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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Book Review and Some Great New History!

I just finished reading "Secrets of the Tudor Court" by D.L. Bogdan and it was a truly unique book.  The book is told from the perspective of Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.  The book focuses on Mary's relationship with her father, the Duke, and it's difficulties.  Poor Mary is a child and a woman who craves parental affection, something she is never given.  Her life is filled with difficulties and disillusionment, starting with the discovery that her father and her governess are having an affair and that her father is horribly abusive to her mother. 

She is placed in the court of Anne Boleyn and becomes a spy for her father hoping to win his affection.  She is devastated by the loss of Anne and horrified at the King's shocking betrayal of his wife.  She is married to the King's illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy but never allowed to live with him as his wife.  She is later informed by her father that this is because he knew that Henry VIII was planning to poison the boy and he did not want her endangered.  This further complicates Mary's relationship with her father because he kept her away from a man she loved to protect her.  She both hates him and loves him, it's never easy with him.

She goes on to become a maid in Katherine Howard's court and is again crushed by her death.  She leaves court, raises her brother's children and later dies.  I won't say this was a happy story, but it was a very good story.

Two fascinating pieces of history have come to light in the past week, one being the discovery that the most famous portrait of Anne Boleyn was commissioned by someone who knew her and was painted within living memory of her, so perhaps it is a good likeness.  The other is that the location of the battle of Bosworth field has been discovered, this is the battle which brought the Tudor dynasty to the throne and in which Richard III, the last Plantagenet King was killed.  A boar badge, Richard's symbol was one the things dug up on the field by archaeologists.  Can you imagine getting touch such a piece of history?  Richard distributed the badges to his nights, can you even dream about how amazing it would be to touch something that Richard III may have touched?!  It gives me chills!  You can read more about these discoveries over on the Anne Boleyn files, run by the amazing Claire Ridgeway! ( )