I finally gave Alison Weir a go after having this series in my shopping cart for quite some time. It’s interesting to read the life of a historical figure in a novel. This is probably the first novel I’ve read that’s based on it. And as much as I’ve always been interested in the Tudors, I must admit that my knowledge about Katherine of Aragon was very limited. I only knew her as the first wife of Henry VIII, mother of Mary I who would be queen of England.
While I doubt that anyone is total unfamiliar with the name, I’ll tell briefly, just in case, in my own words.
Katherine of Aragon came from Spain. Since she was three years old she’s betrothed to Arthur, prince of Wales. Arthur was the older brother of Henry VIII. Arthur passed away just five months after being married to Katherine, which left her questioning about her future in England. And then it’s decided that she would get married to Arthur’s younger brother, Henry VIII. But before the marriage, king Henry VII (father of Henry VIII. Don’t confuse the two :D) stopped providing her money for her household and she was set apart from Henry VIII (or prince Henry, as at this time, he’s not yet a king), making her doubt whether or not the marriage would be set forth. She wrote a letter to her father, king Ferdinand explaining her situation, but his reply just made her despair, for he stated that all expenses had to be provided by King Henry VII.
After king Henry VII passed away, prince Henry proposed to Katherine and they became king and queen of England.
Henry, now being a king, desired to have a male heir as England had never had a female heir to reign. But after several failed pregnancy, they welcomed a healthy baby girl who they named Mary into the world. And that marked the the end of Katherine’s ability to give birth and her health deteriorated. Henry, who had been comforting her every time they lost their baby, couldn’t hide his disappointed feeling at last. They began to question their whole married life and kept thinking what kind of serious sin they have committed, and Henry even now doubted whether or not Katherine’s marriage to Arthur was consummated.
Henry met Anne Boleyn and he fell madly in love with her. He requested the pope an annulment of his marriage, but it’s not granted, so he decided to break off with Rome; He married Anne Boleyn and ‘threw away’ Katherine. Nevertheless, Katherine stayed royal. She still defended the king until her last breath.
Alison Weir wrote it like she’s sitting by the fire with me while she’s telling a story. I felt like I was in Katherine’s shoes. It amazed me how much it actually matched with the history. But I’m not to judge about the accuracy. I’m just wondering which cave have I been living in that I had never known that there have been authors who had formed history into a novel. While I like history, none of my teachers in the past had been able to teach because the class was constantly boring. I’ve always had this opinion, that a lot of people can be a teacher, but not many can teach. So, everything I read about history was textbook. My curiosity about history was influenced by a Japanese manga book called Rose of Versailles, written by Riyoko Ikeda. It’s a fiction about Marie Antoinette. From here thus, I began to dig the real history of this queen. I was ten.
I love how it’s written. I can’t imagine the pain Queen Katherine had endured; Losing her children, being set apart from her only child Mary, being sent away by the king, her title is forcefully taken down, yet she still defended the king and loved him until her last breath. This is why she’s been called the true queen.
At this moment I’m reading the second book of Alison Weir: Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession. I hate Henry more than ever!!
A Spanish princess. Raised to be modest, obedient and devout. Destined to be an English Queen.
Six weeks from home across treacherous seas, everything is different: the language, the food, the weather. And for her there is no comfort in any of it. At sixteen-years-old, Catalina is alone among strangers.
She misses her mother. She mourns her lost brother.
She cannot trust even those assigned to her protection.
KATHERINE OF ARAGON. The first of Henry’s Queens. Her story.
History tells us how she died. This captivating novel shows us how she lived