This is a biography of Henry VIII's fifth wife, beheaded for playing Henry at his own game - adultery. 'Lacey Baldwin Smith is one of our finest historians' - Alison Weir. 'A faultless book' - "The spectator". 'Lacey Baldwin Smith has so excellently caught the atmosphere of the Tudor age' - The Observer".
At seven o'clock on the morning of 13th February 1542, Catherine Howard stepped out into the cold of the great courtyard of the Tower of London. Slowly she was escorted across the yard and carefully helped up the steps of the wooden scaffold. Only a small group of sightseers had gathered to watch the death of a queen; there was no weeping, no remorse, only chilly curiosity.The axe rose and fell, a life ceased, an episode came to an end. The life and death of Catherine was truly a Tudor tragedy. A mere teenager, the vivacious and flirty Catherine Howard was an unsuitable bride for the elderly and fat Henry VIII. Like most of Henry's wives she had come to his attention at court whilst lady-in-waiting to his fourth wife of only a few months, Anne of Cleves. Henry was soon besotted and came to adore Catherine, his 'very jewel of womanhood'.
His head already turned by the 19 year old, Henry never consummated his marriage to Anne, he divorced her and married for the fifth time on 28th July 1540. Lacey Baldwin Smith, one of the finest historians of the Tudor age, narrates the rise and fall of the most tragic of Henry's queens, the woman who dared to cuckold the king of England.
Lacey Baldwin Smith is Professor Emeritus of History at Northwestern University. He has published nine critically acclaimed books including: Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty, Elizabeth Tudor: Portrait of a Queen, and Treason in Tudor England. The recipient of M.A. and PhD degrees from Princeton University, he has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of London and a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He lives with his wife, Jean, in Illinois and Vermont. They have two daughters.