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About Sylvia Barbara Soberton
Sylvia Barbara Soberton is a writer and researcher specialising in the history of the Tudors. She debuted in 2015 with her bestselling book “The Forgotten Tudor Women: Mary Howard, Mary Shelton & Margaret Douglas”. Sylvia’s other best-sellers include “Golden Age Ladies: Women Who Shaped the courts of Henry VIII and Francis I”, “Great Ladies: The Forgotten Witnesses to the Lives of Tudor Queens”, “The Forgotten Tudor Women: Anne Seymour, Jane Dudley & Elisabeth Parr” and others. You can find Sylvia on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter @SylviaBSo
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She sided with the Queen during the Great Matter, as the divorce case between Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragon was then often known. A bitter enemy of the King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, Gertrude plotted and intrigued with Henry VIII’s enemies, brushing with treason on many occasions.
Wife and mother of the last Plantagenets of the Tudor court, Gertrude was an ambitious and formidable political player. The story of her life is a thrilling tale of love and loss, conspiracies and plots, treason and rebellion.
This is Gertrude’s story.
Margaret Douglas was the daughter of Henry VIII’s elder sister Margaret, Queen of Scotland. She was imprisoned thrice, and each time, as she admitted, “not for matters of treason, but for love matters”. Her legacy includes marrying her son to Mary, Queen of Scots, and playing the doting grandmother to King James VI and I.
Mary Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk, leading peer of the Tudor court. She served as maid of honour to her first cousin, Anne Boleyn, and married Henry VIII’s illegitimate but acknowledged son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond. Widowed at the age of seventeen, Mary fought for her rightful jointure and was, by her father’s admission, “too wise for a woman”.
Mary Shelton, like Mary Howard, was related to Anne Boleyn and became her servant at court. Beautiful and skilled in poetry, Mary attracted Henry VIII’s attention and became his mistress in 1535, but many don’t realize how important her contributions were to the literary scene of the time.
This book moves Margaret Douglas, Mary Howard and Mary Shelton from the footnotes of history into the spotlight, where they deserve to shine along with their more famous contemporaries.
Anne Seymour served all of Henry VIII’s six wives and brushed with treason more than once, but she died in her bed as a wealthy old matriarch. Jane Dudley was a wife and mother who fought for her family until her last breath. Elisabeth Parr, sister-in-law of Queen Katherine Parr, married for love and became Elizabeth I’s favourite lady-in-waiting.
The Tudor age was a hazardous time for ambitious women: courtly life exposed them to “pride, envy, indignation, scorning and derision”, executions were part of everyday life, death in childbirth was a real possibility and plagues sweeping regularly through the country could wipe out entire generations of families. Yet Anne, Jane and Elisabeth lived through all this and left their indelible marks on history. It’s high time for these women’s stories to be heard.
This book concentrates on the medical downfall of the Tudors, examining their gynaecological history and medical records.
- Did you know that an archival source suggests that Henry VIII may have suffered from venereal disease or a urinary tract infection?
- Did you know that overlooked pictorial evidence suggests that Katharine of Aragon may have suffered from prognathism, a trait that ran through her family?
- It is generally assumed that Katharine of Aragon went through menopause by 1524, but primary sources tell a different tale.
- Did Katharine of Aragon really die in the arms of her lady-in-waiting, Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby?
- Did you know that Jane Seymour’s coronation in 1537 was postponed and later cancelled because of the plague? She was originally to be crowned on 29 September 1536.
- Was Katherine Howard ever pregnant by Henry VIII?
- Did you know that available evidence suggests Mary I Tudor suffered from severe depression?
- Did you know that one of the maids of honour at the Tudor court had a C-section?
- How many pregnancies did Anne Boleyn have?
- Did you know that there is a hint in the primary sources that in 1534 Anne Boleyn had a stillbirth?
- Did you know that Henry VII didn't die in his bed?
- Was Katharine of Aragon's marriage to Prince Arthur consummated?
- How did Edward VI die?
Set against the rich background of fifteenth-century court life are the interwoven stories of these three women whose relationships were tested by the changing loyalties of their husbands, sons and daughters.
Some ladies who served at the Tudor court are only faceless silhouettes lost to the sands of time, but there are those who dedicated their lives to please their royal mistresses and left documentation, allowing us to piece their life stories together and link them to the stories of Tudor queens. These female attendants saw their queens and princesses up close and often used their intimate bonds to their own benefit. Some were beloved, others hated.
This is the story of the ladies of the Tudor court like you’ve never read it before.
This inscription is visible on the tomb where Elizabeth I and her half sister, Mary I, lie buried together in one vault in the North Aisle of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey. It is the relationship between Elizabeth and her Scottish cousin Mary Stuart that is often discussed and pondered over while the relationship between Elizabeth and her own half sister is largely forgotten. Yet it is the relationship with Mary Tudor that forged Elizabeth’s personality and set her on the path to queenship.
Mary’s reign was the darkest period in Elizabeth’s life. “I stood in danger of my life, my sister was so incensed against me,” Elizabeth reminded her councillors when they pressed her to name a successor.It is time to tell the whole story of the fierce rivalry between the Tudor half sisters who became their father’s successors.
They had to be strong if they wanted to make it in a man’s world. They lived on the brink of the golden age of the European Renaissance and witnessed social and religious upheavals as the medieval world they knew crumbled to dust, replacing the old with the new.
In this new book, Sylvia Barbara Soberton paints a vivid picture of the rivalry between the courts of England and France during the reigns of Henry VIII and Francis I. Set against the backdrop of sixteenth-century court life are the interwoven stories of individual French and English noblewomen whose dramatic lives even the best of novelists would have trouble inventing.
Louise of Savoy knows that her son Francis is destined for greatness, but he faces new challenges after his accession, trusting his mother to become regent during his absence.
Mary Tudor agrees to marry Louis XII, a man thirty-four years her senior, but after his unexpected death, she decides to become no man’s pawn and marries for love, creating one of the greatest scandals in Renaissance Europe.
Claude of France may have been meek and submissive, but there is more to her character than meets the eye.
Brought up at the French court, Anne Boleyn boldly refuses to become Henry VIII’s mistress. Her refusal triggers the King’s divorce case and eventually leads to the change of religious persuasion of the entire nation.
Margaret of Alençon, Francis I’s sister, faces new challenges as her brother’s captivity after the Battle of Pavia propels her onto the diplomatic stage of Europe.
Queen Eleanor, Charles V’s sister, marries Francis I and struggles to find her place at the French court, where his glittering mistress, Anne de Pisseleu, reigns supreme and exerts more influence than any royal mistress before her.
Witnessing the warring political factions at court, the young Catherine de Medici, humiliated by her husband’s relationship with Diane de Poitiers, learns how to navigate the murky waters of courtly intrigue to emerge as the leading force on the international stage of sixteenth-century Europe.