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Katherine the Queen

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

Linda Porter

St. Martin's Press

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 step-daughter, Princess Elizabeth. She was one of the most influential and active queen consorts in English history, and this is her story.

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Chapter OneThe Courtiers of the White Rose

‘The final end of a Courtier, where to all his good conditions and honest qualities tend, is to become an Instructor and

Teacher of his Prince.’

Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 1528

Whitehall Palace is a long way from Westmoreland. In the sixteenth century the contrast between this opulent mansion on the busy river Thames and the wild country of the Lake District was even more pronounced. It took two weeks to travel between London and Kendal, the area’s main town; a daunting prospect indeed and one

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REVIEWS

Praise for Katherine the Queen

“Missing ‘The Tudors’ TV show? The story continues in this biography of Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr, who soon after the king’s death entered another marriage — her fourth. Historian Porter chronicles Parr’s life before, during and after her reign as Henry’s queen, including the scandalous flirtation between Husband No. 4, Thomas Seymour, and Katherine’s stepdaughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I.”—New York 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 in bringing Katherine Parr to life. In so doing, she evokes the whole terrifying and exciting world of the Tudor courts, packed with intrigue and danger.”—A.N. Wilson

“Porter combines equal parts Tudor history and Parr biography. She establishes the context then weaves Parr's life through it like a ribbon in a tapestry. The result is a well-documented, compelling story filled with the intrigue and drama one has come to expect of the time period. . . . Shortly after the king's death, Katherine secretly married her old flame. Rumors of inappropriate behavior between her husband and stepdaughter, Princess Elizabeth, began circulating. 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

“This is a portrait of a fascinating, learned and vibrant woman who was every inch a queen. . . . Porter covers Katherine’s life from infancy to death (and even beyond that), but this book shines the most once Porter starts describing Katherine’s role as queen and stepmother to England’s future monarchs. This is a worthwhile addition to any Tudor history buff’s book collection.”—CurledUpWithAGoodBook.com

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

“Vividly written . . . Katherine was an influential woman. As stepmother she shaped Elizabeth I, one of England's most successful monarchs. . . . 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 (UK)
“Porter's account of Katherine's life is colourful and well paced . . . Katherine’s was indeed a remarkable life.”—Matthew Dennison, Mail on Sunday (UK)

“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 (UK)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Linda Porter

  • Linda Porter has a Ph.D. 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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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

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