Catherine of Aragon: Henry's Spanish Queen, by Giles Tremlett

Non-fictional account of Catherine's life, from her birth in Spain through to her death in England.

After reading The Constant Princess I did a bit of research on Catherine, and one of the websites I looked at recommended reading this book, so although I'm not usually that keen on non-fiction, I thought I'd give it a go.

And, it was really good. I was very surprised (perhaps unfairly so) about how much of the Gregory book followed the "real" story described here. Obviously there were some bits where they diverge: Gregory has Catherine and Arthur consummating their marriage, whereas Tremlett says we just don't know (although he thinks it's not impossible that they did, and that Catherine subsequently lied about it). But for the most part, it seems that Gregory tried to stick to the known facts, and some of the things I'd taken for poetic license turn out to be substantiated by Tremlett (e.g. Arthur boasting on the day after his wedding night that he'd been in Spain).

In fact this book almost read like a novel - it didn't feel dry or boring at all. The one criticism I'd have is that although he does give a bit more coverage to Catherine's later years than Gregory (they hardly get a mention in her book), it still seems very thin. I can only assume that there's (a) not much of interest that happened, and (b) there aren't many historical sources that can be drawn on.

Anyway, really enjoyed it. I wish Tremlett had written some more books about English history.

Completed : 26-Aug-2013

[nickoh] [2013 books] [books homepage]