Monday, 26 May 2014

Meet My Main Character Blog hop - Katheryn Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and last queen. 

The very fabulous Elaine Powell, author of The Fifth Knight, has tagged me in the Meet My Main Character blog hop. You can read her post here. Elaine Powell's soon-to-be-published novel is the sequel to The Fifth Knight, and her hero is once again mercenary knight, Sir Benedict Palmer.  Although he is fictional, many other characters and events are not. The sequel is called The Blood of The Fifth Knight. To read more about The Fifth Knight click on the cover link.

To follow me in the blog I am tagging Nigel Williams and Gillian Hamer.

My latest Tudor novel Intractable Heart: the Story of Katheryn Parr is available on Kindle now and the paperback will follow soon. I am very pleased to talk a little about Katheryn, Henry VIII's last queen.

What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historical figure/person?
I think most people recognise the name Katheryn Parr. She was Henry VIII’s sixth and last wife. We first meet her in my novel during the Pilgimage of Grace when she is the wife of John Neville, Lord Latimer and their castle is under siege by rebels. Although Katheryn is only a young woman, she steps up to the challenge, defending the castle and her two step children John and Margaret as best she can.

When and where is the story set?
Oh dear, I’ve rather given that away already. The novel is set at the court of Henry VIII in Tudor England. The scene shifts from Yorkshire during the Pilgrimage of Grace to the royal palaces of the south of England, and also stops off at Portsmouth to witness the sinking of the Mary Rose.

What should we know about her?
Katheryn is very clever. In a world of limited female literacy she is multi-lingual and publishes religious books in support of the reformation of the church in England. Despite their religious differences the King demonstrates his high regard by setting her up as regent while he wages war on France. Once gain Katheryn accepts the challenge although she is beset by enemies.

What is her main conflict? What messes up her life?
Husbands! Poor Katheryn had four of them! Katheryn’s mother, Maud Parr was very ambitious and secured her children excellent spouses. Her eldest William was married at a young age to Anne Bouchier who embarrassed the family by taking a lover and giving birth to a string of illegitimate children. Their marriage ended in annulment but it was a long and bitter battle. Katheryn fared much better. Her first marriage to Sir Edward Borough ended with his unexpected death after just a few years and she later remarried John Neville in 1534, becoming Lady Latimer. Latimer was twice her age but the relationship seems to have been amicable and she took his children under her wing and was genuinely fond of them, particularly Margaret. He died in 1543 leaving Katheryn a wealthy widow.
As a young attractive widow she had no trouble in forming a relationship with Thomas Parr and the pair were set to marry until she caught the eye of the ageing king. It isn’t possible to refuse marriage to a monarch, especially one like Henry. Katheryn’s conflict was to put away her feelings for the brash, handsome Thomas Seymour and submit to the demands of the fat, malodorous and very dangerous king. Quite a challenge.

What is Katheryn’s personal goal?
She puts away the idea of romantic love after her marriage to Henry and turns her attention to being a good queen and mother to the king’s children. Much of her energy is spent in support of the reformation of the church
Katheryn’s strength of character helps her overcome her sorrow at losing Thomas and make the best of her life with Henry. Although his health is failing she has no idea what the future might bring but she wastes very little time wishing things are different.
Of all Henry’s wives she emerges as the capable one: the one who manages Henry the best, and the one with the intelligence and determination to be more than just a wife and fill the role of ‘consort’ in the fullest sense of the word.

Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Intractable Heart. The title is taken from Katheryn’s book Lamentation of a Sinner in which she laments her ‘obstinate, stony and intractable heart.’ Although she uses the words in religious terms I think they sum Katheryn’s character up rather well. Married four times, her first three marriages are all successful; it is her fourth union, the only one which is forged from love that proves to be her downfall. Seymour becomes Katheryn’s beloved nemesis.

When can we expect the book to be published?
Now! It is just out on Kindle now and the paperback will follow as soon as possible. It should be with you VERY soon – if the fates are willing. Click here to buy.

Photographs from WikimediaCommons

To view my other books click on the links below:


  1. Interesting post. I'm looking forward to reading your latest novel!

  2. Great questions, and interesting answers..

    The two wives who survived are - in my mind - by far more interesting than those who perished. Anne of Cleves (the Flanders mare), the mostly forgotten wife certainly won Henry's respect and ultimate friendship. It is intriguing to ponder Katherine's fate had Henry lived longer... Would he have strayed as he had before and would Katherine have perished on the block? But history is history, and Henry popped his clogs! ;)

  3. I think all the wives are interesting in different ways. Catherine of Aragon for her courage; Anne Boleyn for her intelligence; Jane ...erm, perhaps not so obviously interesting - lol. Anne of Cleves for her strength and resilience. I've spent a number of years trying to work out what on earth Katherine Howard must have been thinking,and I admire Katheryn for her level headed approach to her life, until she met Thomas Seymour. I think most women have met a man like him, one we know is totally wrong but totally irresistible. :)