Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen by Alison Weir

  Thanks to recent research by Giles Tremlett and Patrick Williams, we can now be fairly certain that Katherine’s marriage to Prince Arthur was not consummated and that Arthur died of tuberculosis. Dr. Alcaraz’s testimony, given in 1531 at Zaragoza, is the basis for my account of Arthur’s illness.

  Writing the story from Katherine’s point of view has enabled me to give a different and intimate psychological perspective on this indomitable, courageous, and principled woman. Some modern observers suggest that Katherine should have taken a more pragmatic approach to the divorce and thereby saved herself a lot of trouble and grief. But such a view does not take into account the priorities of the early sixteenth century, a world that was vastly different from our own. In transporting the reader to that world, I have tried to show that the past was indeed another country, and that modern preoccupations with women’s rights, feminism, and political correctness had no place in it. Katherine’s situation, as a woman, and her willing subjection to Henry in all things except those that touched her conscience, may seem shocking to us, but for her they were normal, right, and not to be questioned.

  I have tried in these pages to evoke the sights, textures, sounds, and smells of an age, a lost world of splendor and brutality, and a court in which love, or the game of it, held sway, but dynastic pressures overrode any romantic considerations. It was a world dominated by faith and by momentous religious change—and a world in which there were few saints. This was Katherine’s world, and we can only understand her properly within its context.

  Huge thanks go to Susanna Porter at Ballantine and Mari Evans at Headline for commissioning this book and giving me the opportunity to revisit a subject with which I am endlessly fascinated. I am enormously grateful to them both, and to their enthusiastic and dedicated teams for the care and thought they have taken in developing this project and for their staunch support. I wish also warmly to thank my editor, the wonderful Flora Rees, whose accomplished revisions have transformed the text; Jo Liddiard of Headline and Philip Norman of Author Profile, for invaluable help with marketing and social media; and Caitlin Raynor for great publicity. And thank you to the rest of the Ballantine team: Jennifer Hershey, Kim Hovey, Priyanka Krishnan, Melanie DeNardo, and Maggie Oberrender.

  Profound gratitude goes to my agent, Julian Alexander, for bringing me and Headline together, and for his ever-valuable advice and tremendous support. And to my husband, Rankin, my rock and anchor, without whose endless thoughtfulness and support I could not write.

  With all my love to the best and dearest of mothers.

  The wheel comes full circle: this is where it all began.

  A thousand thanks for your belief in me

  and for your unconditional love and support.

  May God bless you.

  I named my daughter for Katherine,

  because Katherine was a woman of integrity and principle, as you are.




  Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen

  The Marriage Game

  A Dangerous Inheritance

  Captive Queen

  The Lady Elizabeth

  Innocent Traitor


  The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas

  Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World

  Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings

  The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

  Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster

  Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England

  Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley

  Henry VIII: The King and His Court

  Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life

  The Life of Elizabeth I

  The Children of Henry VIII

  The Wars of the Roses

  The Princes in the Tower

  The Six Wives of Henry VIII

  About the Author

  ALISON WEIR is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Marriage Game, A Dangerous Inheritance, Captive Queen, The Lady Elizabeth, and Innocent Traitor, and numerous historical biographies, including The Lost Tudor Princess, Elizabeth of York, Mary Boleyn, The Lady in the Tower, Mistress of the Monarchy, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England, with her husband.




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  Alison Weir, Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen



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