Torn between her heart’s passion and duty to her kingdom, a young queen makes a dark choice…
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester was the most powerful man in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. Handsome and clever, he drew the interest of many women—but it was Elizabeth herself that loved him best of all. Their relationship could have culminated in marriage but for the existence of Amy Robsart, Robert’s tragic young wife, who stood between them and refused to be swept away to satisfy a monarch’s desire for a man that was not rightfully her own. But when Amy suddenly dies, under circumstances that many deem to be mysterious at best, the Queen and her lover are placed under a dark cloud of suspicion, and Elizabeth is forced to make a choice that will define her legacy.
Power-hungry monarch, cold-blooded murderer, obsessive monster—who could love such a man?
Set against the glittering courts of sixteenth-century Europe, the Spain of the dreaded Inquisition, and the tortured England of Bloody Mary, For a Queen’s Love is the story of Philip II of Spain—and of the women who loved him as a husband and father.
Philip was a dark and troubled man, who, like many royals, had been robbed of his childhood. His first marriage, a romantic union with childlike Maria Manoela, brought him tragedy and a troublesome son, Don Carlos. Then followed marriage with the jealously possessive Mary Tudor, a political union that ultimately failed to bring Philip an heir that would solidify the unified power he so deeply desired. And finally, marriage again to a young bride Philip stole from his unbalanced son, sowing the seeds of brutal murder. But history is seldom what it seems, and in the hands of beloved author Jean Plaidy, we hear another side to the story of Philip II—the most powerful of kings who was at once fanatic, murderer, husband, father, and lover.
Legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy brings to life the story of Princess Mary Tudor, a celebrated beauty and born rebel who would defy the most powerful king in Europe—her older brother.
Princess Mary Rose is the youngest sister of Henry VIII, and one of the few people whom he adores unconditionally. Known throughout Europe for her charm and good looks, Mary is the golden child of the Tudor family and is granted her every wish.
Except when it comes to marriage. Henry VIII, locked in a political showdown with France, decides to offer up his pampered baby sister to secure peace between the two mighty kingdoms. Innocent, teenage Mary must become the wife of the elderly King Louis, a toothless, ailing man in his sixties. Horrified and furious, Mary has no choice but to sail for France. There she hones her political skills, bides her time, and remains secretly in love with Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk. When King Louis dies after only two years of marriage, Mary is determined not to be sold into another unhappy union. She must act quickly; if she wants to be with the man she truly loves, she must defy the laws of church and state by marrying without her brother’s permission. Together, Mary and Charles devise a scheme to outwit the most ruthless king in Europe and gain their hearts’ desire, not knowing if it will lead to marital bliss or certain death.
From the pen of the legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy comes the story of Princess Margaret Tudor, whose life of tragedy, bloodshed, and scandal would rival even that of her younger brother, Henry VIII.
Princess Margaret Tudor is the greatest prize when her father, Henry VII, negotiates the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with neighboring Scotland. The betrothal is meant to end decades of bloody border wars, but it becomes a love match: To Margaret’s surprise, she finds joy in her marriage to the dashing James IV of Scotland, a man sixteen years her senior. But the marriage, and the peace it brings to both nations, does not last. When King James is struck down by the armies of Henry VIII, Margaret—Princess of England, but Queen of Scotland—finds herself torn between loyalty to the land and family of her birth and to that of her baby son, now King of the Scots. She decides to remain in Scotland and carve out her own destiny, surviving a scandalous second marriage and battling with both her son and her brother to the very end. Like all the Tudors, Margaret’s life would be one of turmoil and controversy, but through her descendants, England and Scotland would unite as one nation, under one rule, and find peace.
Dangerous court intrigue and affairs of the heart collide as renowned novelist Jean Plaidy tells the story of Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six queens.
Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Katherine Howard, was both foolish and unfaithful, and she paid for it with her life. Henry vowed that his sixth wife would be different, and she was. Katherine Parr was twice widowed and thirty-one years old. A thoughtful, well-read lady, she was known at court for her unblemished reputation and her kind heart. She had hoped to marry for love and had set her heart on Thomas Seymour, the dashing brother of Henry’s third queen. But the aging king—more in need of a nurse than a wife—was drawn to her, and Katherine could not refuse his proposal of marriage.
Queen Katherine was able to soothe the King’s notorious temper, and his three children grew fond of her, the only mother they had ever really known. Trapped in a loveless marriage to a volatile tyrant, books were Katherine’s consolation. But among her intellectual pursuits was an interest in Lutheranism—a religion that the king saw as a threat to his supremacy as head of the new Church of England. Courtiers envious of the Queen’s influence over Henry sought to destroy her by linking her with the “radical” religious reformers. Henry raged that Katherine had betrayed him, and had a warrant drawn up for her arrest and imprisonment. At court it was whispered that the king would soon execute yet another wife. Henry’s sixth wife would have to rely on her wits to survive where two other women had perished. . . .
An English lawyer and statesman, Sir Thomas More was a kind father who put as much emphasis on educating his daughters as on his son, declaring that women were just as intelligent as men. His favorite daughter, Meg, is the heroine of this novel in which we witness the everyday lives of people in Tudor England. Plaidy takes readers into a world far removed from the grandeur of the courts, into the home of a simple family and a caring father who only wants to do what is morally best–not just for his family, but for England.
As secretary and personal adviser to King Henry VIII, More becomes increasingly influential in the government, welcoming foreign diplomats, drafting official documents, and serving as a liaison between the king and the Archbishop of York. His own household stands in startling contrast to the licentious Tudor court, but as lord chancellor he gains recognition and becomes indispensable to the king. More’s love of faith surpasses his duty to the crown, and his refusal to accept King Henry VIII’s claim to be supreme head of the Church of England ends his political career…and leads to his trial for treason.
In the court of Henry VIII, it was dangerous for a woman to catch the king’s eye. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins. Both were beautiful women, though very different in temperament. They each learned that Henry’s passion was all-consuming–and fickle.
Sophisticated Anne Boleyn, raised in the decadent court of France, was in love with another man when King Henry claimed her as his own. Being his mistress gave her a position of power; being his queen put her life in jeopardy. Her younger cousin, Catherine Howard, was only fifteen when she was swept into the circle of King Henry. Her innocence attracted him, but a past mistake was destined to haunt her.
Painted in the rich colors of Tudor England, Murder Most Royal is a page-turning journey into the lives of two of the wives of the tempestuous Henry VIII.
Look for the Reading Group Guide at the back of this book.
For the first time in paperback—all three of Jean Plaidy’s Katharine of Aragon novels in one volume.
Legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy begins her tales of Henry VIII’s queens with the story of his first wife, the Spanish princess Katharine of Aragon.
As a teenager, Katharine leaves her beloved Spain, land of olive groves and soaring cathedrals, for the drab, rainy island of England. There she is married to the king’s eldest son, Arthur, a sickly boy who dies six months after the wedding. Katharine is left a widow who was never truly a wife, lonely in a strange land, with a very bleak future. Her only hope of escape is to marry the king’s second son, Prince Henry, now heir to the throne. Tall, athletic, handsome, a lover of poetry and music, Henry is all that Katharine could want in a husband. But their first son dies and, after many more pregnancies, only one child survives, a daughter. Disappointed by his lack of an heir, Henry’s eye wanders, and he becomes enamored of another woman—a country nobleman’s daughter named Anne Boleyn. When Henry begins searching for ways to put aside his loyal first wife, Katharine must fight to remain Queen of England and to keep the husband she once loved so dearly.
From exile and war to love and loss—every dynasty has a beginning.
Henry Tudor was not born to the throne of England. Having come of age in a time of political turmoil and danger, the man who would become Henry VII spent fourteen years in exile in Brittany before returning triumphantly to the Dorset coast with a small army and decisively winning the Battle of Bosworth Field—ending the War of the Roses once and for all and launching the infamous Tudor dynasty.
As Henry’s claim to the throne was tenuous, his marriage to Elizabeth of York, daughter and direct heir of King Edward IV, not only served to unify the warring houses, it also helped Henry secure the throne for himself and for generations to come. And though their union was born from political necessity, it became a wonderful love story that led to seven children and twenty happy years together. Sweeping and dramatic, To Hold the Crown brings readers inside the genesis of the great Tudor empire: through Henry and Elizabeth’s troubled ascensions to the throne, their marriage and rule, the heartbreak caused by the death of their son Arthur, and, ultimately, to the crowning of their younger son, King Henry VIII.
“Plaidy excels at blending history with romance and drama.” —New York Times