Henry VIII boasted to ambassadors of his vivacious eighteen-month-old daughter Mary, ‘this child never cries’. The affectionate father was at the same time also a loving husband to Mary’s mother, Catherine of Aragon. When that changed so did the child, and there were tears aplenty, as well as a legacy of blood and fire.
Giles Tremlett’s book is the first full-length biography of Catherine in forty years. Tremlett lives in Spain, where he works as a journalist for The Guardian, and had immediate access to Spanish sources. He paints an engaging portrait of Catherine’s early life in Granada before she was packed off to England to marry Arthur Tudor.
Named after a cuckold, Arthur proved a rather unsatisfactory husband. He died, possibly of TB, after only a few weeks of marriage. According to Catherine, they had slept in the same bed no more than seven times, and never had sexual intercourse. Few Englishmen, however, were inclined to