I was really excited when I heard that Giles Tremlett was writing a biography of Catherine of Aragon, 1) because the last biography of Catherine was written in 1963 and 2) because I thoroughly enjoyed his last book, “Ghosts of Spain”. I was not disappointed when I read Tremlett’s “Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen” and I think my husband is rather fed up of me raving about it and reading sections out to him!
What do I love about Tremlett’s book? Well, I love all of it, every single word, but here’s why I’d recommend it to Tudor history lovers:-
- It gives the reader details on Catherine’s background and that of her parents.
- It uncovers exactly who Catherine was rather than just painting her as the victim of Henry VIII’s Great Matter.
- The book is highly readable and accessible to all.
- It makes the reader empathise with Catherine and understand why she refused to just fade into the background and join a convent.
- It is an account of her whole life, not just her marriage to Henry VIII.
- Tremlett gives new information about Catherine, information that I have never read before e.g. her close relationship and dependency on her confessor, Fray Diego, her eating disorder and evidence given at the Zaragoza tribunal into Henry VIII’s request for an annulment.
All in all, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the Tudor era.