Catherine Howard's blog

Springtime is here!

In honor of the season and the grass-stained bumrolls I mention in Chapter 31 of ‘Six of One’, Dolly has posted this photo from a gardening contest with a ‘six wives of Henry VIII’ theme.  Apparently it is the winning ‘Catherine Howard’ garden entry.

The mantle on the bed looks to me like creeping phlox.  According to the gardening manuals, creeping phlox is a plant that is lush and a good spreader.  Dear me.

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Thank heaven for little girls


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Preview snippet from the upcoming “Six of One”, by JoAnn Spears

From Chapter Eighteen, Memory Lane and a Sleepy Swain Revisited

The second-generation queens, Mary, Elizabeth, and Jane Grey, had a nervous energy about them, like ships tugging at their moorings in harbor. They were like new ships: polished and well-appointed, wind in the sails, fire in the bellies, full of the promise of magnificent performance, and yar! as a pirate might say. The two women that were with me now were not “yar.” They looked more like a couple of armada galleons limping back into Cadiz harbor after a losing battle. Sails tattered, shiny surfaces tarnished by salty air, listing a bit from some damage to the hull, and stripped of whatever they carried in the way of treasure, they were magnificent in defeat, but defeated nevertheless. I would have bet my panties that they were Mary’s aunties—if I had been wearing any.

“You are young Mary’s aunts, aren’t you?” I asked.

“We are,” they replied in unison.

Well, the young Mary I had spoken to would have had several aunts on her mother’s side, including the fabulously mad Juana la Loca. Juana was so besotted with her handsome husband, Philip the Fair, that she kept his decomposing body around long after his death for the questionable solace of embracing it in the wee hours. God, I thought, I hope that Juana is not here. If she is, please don’t let her be on the roster of women I will be meeting tonight. Then I remembered that this place was “ladies only”; even if Juana was hanging around here somewhere, presumably the putrid and decaying Philip was not.

Neither of the aunties present looked mad—or, for that matter, Spanish. They were clearly Tudors, one being tall and fair like the young Elizabeth and her cousin Jane Grey, and the other shorter and plump, resembling Arabella.

“I am happy to meet the sisters of Henry VIII, Margaret and Mary, the first princesses of the Tudor line,” I said, hazarding a guess.

The portrait below, long believed to be of Juana of Castille, may actually be a portrait of Catherine of Aragon, painted when she was about eleven years old. That would make Catherine of Aragon the only one of Henry VIII’s wives for whom we have a ‘baby picture’.  Click on the portrait for details.  Thanks to madameguillotine for the image 

Blogging on flogging ’em at Flodden


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My “Six of One” preview snippet…in honor of the anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.  K of A

From “Six of One”, coming out in Fall, 2011!

Chapter Twenty Seven, “Of the Martial in addition to the Marital”:

“I was thinking, Katharine, that you must be the strongest-stomached woman of all the ones here,” I offered.

“That’s an odd observation to make, Dolly, and one with which I beg to differ,” said Catherine Howard, her arm around Katherine Parr’s shoulder. “Katherine Parr has my vote for that particular honor! Tell Dolly all about it, Katherine! All those nasty bandages you had to change when Henry’s putrid leg ulcers were draining. What a stench, especially in the summer!”

I gave Katherine Parr her due. “You were strong of stomach as well as strong of mind, Katherine. My French hood is off to you! I was referring, in Katharine of Aragon’s case, though, to the strong stomach she showed in her exploits against the Scots at the Battle of Flodden, when she was acting as regent in Henry VIII’s absence. “

“Ten thousand of the enemy killed!” Katharine of Aragon boasted. “If only my warrior mother, Queen Isabella of Castille, could have lived to see it! We decimated the Scots. There was not a single family in Scotland that did not suffer loss at the hands of my victorious troops!”

The carnage must have been unbelievable, but it apparently hadn’t upset Katharine of Aragon, warrior-queen’s daughter.

“You didn’t even flinch at sending Henry VIII the blood-soaked coat of the vanquished and slaughtered Scottish king, James IV, as a trophy,” I reminded her.

“I was pregnant at the time,” said Katharine, rubbing her tummy in reminiscence, “so I will admit to some queasiness over the smell of that jacket, but I didn’t let it stand in my way!