Last night Los Reyes Magos – the three kings – visited every house in Spain bringing gifts and I was lucky enough to be left the Catherine of Aragon biography by Giles Tremlett.
Although Catherine was the Queen of England for over twenty years, I feel she is a bit overlooked in Tudor history which tends to focus on the romance and court intrigue of Henry’s later wives.
In Britain the kingdom of Aragon is mainly known via Catherine’s name and she is always one of the people that guests ask me about while here. Interestingly though, here in Spain she is not well known at all despite being the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabel – two of their most famous and revered monarchs.
The introduction starts on the steps of Zaragoza cathedral (a building I know well) in 1531 which immediately had me hooked. I haven’t had a chance to read it all yet I can tell it’s going to be an excellent and informative read. Apparently it was first published in 2010 but I obviously have missed it. I think it will make an excellent continuation to Isabella: Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey which was a brilliant biography of Catherine’s mother Queen Isabel.
Giles Tremlett is the Guardian’s Spanish correspondent and has a very easy to read writing style and if you’ve not read it I’d also highly recommend Ghosts of Spain – his superb account of Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy (among many other chapters about modern Spain).
Looking forward to reading the rest of the book and learning more about this fascinating period in both Spanish and English history.