Close up of window showing (4) her marriage to Charles Brandon in March 1515; (5) their reconciliation with Henry VIII in England in May 1515; (6) Mary’s funeral at Bury Abbey in 1533


* The local borough museum is Moyse’s Hall Museum.


Sources

1.Paine, C.R. (2000) St Mary’s Bury St. Edmunds, Honey Hill Publishing, p.9

2. Perry, M. (1998) Sisters to the King – The Tumultuous Lives of Henry VIII’s sisters – Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France, Andre Deutsch Ltd, p.212

3.Sadlack, E. (2011) The French Queen’s Letters: Mary Tudor Brandon and the Politics of Marriage in 16th Century Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, p.156

4. Paine, C.R. (2000) St Mary’s Bury St. Edmunds, Honey Hill Publishing, p.9

5. ibid.


Posted in Places, Tudor Related | Comments Off

The Real Tudors: Kings & Queens Rediscovered – National Portrait Gallery


‘The Real Tudors: Kings & Queens Rediscovered’ opened at the National Portrait Gallery on 12th September 2014 and runs until 1st March 2015.

This free display is in the usual Tudor Galleries on the third floor of the NPG. Each Tudor monarch has their own section, starting with Henry VII and Henry VIII in Room 1, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I in Room 2 and Lady Jane Grey in Room 3.

Apart from seeing the Lady Jane ‘Streatham’ portrait back on display, the most fascinating objects in the exhibition for me, were the items that belonged to each Tudor monarch. It was great to see the Elizabeth locket ring again, to see Mary I’s Prayer book and to stand face to face with Henry VII.

As the gallery was quite crowded, I will have to wait for my next visit to read all the analysis of the paintings.

All italics are © NPG.




The crowne which it pleased God to give us.’

Will of Henry VII


The Henry VII section consists of:

1 portrait
Book of Hours belonging to Henry VII
Funeral effigy of Henry VII


Book of Hours belonging to Henry VII
c.1500
Ink and pigment on vellum

‘This book was given by Henry VII to his daughter Margaret before she left England in order to marry King James IV of Scotland. He inscribed it to her with the note, ‘Remember your king and loving Father in your prayers, Henry, King.’


Funeral effigy of Henry VII
Attributed to Pietro Torrigiano
Painted plaster and wood 1509

The head from the funeral effigy of Henry VII, was ‘modelled in plaster from the dead king’s face.’




The Rose both white and Rede/in one rose now dothe grow.’

John Skelton’s poem at Henry VIII’s coronation


The Henry VIII section consists of:

6 portraits
Henry VIII’s rosary


The portraits of Henry include ‘one of the earliest surviving portraits of Henry VIII.’


Henry VIII Unknown Artist Oil on panel, c.1520 (c) National Portrait Gallery

Henry VIII
Unknown Artist
Oil on panel, c.1520
(c) National Portrait Gallery


Henry VIII’s rosary
Carved boxwood 1509-27

‘This delicately carved rosary (a string of prayer beads) bears the Royal Arms of England and the letters ‘he8’ and ‘KA’ on the largest bead.’




What a King should England have had if God had given his his father’s age.’

Sir Richard Morison at Edward VI’s death


The Edward VI section consists of:

6 portraits
A page from Edward VI’s Chronicle


‘On this page Edward describes the moment at which he learnt of Henry VIII’s death and his own accession to the throne.’




A queen, and by the same title a king also.’

Bishop John White at Mary I’s funeral


The Mary I section consists of:


3 portraits + 1 miniature
1 miniature of Philip II
The Queen Mary Book of Prayers


The portraits include the Hans Eworth portrait of Mary.


Mary I Hans Eworth Oil on panel, 1554 (c) Society of Antiquaries of London

Mary I
Hans Eworth
Oil on panel, 1554
(c) Society of Antiquaries of London


The Queen Mary Book of Prayers
Illuminated manuscript on vellum c.1554
Unknown artist

These pages are from a manuscript containing instructions for two ceremonies that were usually performed by the monarch on Good Friday.’




Time stands still with gazing on her face.’

Verse praising Elizabth I set to music by John Dowland


The Elizabeth I section consists of:

7 portraits
3 miniatures
Locket ring


The miniatures include a coronation miniature of ‘Elizabeth I by an unknown English artist. Gouache on vellum laid on card, late sixteenth century.


(c) Chequer’s Estate

(c) Chequer’s Estate


Locket ring
Mother of pearl hoop, rubies, diamonds and enamel
c.1575

‘This exquisite ring opens to reveal two portraits beneath the diamond E: one of Elizabeth in profile, and the other of a woman in a French hood, who is probably Anne Boleyn.’




God and posterity will show me favour.’

Lady Jane Grey


The Lady Jane Grey section consists of:

1 portrait
1 engraving


(c) NPG 6804; Lady Jane Dudley (nee Grey) by Unknown artist

(c) NPG 6804; Lady Jane Dudley (nee Grey)


The portrait of Lady Jane is labeled as:

Lady Jane Grey
By an unknown artist
Oil on panel, late sixteenth century


‘Lady Jane Grey was named as heir to the throne by her cousin Edward VI: however, she was imprisoned after only nine days’ rule when Mary successfully asserted her right to the crown. Highly educated and devoutly Protestant, it was only during Elizabeth’s reign that she became more widely known. This fuelled an interest in her portraiture and portraits such as this example were created to mark her place for an Elizabethan audience. However, no lifetime portraits of Jane appear to survive and it is possible that none were ever painted.

By 1620, one image had gained credence as a lifetime portrait and was used as the basis for an engraving. However, the sitter in this image wears a jewel that is very similar to one that belonged to Katherine Parr, and may be Henry VIII’s sixth queen.’


(c) NPG

(c) NPG


Magdalena and Willem de Passe’s engraving of Lady Jane Grey from Henry Holland’s Heroologia Anglica


Read more about the exhibition at National Portrait Gallery – The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered .


The other Tudor portrait usually on display in the Tudor Galleries

Portraits of Anne Boleyn, Richard III and Catherine Parr have been moved to Room 4. As the light in Room 4 is much better than in the Tudor galleries, you can really appreciate the colours on the Catherine Parr ‘Master John’ portrait.


You can buy the exhibition catalogue from the National Portrait Gallery shop.

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered by Tarnya Cooper and Charlotte Bolland.

Posted in Edward VI, Elizabeth I, Exhibitions, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, National Portrait Gallery | Comments Off

Books 2014 – On sale today – The Real Tudors


12 September – The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered (Paperback) by Tarnya Cooper and Charlotte Bolland

(c) NPG

(c) NPG


‘Who were the Tudor kings and queens and what did they really look like? Mention Henry VIII and the familiar image of the rotund, bearded fellow of Hans Holbein the Youngers portraits immediately springs to mind reinforced, perhaps, by memories of a monochromatic Charles Laughton wielding a chicken leg in a fanciful biopic. With Elizabeth I its frilly ruffs, white make-up and pink lips in fact, just as she appears in a number of very well-known portraits held in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. But the familiarity of these representations has overshadowed the other images of the Tudor monarchs that were produced throughout their reigns. During the sixteenth century the market for portraits grew and so the monarchs images multiplied as countless versions and copies of their likeness were produced to satisfy demand. Taken together, these images chart both the changing iconography of the ruler and the development of portrait painting in England. In considering the context in which these portraits were made, the motivations of the sitters and the artists who made them, the purposes to which they were put, and the physical transformations and interventions they have undergone in the intervening five centuries, the authors present a compelling and illuminating investigation into the portraiture of the Tudor monarchs.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further Details – National Portrait Gallery

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


Posted in Books 2014, National Portrait Gallery | Comments Off

Salisbury Cathedral


Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire is the final resting place of Lady Katherine Grey, younger sister of Lady Jane.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral


The foundation stones for Salisbury were laid in 1220 and ‘the church was consecrated in 1258.’ (1) According to the guidebook, ‘with its soaring pointed arches and slender columns, Salisbury is unique in being built almost entirely in one architectural style – Early English Gothic.’ (2)


Hertford Tomb

Hertford Tomb


Katherine Grey died in 1568 and was buried in Suffolk. Her husband, the Earl of Hertford, Edward Seymour died in 1621 and Leanda de Lisle writes that;

‘William, as his only surviving male heir, inherited the title and promptly had his grandmother, Katherine Grey, disinterred from her grave in Yoxford, Suffolk, and brought to Salisbury Cathedral to be buried with her husband. Their magnificent tomb still stands in the easterly corner of the south choir aisle. The long-legged and refined figure of Hertford lies on his sarcophagus with Katherine above him, as a mark of her royal status. The inscription, in Latin, celebrates the lovers, reunited at last:

Incomparable Consorts
Who, experienced in the vicissitudes of changing fortune
At length, in the concord which marked their lives,
Here rest together.’ (3)

Tomb Inscription

Tomb Inscription

The guide book says the following about the tomb:

‘The very large decorative marble tomb is the Hertford tomb. You will notice that unusually Lady Catherine Grey is positioned higher than her husband, Edward Seymour, because of her family status. Lady Catherine’s sister, Lady Jane Grey, was proclaimed Queen of England for nine days before being executed in 1554, aged 17.’ (4)


Katherine and Edward

Katherine and Edward


Detail of the tomb

Detail of the tomb


Salisbury Cathedral is also the burial place of Elizabeth I’s lady in waiting, Helena Snachenberg and her husband.


Tomb of Helena Snachenberg

Tomb of Helena Snachenberg


017


Sources

Ives, E. (2009) Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, Wiley-Blackwell, p.183

1.Salisbury Cathedral: A Pocket Tour, Reef Publishing, p.1

2.ibid.

3. De Lisle, L. (2010) The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey, HarperPress, p.302

4. Salisbury Cathedral: A Pocket Tour, Reef Publishing, p.9


Posted in Lady Katherine Grey, Places | Comments Off

September Update – The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy


‘The Children of Henry VIII’ by John Guy added to the Other Biographies section of the bibliography.

Entries added to the following:

Paintings – Teerlinc, Letters – Letter to Mary and Primary Accounts – Captivity .


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

On this day…21st August 1553


The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary, and Especially of the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyat
p.19

‘Note, on mondaye the xxjst of August, it was appointed the duke with other shoulde have suffered, and all the garde were at the Tower; but howe soever it chaunced he did not; but he desired to here masse, and to receave the sacrament, according to the olde accustomed maner. So about ix of the clocke the alter in the chappell was arrayed, and eche thing prepared for the purpose; then mr Gage went and fetched the duke; and sir John Abridges and mr. John Abridges dyd fetche the marques of Northampton, sir Androwe Dudley, sir Herry Gates and sir Thomas Plamer, to masse…The lady Jane loking through the windowe sawe the duke and the rest going to the churche.’


Posted in On this day, On This Day | Comments Off

Books to look forward to in 2015…


History books to look forward to next year…


Posted in Books 2015 | Comments Off

Website Updated – 13th August


‘Slaughter of the Innocent’ by Leanda de Lisle (in The Story of the Tudors: The Rise and Fall of a Dynasty, from Henry VII to Elizabeth I) published by BBC History Magazine added to the Articles – Newspapers and Magazines section of the bibliography.

Entries added to the following: Primary Accounts – Spinola, Paintings – Delaroche and Engravings – Bourne.


Posted in Leanda de Lisle, Updates | Comments Off

More books to look forward to in 2014


4 September – The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors

‘The fifteenth century experienced the longest and bloodiest series of civil wars in British history. The crown of England changed hands violently seven times as the great families of England fought to the death for power, majesty and the right to rule. Dan Jones completes his epic history of medieval England with a new book about the Wars of the Roses – and describes how the Plantagenets tore themselves apart and were finally replaced by the Tudors.

With vivid descriptions of the battle of Towton, where 28,000 men died in a single morning, to Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was hacked down, this is the real story behind Shakespeare’s famous history plays.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Dan Jones (Facebook)

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered (Paperback) by Tarnya Cooper and Charlotte Bolland

‘Who were the Tudor kings and queens and what did they really look like? Mention Henry VIII and the familiar image of the rotund, bearded fellow of Hans Holbein the Youngers portraits immediately springs to mind reinforced, perhaps, by memories of a monochromatic Charles Laughton wielding a chicken leg in a fanciful biopic. With Elizabeth I its frilly ruffs, white make-up and pink lips in fact, just as she appears in a number of very well-known portraits held in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. But the familiarity of these representations has overshadowed the other images of the Tudor monarchs that were produced throughout their reigns. During the sixteenth century the market for portraits grew and so the monarchs images multiplied as countless versions and copies of their likeness were produced to satisfy demand. Taken together, these images chart both the changing iconography of the ruler and the development of portrait painting in England. In considering the context in which these portraits were made, the motivations of the sitters and the artists who made them, the purposes to which they were put, and the physical transformations and interventions they have undergone in the intervening five centuries, the authors present a compelling and illuminating investigation into the portraiture of the Tudor monarchs.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further Details – National Portrait Gallery

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


28 September – Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen by Sara Cockerill

‘Eleanor of Castile has been effectively airbrushed from history, portrayed as the archetypal submissive queen. In fact Eleanor had perhaps one of the most fascinating lives of any of England’s queens. Her childhood was spent in the centre of the Spanish reconquest and was dominated by her famed military hero of a father (St Ferdinand) and her intellectual polymath brother. Married at the age of twelve and a mother at thirteen, she gave birth to at least fourteen children, most of whom died young. She was to live for extended periods in five different countries, venture on Crusade and endure destitution and captivity amid a civil war in which her husband’s life was in acute danger. As Queen of England she enjoyed, alongside Edward I, the full glory of returning Crusaders and conquerors. Personally she was a highly dynamic, forceful personality who acted as part of Edward’s innermost circle of advisers, and successfully accumulated a vast property empire for the English Crown. In cultural terms her influence in architecture, design and even gardening can be discerned to this day, while her idealised image speaks to us from Edward’s beautiful memorials to her, the Eleanor crosses, the most complete and ornate set of monuments to a beloved spouse ever seen in this country. The only biography of this fascinating woman.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


2 October – Joan of Arc by Helen Castor

‘Acclaimed historian Helen Castor brings us afresh a gripping life of Joan of Arc. Instead of the icon, she gives us a living, breathing young woman; a roaring girl fighting the English, and taking sides in a bloody civil war that was tearing fifteenth century France apart.

Here is a portrait of a 19-year-old peasant who hears voices from God; a teenager transformed into a warrior leading an army to victory, in an age that believed women should not fight. And it is also the story behind the myth we all know, a myth which began to take hold at her trial: that of the Maid of Orleans, the saviour of France, a young woman burned at the stake as a heretic, a woman who five hundred years later would be declared a saint.

Joan and her world are brought vividly to life in this refreshing new take on the medieval world. Helen Castor brings us to the heart of the action, to a woman and a country in turmoil, a world where no-one – not Joan herself, nor the people around her, princes, bishops, soldiers or peasants – knew what would happen next.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Helen Castor

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


2 October – Witches: James I and the English Witch Hunts (Paperback) by Tracy Borman

‘September 1613.

In Belvoir Castle, the heir of one of England’s great noble families falls suddenly and dangerously ill. His body is ‘tormented’ with violent convulsions. Within a few short weeks he will suffer an excruciating death. Soon the whole family will be stricken with the same terrifying symptoms. The second son, the last male of the line, will not survive.

It is said witches are to blame. And so the Earl of Rutland’s sons will not be the last to die.
Witches traces the dramatic events which unfolded at one of England’s oldest and most spectacular castles four hundred years ago. The case is among those which constitute the European witch craze of the 15th-18th centuries, when suspected witches were burned, hanged, or tortured by the thousand. Like those other cases, it is a tale of superstition, the darkest limits of the human imagination and, ultimately, injustice – a reminder of how paranoia and hysteria can create an environment in which nonconformism spells death. But as Tracy Borman reveals here, it is not quite typical. The most powerful and Machiavellian figure of the Jacobean court had a vested interest in events at Belvoir.He would mastermind a conspiracy that has remained hidden for centuries.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Tracy Borman

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


9 October – Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton

‘Lisa Hilton’s majestic biography of Elizabeth I, ‘The Virgin Queen’, provides vibrant new insights on a monarch who continues to compel and enthral readers. It is a book that challenges readers to reassess Elizabeth’s reign, and the colourful drama, scandal and intrigue to which it is always linked. Lisa Hilton uses new research in France, Italy, Russia and Turkey to present a fresh interpretation of Elizabeth as a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince, delivering a very different perspective on Elizabeth’s emotional and sexual life, and upon her attempts to mould England into a European state. Elizabeth was not an exceptional woman but an exceptional ruler, and Hilton redraws English history with this animated portrait of an astounding life. Her biography maps Elizabeth’s dramatic journey from timid, newly crowned queen to one of the most powerful and vivid monarchs ever to rule England.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Lisa Hilton

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


28 October – The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII: The Women’s Stories by Amy Licence

‘For a king renowned for his love life, Henry VIII has traditionally been depicted as something of a prude, but the story may have been different for the women who shared his bed. How did they take the leap from courtier to lover, to wife? What was Henry really like as a lover? Henry’s women were uniquely placed to experience the tension between his chivalric ideals and the lusts of the handsome, tall, athletic king; his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, was, on one level, a fairy-tale romance but his affairs with Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Carew and Jane Popincourt undermined it early on. Later, his more established mistresses, Bessie Blount and Mary Boleyn, risked their good names by bearing him illegitimate children. Henry did not see that casual liaisons might threaten his marriage, until he met the one woman who held him at arms length. Anne Boleyn’s seductive eyes helped rewrite history. After their passionate marriage turned sour, the king rapidly married Jane Seymour. Her death in childbirth left him alone, without wife or lover, for the first time in decades. In the quest for a new queen, he scoured the courts of Europe, obsessed with the beautiful Christina of Milan, whose rejection of him spurred him into the arms of Anne of Cleves and soon after the lively teenager Catherine Howard. Henry’s final years were spent with the elegant and accomplished widow Catherine Parr, who sacrificed personal pleasure for duty by marrying him while her heart was bestowed elsewhere. What was it like for these women to share Henry’s bed, bear his children or sit on the English throne? He was a man of great appetites, ready to move heaven and earth for a woman he desired; their experiences need to be readdressed in a frank, modern take on the affairs of his heart. What was it really like to be Mrs Henry VIII?’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Amy Licence

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


28 October – Katharine of Aragon: The Tragic Story of Henry VIII’s First Unfortunate Wife (Paperback) by Patrick Williams

‘Katharine of Aragon was a central figure in one of the most dramatic and formative events of Tudor history – England’s breach with Rome after a thousand years of fidelity. She lived through traumatic and revolutionary times and her personal drama was played out against dramas of European significance. The heroic and dignified first wife of Henry VIII, Katharine was cast aside for reasons of dynastic ambition but resolutely and unbendingly stuck to her principles and her dignity at enormous cost to herself. Katharine’s story tells so much about the exercise of power, and about being married to a lover who became slowly but perceptibly a tyrant in public life and a monster in his private affairs. Professor Patrick Williams has been immersed in Spanish history for over forty years and his monumental new biography is the first to make full use of the Spanish royal archives; he presents a very new portrait of Katharine, most notably in establishing that her marriage to Prince Arthur, elder brother of Henry VIII, was never consummated. This biography thus forces a radical reappraisal of Henry VIII, his marriages and his reign – and of the origins of the Reformation in England.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


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Books 2014: On sale now – The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy (Paperback)


children of henry viii paperback


‘Behind the facade of politics and pageantry at the Tudor court, there was a family drama. Nothing drove Henry VIII, England’s wealthiest and most powerful king, more than producing a legitimate male heir and so perpetuating his dynasty. To that end, he married six wives, became the subject of the most notorious divorce case of the sixteenth century, and broke with the pope, all in an age of international competition and warfare, social unrest and growing religious intolerance and discord. Henry fathered four living children, each by a different mother.

Their interrelationships were often scarred by jealously, mutual distrust, sibling rivalry, even hatred. Possessed of quick wits and strong wills, their characters were defined partly by the educations they received, and partly by events over which they had no control. Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, although recognized as the king’s son, could never forget his illegitimacy. Edward died while still in his teens, desperately plotting to exclude his half-sisters from the throne. Mary’s world was shattered by her mother’s divorce and her own unhappy marriage. Elizabeth was the most successful, but also the luckiest. Even so, she lived with the knowledge that her father had ordered her mother’s execution, was often in fear of her own life, and could never marry the one man she truly loved. Henry’s children idolized their father, even if they differed radically over how to perpetuate his legacy.

To tell their stories, John Guy returns to the archives, drawing on a vast array of contemporary records, personal letters, and first-hand accounts.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details – Amazon.co.uk


Posted in Books 2014, John Guy, Lady Jane Grey | Comments Off