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  • Brooke, Public Relations Librarian

Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir

When most of us think of Katherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and first wife of the infamous Henry VIII, we think of an honorable Queen and wife who was pushed aside for Anne Boleyn, the King’s temptress. Katherine is often portrayed as a devout Catholic, loyal wife, and proud Queen. She was an interesting and influential person; however, the last quarter of her life, after Anne came into the picture, is the most widely depicted in books, television, and film. Katherine is known as a proud, stubborn woman who would not let the King, her husband, divorce her and toss her aside for his mistress, Anne Boleyn. The tables turn in Alison Weir’s Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, however, and we learn that there is much more to Katherine’s story and the events that shaped her life than what we have been shown.

Katherine was born in 1485 to the respected and powerful King and Queen of Aragon and Castile – Ferdinand II and Isabella I. Katherine was their youngest surviving child and was betrothed at a very young age to Prince Arthur of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. She grew up with the knowledge that someday, she would be Queen of England, and knowing this shaped the direction of her life. When Katherine was of an age to marry in the early 1500s, she traveled to England to assume her role as the future Queen; however, Prince Arthur was suffering from an ailment that would eventually kill him at the tender age of 15. According to history, it is presumed that Katherine and Arthur were never able to assume their roles as husband and wife due to his ailment, and that their marriage was never consummated. It is on this basis that Katherine eventually marries Henry VIII, Arthur’s younger brother, and her life changes forever. Television shows such as The Tudors and Wolf Hall would have us believe that King Henry never loved or desired his wife Katherine … at least not in the way he was obsessed with Anne Boleyn. However, Weir shows us a different side of their relationship, and we learn about a couple who treated each other with respect and affection throughout the first half of their marriage. Weir’s storytelling brings to light many aspects of Katherine’s tumultuous life that are often absent in pop culture, and we get a more complete picture of the “true Queen.”

Katherine of Aragon is a thorough and interesting account of Queen Katherine’s life. The novel follows her from her teenage years in the early 1500s, through her death in 1536. Any fan of Tudor history will enjoy Weir’s extensive research and the detail she puts into this book. Readers will get a true picture of what life as Katherine of Aragon must have been like, and fans of royal history will enjoy the depictions of life at court and the day-to-day duties and extravagances of life as Queen. Katherine of Aragon is available at our Thibodaux and South Lafourche branches, but can always be sent to a branch near you – place a request! The novel is also available in eBook format using the CloudLibrary app. If you enjoy Katherine of Aragon, you’ll be happy to hear that the novel is the first in a series called “Six Tudor Queens.” Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession was released just a couple of weeks ago, so check it out after this one! Happy Reading!


Genre: Biographical fiction; Historical fiction

Writing Style: Engaging; Richly-detailed Tone: High drama

- Brooke, Public Relations Librarian

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