An ignorant girl, corrupted in youth. A hapless pawn, thrust forward by her ambitious family. A pretty girl, who has captured the heart of a king.
She sings, she dances, she delights in the pleasures of being queen, the gorgeous gowns, the exquisite jewels, playful lap-dogs. The only cloud in the heavens is her failure to quicken. But that is not her fault…
The King tells the world she is a rose without a thorn. He extols her beauty and her virtue. But Katheryn has a past of which Henry knows nothing. It comes back increasingly to haunt her.
Those who know her secrets clamour for places in her household. It sounds like blackmail.
But near at hand is Katheryn’s handsome cousin, ready to comfort her.
KATHERYN HOWARD – the fifth of Henry’s queens.
Alison Weir paints a poignant portrait of a young, neglected girl used by unscrupulous men to gratify their lusts and ambitions, and relates one of the saddest chapters in English history.
There is no gathering the rose without being pricked by the thorns.
The Blackened Heart by foremost and beloved historian Alison Weir is an e-short and companion piece that bridges the first two novels in the Six Tudor Queens series, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Fans of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick will delight in this mysterious tale, drawn together from fragments of history – and a good dose of speculation. Or is it…?
Margery Otwell, a self-made gentleman’s young daughter, gets her first taste of courtly life when she takes up a position as chamberer to Lady Peche of Lullingstone Castle. Dances, music, feasting – and a seduction – follow, and Margery learns the rules of courtly love the hard way.
Saved from disgrace by the kindly Sir John Peche, Margery finds herself at court waiting on Queen Katherine. Little does Margery know that she is already a pawn in a game of power, irrevocably bound to the fall of the lady she will come to love as her mistress, Queen and friend.
Six Tudor Queens: Writing a New Story is an introduction to the Six Tudor Queens series by eminent historian Alison Weir. The lives of Henry VIII’s queens make for dramatic stories that will offer insights into the real lives of the six wives based on extensive research and new theories that will captivate fans of Philippa Gregory and readers who lost their hearts (but not their heads) to the majestic world of Wolf Hall.
In all the romancing, has anyone regarded the evidence that Anne Boleyn did not love Henry VIII? Or that Prince Arthur, Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, who is said to have loved her in fact cared so little for her that he willed his personal effects to his sister? Or that Henry VIII, an over-protected child and teenager, was prudish when it came to sex? That Jane Seymour, usually portrayed as Henry’s one true love, had the makings of a matriarch? There is much to reveal …Read extract
The idea of writing a series of six novels about the wives of Henry VIII came suddenly to me as I was discussing another proposal with my agent. It was an obvious choice, for I have studied Henry’s queens over several decades, and published books on them, notably a collective biography in 1991, which I am now re-researching and rewriting.
The lives of the six wives make for dramatic stories. The extensive research I have done has afforded new insights into their lives. In all the romancing, for example, has anyone noticed the evidence that tells us what Anne Boleyn felt about being pursued by Henry VIII? Or that Henry VIII, an overprotected teenager, was prudish when it came to sex? I could go on…
I want to seek out the truths that lie behind the historical evidence and, for this, fiction is a versatile medium because it offers scope to develop ideas that have no place in a history book, but which can help to illuminate the lives of these queens. A historian uses such inventiveness at her peril – but a novelist has the power to get inside her heroine’s head, which can afford insights that would not be permissible to a historian, yet can have a legitimate value of their own – although I believe that the fictionalised version must be compatible with what is known about the subject.
Arthur: Prince of the Roses by bestselling historian Alison Weir is an e-short and companion piece to her stunning novel, Katherine of Aragon, the first in a spellbinding six-novel series about Henry VIII’s Queens. Fans of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick will love this insight into the story of this illfated Tudor prince.
‘You are the first prince of my line, the Tudor line.’
Arthur, the first Tudor prince, is raised to believe that he will inherit a kingdom destined to be his through an ancient royal bloodline. He is the second Arthur, named for the legendary hero-king of Camelot.
To be a worthy ruler, he must excel at everything – and show no weakness. But Arthur is not strong, and the hopes of England weigh heavy on his slight shoulders. And, all the while, his little brother Harry, the favoured, golden son, is waiting in the wings.
Alison Weir is the top-selling female historian (and the fifth best-selling historian overall) in the United Kingdom, and has sold over 2.7 million books worldwide. She has published seventeen history books, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Princes in the Tower, Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Katherine Swynford, The Lady in the Tower and Elizabeth of York. Alison has also published five historical novels, including Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth. Her latest biography is The Lost Tudor Princess, about Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox. She is soon to publish Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, the first in a series of novels about the wives of Henry VIII. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Life Patron of Historic Royal Palaces, and is married with two adult children.
Alison Weir is the top-selling female historian in the United Kingdom, and has sold over 2.7 million books worldwide. She has published seventeen history books, including Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Lady in the Tower and Elizabeth of York, and five historical novels. Her latest biography is The Lost Tudor Princess. She is soon to publish Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, the first in a series of novels about the wives of Henry VIII.