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Katherine the Queen

The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII

Linda Porter

St. Martin's Griffin

The general perception of Katherine Parr is that she was a provincial nobody with intellectual pretensions who became queen of England because the king needed a nurse as his health declined. Yet the real Katherine Parr was attractive, passionate, ambitious, and highly intelligent. Thirty years old (younger than Anne Boleyn had been) when she married the king, she was twice widowed and held hostage by the northern rebels during the great uprising of 1536–37 known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. Her life had been dramatic even before she became queen and it would remain so after Henry’s death. She hastily and secretly married her old flame, the rakish Sir Thomas Seymour, and died shortly after giving birth to her only child in September 1548. Her brief happiness was undermined by the very public flirtation of her husband and stepdaughter, Princess Elizabeth. She was one of the most influential and active queen consorts in English history, and this is her story.

The general perception of Katherine Parr is that she was a provincial nobody with intellectual pretensions who became queen of England because the king needed a nurse as his health declined. Yet the real Katherine Parr was attractive, passionate, ambitious, and highly intelligent. Thirty years old (younger than Anne Boleyn had been) when she married the king, she was twice widowed and held hostage by the northern rebels during the great uprising of 1536–37 known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. Her life had been dramatic even before she became queen and it would remain so after Henry’s death. She hastily and secretly married her old flame, the rakish Sir Thomas Seymour, and died shortly after giving birth to her only child in September 1548. Her brief happiness was undermined by the very public flirtation of her husband and stepdaughter, Princess Elizabeth. She was one of the most influential and active queen consorts in English history, and this is her story.

REVIEWS

Praise for Katherine the Queen

“Rich, perceptive, nuanced and creative, this first full-scale biography gives one of Britain’s best but least-known queens her due.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Linda Porter has done a marvellous job . . . she evokes the whole terrifying and exciting world of the Tudor courts, packed with intrigue and danger.”—A.N. Wilson

“A well-documented, compelling story filled with the intrigue and drama one has come to expect of the time period. . . . This is the stuff of a cable miniseries, but Porter tempers the narrative with Katherine’s accomplishments, creating a balanced, satisfying read.”—The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

UK Praise for Katherine the Queen:

“Porter’s vividly written biography confirms her belief that Katherine was an influential woman. As stepmother she shaped Elizabeth I, one of England's most successful monarchs. More importantly, Porter presents a portrait of an attractive woman more than capable of navigating the treacherous waters of life at the duplicitous Tudor court.”—Peter Burton, Daily Express

“Porter offers a nuanced picture of family allegiances and intellectual background.”—Financial Times

“Porter’s account of Katherine’s life is colourful and well-paced . . . those who enjoy Tudor history will agree with Porter’s assessment that Katherine's was indeed a remarkable life.”—Matthew Dennison, Mail on Sunday

“Porter provides a reliable synthesis of the best historical research on Katherine’s life and times, while periodically going beyond it to offer original contributions.”—Peter Marshall, The Literary Review

“Porter’s lively and detailed account gives us a reinvigorated image of Katherine.”—Lancashire Evening Post

“Rich, perceptive, nuanced and creative, this first full-scale biography gives one of Britain’s best but least-known queens her due.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Linda Porter has done a marvellous job . . . she evokes the whole terrifying and exciting world of the Tudor courts, packed with intrigue and danger.”—A.N. Wilson

“A well-documented, compelling story filled with the intrigue and drama one has come to expect of the time period. . . . This is the stuff of a cable miniseries, but Porter tempers the narrative with Katherine’s accomplishments, creating a balanced, satisfying read.”—The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

UK Praise for Katherine the Queen:

“Porter’s vividly written biography confirms her belief that Katherine was an influential woman. As stepmother she shaped Elizabeth I, one of England's most successful monarchs. More importantly, Porter presents a portrait of an attractive woman more than capable of navigating the treacherous waters of life at the duplicitous Tudor court.”—Peter Burton, Daily Express

“Porter offers a nuanced picture of family allegiances and intellectual background.”—Financial Times

“Porter’s account of Katherine’s life is colourful and well-paced . . . those who enjoy Tudor history will agree with Porter’s assessment that Katherine's was indeed a remarkable life.”—Matthew Dennison, Mail on Sunday

“Porter provides a reliable synthesis of the best historical research on Katherine’s life and times, while periodically going beyond it to offer original contributions.”—Peter Marshall, The Literary Review

“Porter’s lively and detailed account gives us a reinvigorated image of Katherine.”—Lancashire Evening Post

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Linda Porter

  • Linda Porter has a doctorate in history from the University of York, England. She was the winner of the 2004 Biographers Club/Daily Mail Prize in England and is the author of The Myth of “Bloody Mary,” also available from St. Martin’s Press. She is married with one daughter and lives near London.
  • Linda Porter
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    Katherine the Queen

    The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII

    Linda Porter

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    St. Martin's Griffin

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