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Inside the Tudor Court: Henry VIII and His Six Wives Through the Writings of the Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys
 
 

Inside the Tudor Court: Henry VIII and His Six Wives Through the Writings of the Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys [Kindle Edition]

Lauren Mackay
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Review

'A superb, sound, engagingly written and much-needed study of a controversial player at the Tudor court. Highly recommended.' ALISON WEIR --Alison Weir

Product Description

The reports and despatches of Eustace Chapuys, Spanish Ambassador to Henry VIII's court from 1529 to 1545, have been instrumental in shaping our modern interpretations of Henry VIII and his wives. As a result of his personal relationships with several of Henry's queens, and Henry himself, his writings were filled with colourful anecdotes, salacious gossip, and personal and insightful observations of the key players at court, thus offering the single most continuous portrait of the central decades of Henry's reign. Beginning with Chapuys' arrival in England, in the middle of Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine of Aragon, this book progresses through the episodic reigns of each of Henry's queens. Chapuys tirelessly defended Katherine and later her daughter, Mary Tudor, the future Mary I. He remained as ambassador through the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, and reported on each and every one of Henry's subsequent wives - Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Katharine Parr - as well as that most notorious of ministers Thomas Cromwell. He retired in 1545, close to the end of Henry VIII's reign. In approaching the period through Chapuys' letters, Lauren Mackay provides a fresh perspective on Henry, his court and the Tudor period in general.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8604 KB
  • Print Length: 407 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (4 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IT3YT4I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,805 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
A very thorough well-written and much needed biography of Eustace Chapuys, Mackay has managed to separate the man and the ambassador to give us a balanced and comprehensive window into the world he worked in. From this book he comes across as a man much different to the one that has been given to us in the past by historians and novelists, which came as an extremely pleasant surprise to me, as I do admit that I have not always been the ambassadors’ biggest fan.

The Chapuys that Mackay writes about and the one that history should remember is Chapuys the man that cared, loved and fought tirelessly for Katherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary. Who provided an intellectual match for Henry, and who bested him on several occasions, and given that he was tirelessly working towards a fair treatment of Katherine and Mary. Lauren Mackay presents to us a human man, who wrote his dispatches with emotion and passion and did his job incredibly well. On more than one occasion he exceeded the brief given to him going above the call of duty and providing excellent results. One of the best elements of this book is that Mackay approaches the dispelling of the accusations that have been attached to Chapuys with common sense and sensitivity. Mackay never gives us a false impression. She never makes Chapuys out to be something he was not. She is very realistic in the way that she sees him, and this fresh perspective is something which is much needed when discussing the world of the Tudors.

It is also evident from the sources that Mackay uses that she has also worked tirelessly, with great care and attention to detail to extract the man from the myths that have grown around him. It seems to me unfair that he is being ‘punished’ for things that it has been proven he did not say.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue 20 May 2014
Format:Hardcover
In much the same way as Chapuys' negative appraisal of Anne Boleyn helped shape her historiography for so many years, the academic swing in her favour following Eric Ives's 1986 biography saw Chapuys cast in the light of a malign intriguer who got more wrong than right when it came to Boleyn - and, by an extension of logic, everyone around her. Mackay sets out to rescue her subject from this two-dimensional view and she does so with great success. If Anne Boleyn was much more than suggested by Chapuys, he too is worth a lot more than the Anne Boleyn matter. The biography brims with the author's passion for her subject, beginning with a charming and vivid account of his home town in Annecy, where he is still commemorated in street names and local architecture. Mackay does well too where the sources are silent by sketching the broad outlines of his life before he was sent to England in 1529, freely admitting that there is much we do not know about Chapuys's life but credibly suggesting various possibilities based on what we do know. It's what all Tudor historians have to do from time to time, it's full of pitfalls and Mackay does better than most in weaving her way through it. Once Chapuys gets to England, where his legal training was intended to help the beleagured Katherine of Aragon, Mackay is able to make use of the mountains of letters that her wrote to the Emperor and the picture becomes clearer still.

Mackay's strengths are not just her zeal for the thin and rather elegant man she's writing about, but also her ability to analyse his thoughts and to make full use of his lengthy and colourful correspondence. She is right when she points out that without Chapuys's letters Tudor history, as we know it, would not exist.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be engagingly written and highly informative, showing Henry VIII's court from a different perspective and allowing the 'voice' of Chapuys to be heard fully and without the negative 'spin' placed on him by other historians. The telling of Chapuys' story has been long overdue and now we finally have something that shows us the pivotal role he played in the dangerous and constantly shifting currents of Henry's court. Chapuys emerges as an intelligent, shrewd and highly able diplomat with a soul, one who truly cared for and served Katherine of Aragon and the Princess Mary when many others deserted them. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it highly to those wishing to gain a more balanced and insightful view into Chapuys himself, and his perhaps unenviable diplomatic mission to the Tudor court.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read! 21 Mar. 2014
By Sarah
Format:Hardcover
Lauren Mackay’s book is a fantastic look at the life of Eustace Chapuys, ambassador for Charles V at the court of Henry VIII. Her book starts off by recounting the early years of Chapuys, giving some history of his ancestry and his parents, the type of world that Chapuys was born into as well as providing information about his education and where he went to university. There are also some interesting details about the social circle that Chapuys was part of and the wider connections he made throughout his early years of work. After this Mackay details how Chapuys worked his way up the ladder with a series of appointments and eventually became ambassador to Charles V. It is interesting to note that in his early years Chapuys was friends with well-known religious reformers. I found this very interesting as Chapuys is often depicted as a staunch Catholic who was completely against the Reformation but to have friends who supported this new faith certainly shows that perhaps he was a little more tolerant than most people throughout history have given him credit for.

Chapuys started his time in the Tudor court as Henry VIII was perusing his “Great Matter” that is his annulment of his marriage to his wife Katherine of Aragon. One can only imagine how Chapuys felt walking into such a court of turmoil and upheaval. His goals were those normally associated with an ambassador, that is to continue relations between Henry VIII and Charles V, deal with trade and other monetary issues, seek alliances and support against the French and to report back to Charles V on matters happening in the English court. Yet in addition to this he was also charged with attempting to see reconciliation between Henry VIII and his wife Katherine of Aragon.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
all ok
Published 1 month ago by Wilhelm-Albert Frick
5.0 out of 5 stars good king hal
A mesmerizing book that transports you seemingly effortlessly to a bygone era lauren mackay definitely knew what she was about
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I found it quite easy to read
really interesting book showing the Tudor court from an insiders point of view. I found it quite easy to read, it wasnt hard going and it was informative
Published 3 months ago by Julieb
5.0 out of 5 stars Chapuy's perspective on Henry VIII's court is considered suspect by...
Chapuy's perspective on Henry VIII's court is considered suspect by many historians, because as Charles V's ambassador he was bound to be biased, but nonetheless his commentary on... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nicholas Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book! Long overdue. A must read for Tudor history lovers.
Published 3 months ago by jeani winters
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
well written and excellently researched
Published 3 months ago by James Cruse
5.0 out of 5 stars As a fan of this era I very much enjoyed this book
As a fan of this era I very much enjoyed this book. Chapuys was a very important figure during that time and to learn the history from someones correspondence who was actually... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Andrew Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Lauren McKay clearly has an excellent insight into this very...
Very well written book , Lauren McKay clearly has an excellent insight into this very interesting ambassador to the court of Henry VIII. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steven Leppard
5.0 out of 5 stars ... series of individual reports but in fact it read like a narrative...
I was expecting a series of individual reports but in fact it read like a narrative of Henry's court. It was so interesting and I enjoyed it so much. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful.
Very useful although mostly translated later sources.
Published 6 months ago by cosmicelk
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