The King’s Rose by Alisa Libby
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Katherine Howard is a fascinating subject. Raised in the household of her step-grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk where supervision was lax Katherine was raised with loose morals to say the least. The licentious atmosphere of the Duchess’ household allowed Katherine to carry on a sexual relationship with both her music teacher, Henry Mannox and later the Duchess’ secretary, Francis Durham.
Her relationship with Francis Durham mirrored the relationship of a married couple. They referred to each other as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ and she often performed wifely duties such as looking after Durham’s money when he was away. It was apparent to everyone in the Duchess’ household that the two were headed to the alter and that is when the Dowager Duchess finally put an end to their relationship. Although, her disapproval wasn’t enough to stop the two and it seems that they may have entered into a precontract of marriage before Durham left for Ireland. If they had indeed exchanged vows regarding their intention to marry then consummated it, they would have been considered married in the eyes of the Church.
Katherine’s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, found her a place at Court in the household of the Anne of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife. Katherine’s charms soon caught Henry’s eye and Anne found that she had been replaces by a younger English girl. Yet, being a Queen to a man nearing 50 has its downside and she soon found herself becoming bored.
Luckily, a handsome young man and a favorite courtier of Henry’s, Thomas Culpeper, was there to entertain her. With the help of Anne Boleyn’s sister-in-law, Lady Rochford, Thomas and Katherine were able to carryout their affair without notice. Things seem to be going without a hitch until Katherine believed that she was in control of the game. When she appointed Francis Durham as her personal secretary, she more-or-less signed her own death warrant.
Katherine wasn’t a smart girl, her love letters to both Culpepper and Durham are barely legible and her choice of dancing all night rather than trying to sway the King’s mind over political matters shows that she had no knowledge nor desire to be a leading voice in England. She was foolish and naïve to think that she could hide her affairs from the Henry. She was stupid to entrust Lady Rochford with her secrets.
Yet, it is Henry’s choice in selecting Katherine that I must question. It’s one of those moments in history you have to question. Henry wasn’t a stupid man and by this time, he had inherited the paranoia that had plagued his father. Therefore, I must question his decision in marrying the cousin of the woman who had betrayed him. Surely, he would have learned to keep his distance from both the Boleyns and the Howards. Yet, we all know how this marriage ended.
Today’s Giveaway is:
The King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby
Appointed to the queen’s household at the age of fourteen, Catherine Howard is not long at court before she catches the eye of King Henry VIII. The king is as enchanted with Catherine as he is disappointed with his newest wife — the German princess Anne of Cleves. Less than a year from her arrival at court, Catherine becomes the fifth wife of the overwhelmingly powerful, if aging, King of England.
Caught up in a dazzling whirl of elaborate celebrations, rich gowns and royal jewels, young Catherine is dizzied by the absolute power that the king wields over his subjects. But does becoming the king’s wife make her safe above all others, or put her in more danger? Catherine must navigate the conspiracies, the silent enemies, the king’s unpredictable rages, as well as contend with the ghosts of King Henry’s former wives: the abandoned Catherine of Aragon, the tragic Jane Seymour, and her own cousin, the beheaded Anne Boleyn. The more Catherine learns about court, the more she can see the circles of danger constricting around her, the threats ever more dire.
If you would like to know more about Alisa Libby, The King’s Rose, or to read her blog, please checkout her website HERE.
I would like to thank Alisa Libby for providing a copy of her novel The King’s Rose!
1. Leave a comment with your name and an answer to the questions:
Do you believe that Henry loved his first wife, Catherine of Aragon?
And for a bit of Tudor Trivia, Why was Catherine of Aragon’s name spelled with a “C” rather than a “K” like the other two Katherine’s?
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