Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review Essay: Books about Beheaded Queens

From the UK comes this review essay by Father Alexander Lucie-Smith on several books about Queen Consorts in English history, including Anne Boleyn and Katherinie Howard. Of the later, Father Lucie-Smith says:

. . . Anne Boleyn’s cousin, Katherine Howard, has received much less attention from historians and from writers of fiction alike. Her story is undoubtedly the more tragic, as unlike Anne she was far less in control of her destiny, far less of a political player, indeed hardly a player at all, more a pawn: an unimportant girl who only became important when she caught the King’s eye. When she lost his favour, her large gaggle of relations were indecently swift to disown her. No one seems to have felt sorry for her. Because she was so obscure a figure before her brief marriage, we do not even know when she was born, and no authenticated image of her survives . . .

. . . Arrested in early November 1541, she was imprisoned in Syon House until February 10 1542, when she was taken to the Tower and executed three days later. She struggled when the barge arrived to collect her, knowing full well what the Tower meant. One of the least significant of Henry VIII’s victims, she perhaps commands the greatest sympathy.

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