Author(s): Susan James
Wed at seventeen to the grandson of a confirmed lunatic, widowed at twenty, Catherine chose a Yorkshire lord twice her age as her second husband. Caught up in the turbulent terrors of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, she was captured by northern rebels, held hostage and suffered violence at their hands. Fleeing to the south shortly afterwards, she took refuge in the household of Princess Mary and in the arms of the king's brother-in-law Sir Thomas Seymour. Her employment in Mary's household brought her to the attention of Mary's father, the unpredictable, often-wed Henry VIII. Desperately in love with Seymour, Catherine was forced into marriage with a king whose passion for her could not be hidden and who was determined to make her his queen. This is the only available biography of Catherine Parr, the first for over thirty years. It is published to coincide with the major exhibition at Hampton Court Palace which begins in June 2008 celebrating the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accesion to throne in 1509. You've read the fiction; now read the facts.
Susan James received her doctorate from Cambridge University and studied under the late Sir Geoffrey Elton, the father of modern Tudor history. She has spent twenty years researching Catherine for this biography during which time she uncovered that the National Portrait Gallery painting previously identified as Lady Jane Grey by Sir Roy Strong was in fact of Catherine. The NPG subsequently relabelled the portrait. She is the chief contributor on Catherine Parr to the major 2009 Hampton Court exhibition on Henry VIII ('Henry the Magnificent'). She has written numerous articles on the Parr family including Catherine's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Her other books include Women in Tudor Art. She lives in California.