Historical novelist Elizabeth Fremantle explains why for her, Katherine Parr will always be the most fascinating of Henry’s wives —
“Foxe’s Book Of Martyrs, published when the Catholic and Protestant factions within England had become dangerously polarised, cited women like Lady Jane Grey and Katherine Parr as female gureheads for the Protestant cause: the godly girl martyr and the devout royal consort. This view crystallised with the Victorians, who sought representations of the perfect Protestant wife: biddable, silent and domestic. And so Katherine became cast as the dull wife who nursed her husband through his dotage, surviving by dint of her meek nature.
When you begin to dig a little deeper though, a very different woman emerges.” (Fremantle)