Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII’s True Wife by Amy Licence
Licence’s biography of Catherine of Aragon is an incredibly well written and fascinating look at the Spanish Princess who became Queen of England. By exploring Katherine’s childhood in Spain, where she was brought up to be Princess of Wales from the age of 3, Licence clearly shows how the role model of her mother, Queen Isabella, and events of the reign of ‘The Catholic Monarchs’ shaped the Queen that Katherine was to become.
Although Katherine is chiefly remembered today as the first of six wives to Henry VIII, she was much more than that. From her grand entry into London to become the bride of Prince Arthur, their magnificent wedding at St Paul’s, their short lived marriage and the years of uncertainty Katherine faced afterwards, Licence presents a very human Katherine.
As Queen of England, Katherine followed in her mother’s footsteps, serving as regent, while Henry VIII was in France and overseeing the English triumph over the Scots at the Battle of Flodden. She also took an active political role and her opinions were trusted and respected by Henry.
Katherine’s first marriage to Henry’s brother Arthur, is one of the great ‘what-ifs?’ of English history. Not only what would have happened if Arthur had lived but also the question of what happened on their wedding night. Licence looks at the question that would come back to haunt Katherine in detail and offers an interesting alternative theory.
Until recent years Katherine has been largely overlooked but in this biography the piety, courage and determination of the woman and Queen that Katherine was is clear to see.
Thank you to Amberley Publishing for my review copy of this book