The Taming of the Queen

15 Oct

“The Taming of the Queen”, by Philippa Gregory, was a ‘last chance’ book.  When I’ve read a few books from an author and enjoyed them, then stop enjoying their work, I give them three books to enthrall me again, before they come off my reading list.

This was Philippa Gregory’s last chance to enthrall me.  And enthrall me she did!  “The Taming of the Queen’ is set during Kateryn Parr’s time as Henry VIII’s queen.  It is vibrant, captivating, book that captures the minutiae of the Tudor court perfectly.

Kateryn Parr, not Catherine Parr, Ms Gregory takes the spelling from the way the Queen spelled her name.

Her Henry is a chilling portrayal of psychopathy.  Kateryn is probably the least known of Henry’s wives, but the one deserving of the most respect.  She survived the machinations of his court where her predecessors (with the notable exception of Anne of Cleves) did not.

It does puzzle me when people deride Philippa Gregory’s work as inaccurate.  A look at the 4 or 5 pages of bibliography at the back shows just how much research goes into her work.  Having read a fair chunk of her resource material, I can tell you Ms Gregory’s research is impeccable.

In my opinion, this is the best of her books since “The Boelyn Inheritance”.

Highly recommended.

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4 Responses to “The Taming of the Queen”

  1. Amazing October 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    Okay Gregory is inaccurate as it gets, yes she claims research but when you actually do your own research (Beyond fiction) you find Gregory does indeed twist nearly everything. Hell she makes Anne Boleyn commit incest with George Boleyn and later claim it must have been true, everyone and their mother knows that the charges against Anne were trumped up. And if you do make a study of it you will find that yes indeed the charges against Anne could not possible been possible.
    But this is just one of her many inaccuracies, from birth dates, to huge things like the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York (A well known close relationship, but Gregory twists it with rape and abuse) she is is inaccurate.
    The Boleyn Inheritance as you point out has huge flaws in it, for one Anne of Cleves is shown to be abused by her brother and mother when historically what we know is that they had a rather close relationship, and their is no proof at all that Katherine Howard committed adultery against the King. She denied it too her death.
    She has Mary Tudor be called “Princess” in that book when she would have been known as “Lady Mary” she was never re-legitimatized by her father.
    Even more her treatment of female characters is horrid, she calls Elizabeth I a “slut” over and over again in her book on Mary Tudor, and makes the sexually assault Thomas Seymour did to Elizabeth consensual when their is overwhelming evidence that it was not. From Elizabeth’s own account.
    So no her work isn’t accurate. Not ever close, Gregory takes historically rumors and amps them up by about 100, mostly the rumors she

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    • margysmusings October 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

      The operative word here is fiction. Philippa Gregory writes fiction. The job of a writer of historical fiction is to create a story based on both known fact AND rumours that were current at the time to make a readable story.

      As I said, I have read enough of the source material to know that in “The Taming of the Queen”, Ms Gregory has been historically accurate, certainly as to the social mores of the time and the etiquette of the Court. If you want to read a completely factual book, then read the source material and avoid historical fiction.

      And you are wrong about Katherine Howard not committing adultery. Her love letter to Tom Culpepper still exists. I think it is in the archive of the British Library. Her last words on the block were recorded, and, as they were somewhat detrimental to her husband, we can assume a fair amount of accuracy, rather than Henrician propaganda. “I die Queen of England, but God knows I would sooner be the wife of Tom Culpepper.”

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      • Amazing October 18, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

        Gregory herself claims to be a historian, she claims her work is 100% accurate. Those are her words not mine. That’s why people dislike her, because she’s clearly not. And no it isn’t, it opens up with Kathryn sleeping with Thomas Seymour, that isn’t accurate at all.
        And their is no evidence that Culpepper and Katherine Howard slept together, the letter did not mention that. Many historians have looked into it and have come out with the same conclusion that their is no evidence that a physical relationship took place.
        And the “I die Queen of England but God knows I would sooner be the wife of Tom Culpepper” is an old wives tale, that has been disproven over and over again. Yet tv shows like the Tudors made it popular.
        You can read more here about Katherine Howard.
        http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/the-executions-of-catherine-howard-jane-boleyn-francis-dereham-and-thomas-culpeper/

        But their is no evidence at all she committed adultery.

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  2. Amazing October 16, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    *she can easily know aren’t true and false.

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