The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper

I have chosen “The Queen’s Governess” as The Anne Boleyn Files Book of the Month January 2010, which you may think is a bit odd when the book focuses on Kat Ashley, Elizabeth I’s governess, but there is a good reason, I promise!

The Ring

We all know about the famous locket ring which Elizabeth wore on her finger until it was taken off her hand at her death. When it was taken from her dead body, it was found that it wasn’t just a jewelled ring but that it had a locket clasp which opened to reveal two miniature portraits – one of Elizabeth I and the other of her mother, Anne Boleyn, who had been executed as an adulteress and traitor. What we don’t know is the story behind this ring. It is thought that Elizabeth commissioned the ring to be made in 1575, but what if this was just a repair or a change of portrait? What if there is an even more interesting story behind the locket ring?

The opening scene of “The Queen’s Governess” is the Tower of London on the 19th of May 1536. The central character, Kat Champernowne (later Ashley), is there to watch the execution of Anne Boleyn. It is a moving scene and is wonderful for any Anne Boleyn fan but it is made more perfect because of the interaction between Anne and Kat. Karen Harper writes:-

“I [Kat] dared to lift my hand to hold up the tiny treasure she had entrusted to me. Perhaps she could not see it; perhaps she would think I was waving farewell to her, but I did it anyway, then pulled my hand back down.”

In response, Anne nods to Kat. She knows that Kat has the treasure and will fulfill the promise she made to Anne when she visited her in the Tower, the promise to stay close to Elizabeth and to give her a very special ring.

Obviously Karen Harper has used artistic licence here as there is no evidence that the ring was commissioned by Anne Boleyn, but it’s a wonderful “what if”!

You can read my full review of this fantastic novel over at our Tudor Books review site – see but here’s some information on availability:-


“The Queen’s Governess” by Karen Harper is released in the USA on the 21st January 2010 in hardback. Click here to pre-order or buy it now. Do remember that Amazon US ship worldwide.

You can browse through Karen Harper’s other books, including “The Last Boleyn” and “The Queen Elizabeth I Mystery Series” in our special Anne Boleyn Files Amazon US Store or Anne Boleyn Files Amazon UK Store – see the fiction section.