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Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr Paperback – Unabridged, 1 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (18 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330460803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330460804
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Katherine's life is undoubtedly a fascinating one and Porter tells it with relish. The book is as fast-moving and plot-driven as a novel, and its dramatic highlights - Wriothesley and Gardiner's attempts to undermine Katherine's position on religious grounds, or the ongoing mystery of what really happened between Thomas Seymour and the young Elizabeth I - are nicely paced and suitably tense...'
--Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

The general perception of Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII, is that she was a provincial nobody with intellectual pretensions who became queen of England because the king needed a matronly consort to nurse him as his health declined. In the various studies of the six wives of Henry VIII she receives much less attention than Katherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn. Her main achievement, in the famous rhyme about Henry’s six wives, is that she 'survived'. Yet the real Katherine Parr was attractive, passionate (she had a mighty temper when aroused) ambitious and highly intelligent. She was thirty years old (younger than Anne Boleyn had been) when she married the king. Twice widowed, held hostage by the northern rebels during the great uprising of 1536-37 known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, her life had been dramatic even before she became queen. It would remain so after Henry’s death, when she hastily and secretly married her old flame, the rakish Sir Thomas Seymour. Katherine died shortly after giving birth to her only child in September 1548, her brief happiness undermined by the very public flirtation of her husband and step-daughter, Princess Elizabeth. Despite the vivid interest of her life, this is the first full-scale, accessible biography of this fascinating woman who was, in reality, one of the most influential and active queen consorts in English history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By MusingCrow on 4 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Katherine Parr is really an interesting figure - a woman who was ahead of her Tudor time. She was highly intelligent, well educated and well read - and she survived her oft married husband - Henry VIII.

There has not been that much written about her life however - until now. This book is well written, thoroughly researched and utterly captivating glimpse into the life of this remarkable Queen. Linda Porter has a remarkable way with biographies. They come to life under her pen. I have been a life long fan of historical fiction - based on British history. Some time ago I decided that I wanted to fill in the fictitious gaps with non-fiction. This book reads as easily as fiction. It's a pleasure - not pedantic, not dry - but completely easy and pleasurable to read. It took me only a few days to read this book and it is a book that remain in my collection.

The book covers :
The early life of Katherine Parr,
Her two previous marriages (I had not heard much about the first before reading this book)
How she made her way into Court life and how Henry decided to make her his sixth wife.
Her relationship with Henry's three children and her own step-daughter from her second marriage (another fact that had not registered in my head before)
How she narrowly missed being another statistic for murdered Queens of England.
Her life after Henry's death.
Life with Thomas Seymour and the kerfuffle with Princess Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour.
Her death giving birth to her longed for child.

This book covers it all and does so in a most enjoyable way.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By isabel in the kitchen on 18 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This biography really brings Katherine Parr to life as no other has done. Although I know the stories of the six wives of Henry the eighth well and nothing here is really knew to me I was swept away by the flow of the narrative and by the last page I felt I knew her intimately.

For the first time an author has concentrated on all the little details that make up a life - the people she knew,the clothes she wore, her portraits, her homes and her thoughts as far as they can be known. Linda Porter's writing has a warm quality to it that draws the reader in and imbues even known facts with fresh interest.

I am glad that politics and religion- the issue of Katherine Parr's Protestanism - are touched on with a light hand;this is a portrait of a woman,not an icon of queenship. As far as I'm concerned this is the ultimate account of Katherine Parr's life and I won't be looking to read any other.

A wonderful read. I loved it
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Peter Newton of Tunbridge Wells on 21 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
Linda Porter gives us a finely painted picture of the life of a woman we probably know only as a wife of Henry VIII. We see her join the "marriage market" at eleven, a bride at seventeen, and a widow at age twenty. Her second marriage to Lord Latimer brought increased economic security along with the stepchildren to win over and love. Rebellion against King Henry, The Pilgrimage of Grace, boils around Katherine with danger from the rebels and later from the royal retribution. Lord Latimer recovered the King's favour as a soldier on the Scottish border but left Katherine a widow again at age thirty-one.

She is then courted by one of the most dashing gallants of his time, Thomas Seymour, the love of her life, but married King Henry. When the king asked for your hand, perhaps you had little choice. We learn of Katherine in triumph and peril, as Henry's wife `buxom in bed and at board', held, lost and then regained the Kings favour. After the Kings death we have a secret marriage for love and power and finally Katherine's death after the birth of her first child.

Porter's book brings us a new picture of the Queen who `survived'; an exciting and romantic life in tempestuous times richly and accurately portrayed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Sewell on 11 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this to be a very enjoyable read, not least of all because the author is not uncritical of her subject; I am not so sure of the claim presented in the book that Elizabeth Tudor's long reign is Katherine Parr's abiding achievement, but it can be said that Elizabeth had two capable women running affairs of state before her in Katherine and Mary Tudor. It seems to be parr (!) for the course that men don't come out too well in this book. Linda Porter's writing style is accessible and does not get bogged down in too much detail, yet she does consider possible interpretations of events well, not least of all the period when Katherine (it would appear) overstepped the mark in her self-confident approach to Henry VIII, not the most patient of men. On the strengths of this book, have already bought her study of Mary Tudor.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
All of King Henry VIII's wives have their reputation: Catherine of Aragon, the ill-treated, most regal, most loved and most catholic consort; Anne Boleyn, the great schemer, the Concubine, the whore, the protestant Queen; Jane Seymour, the mousy, but hidden intlligent consort and mother of the long desired son; Anna of Cleves, the ugly one, the King's sister and great survivor; Catherine Howard, the silly one and slut and finally Catherine Parr - the most intelligent of all and the one who survived the King.

Catherine Parr has gone down in history as fine woman and queen, who after the King's death married for the fourth time and first time for love, cruelly betrayed and died in childbed. Tragic.

Linda Porter explores her life in-depth and does not let her life start with the marriage to the King. Born into the gentry, married into the peerage (first to an heir of a peer, than to a peer) and finally into royalty. Queen Catherine's personality was formed before and she became queen as an adult and formed woman, educated and intelligent. It is interesting to see that she never merged into her "married roles" and remained even as Queen Consort "KP". . Linda Porter makes you understand who this woman was, how her caracter was formed and how the foundations were laid that made her a successful queen. Here lies the great strength of this biography. But Catherine was ambitious too and wanted to play a politcial role as Queen Consort and Dowager Queen. That nearly cost Catherine her life.

All in all, this a biography I enjoyed very much. I like the writing style of Linda Porter and how she captured a personality. Great work and enjoyable read.
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