Tuesday 2 August 2011

"Mistress of the Monarchy": A Review

Published in Britain as Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and his scandalous duchess and in America as Mistress of the Monarchy, American novelist Elena Maria Vidal offers a positive review of Alison Weir's biography of the beautiful Katherine Swynford, mistress and then wife of the fourteenth century English prince, John of Gaunt, who effectively ruled the realm during the childhood of his nephew, King Richard II. 


  1. Thank you very much for the link, Gareth!

  2. Thank you for the tip...will check out this review.

  3. Hi! Just noticed your comment on my blog about Katherine Howard and Mary’s early parliamentary acts. Can I send the info to you via email (as I think it is a little bit long for the comments box here). Briefly, Mary did give back titles – famously the duke of Norfolk was amongst them – though some were dealt with in different acts. Norfolk’s was granted back to him in the first act of Mary’s reign. In regards to Katherine, the subject of her attainder, or should I say the statute 33 Hen. VIII, c. 21, was dealt with in Edward VI’s reign. The act in its entirety was not repealed for the general argument that concealing treason amounting to treason in itself was affirmed. But the stuff about the premarital chastity of the queen was, I believe, done away with in 1547.

    BTW – I completely agree that it is hard to find the reference to the act that gave back Thomas Howard his dukedom. Jessie Childs discusses Norfolk’s reinstatement in her work on the earl of Surrey and provides the references G.F. Nott (ed.), The Works of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey and of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, Vol I, app L. I used Nott’s work for my MA, but the only copy I could find is in the BL (hardly easy access!), and it is really annoying that Childs couldn’t just reference the title of the act! Given it was certainly the first act of Mary’s reign (this is verified in numerous books, including by Loades), it therefore must be 1 Mary. st. 1.c. 1, which, like Edward VI’s first treason act, did a sort of repeal/amending thing. The second act of her reign was the famous one dealing with her parents’ marriage.

    Hope that helps! Thank you for your comment on my blog!

  4. great review of this book, looks a fun read! :)

    hope you got my email gareth :)

    and wish you all the best.


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