Sister Queens Jane Boleyn By Julia Fox

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

SISTER QUEENS & JANE BOLEYN - by Julia Fox

Date: 3rd June 2013

SISTER QUEENS & JANE BOLEYN - by Julia Fox

Have just finished reading these two absolutely excellent books.

Julia is married to John Guy who had published last year the excellent book on Thomas Becket. (And I’m fortunate enough to have met them both when attending John’s excellent talk on Thomas Becket)

These writings are not Historical Novels, they are true history but written in such an interesting and compelling style as to make them as ‘un-put-downable’ as any historic novel.

Sister Queens is about Katherine of Aragon (Henry VIII’s first wife) and her sister Juana, Queen of Castile. Despite my love of history I’ve always found it difficult to follow the complicated relationships of European Monarchs. This book gives a comprehensive description of Katherine’s relationship with Henry – at first loving and rewarding and later filled with sadness and loss. Katherine not only loved Henry but as a committed Catholic, would never accept Henry’s repudiation of her. At an early stage in their relationship the young Henry relied on Katherine’s knowledge and wisdom and often left her as regent when he was absent from Court. All that changed with his increasing dependence on Cardinal Wolsey.

Juana regarded as ‘insane’ was no more insane than most – she behaved in an immoderate fashion when she could not get her own way. She was also used as a pawn in the power games being played out in Spain – once one of the most important Kingdoms in Europe.

I’d never really understood why Katherine appealed to the Holy Roman Emperor in her efforts to avoid a divorce from Henry. However, on reading Sister Queens and discovering that Charles was her nephew, much was revealed.

Jane Boleyn – The true story of the infamous Lady Rochford.

Jane was married to George, brother to Mary and Anne. Anne in particular was very close to her brother and it was partly on the ‘testimony’ from Jane Boleyn that the “trumped up” charge of their incest was used by Henry VIII, along with other supposed infidelities that enabled Henry to divest himself of Anne and have her beheaded as a traitor. I’ve used the words ‘trumped up’ because having read Julia Fox’s excellent book I’m fairly sure that Jane was trapped and had no intention of giving evidence which would lead to her brother’s execution. Neither can I believe that Anne who had schemed for years and not given in to Henry’s desire to bed her, could, after achieving her aim to usurp Katherine and become Queen, have behaved so irrationally as to risk losing all by having affairs with men of the court.

It is beyond my capability to give you a full appreciation of these two books, but if you like your history served up in a more than palatable fashion, but without the frills of a novel, then make reading these two titles a ‘must’.  The amount of research which has gone into the writing of these books is simply mind bogling.

I cannot wait for Julia’s next oeuvre – and for that matter John’s as well.
 

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.