Mary Rose : The Extraordinary Life of Henry VIII's sister
'A paradise... tall, slender, grey-eyed, possessing an extreme pallor'. The contemporary view of Henry VIII's younger sister, Princess Mary Rose as one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe, was an arresting one. Glorious to behold, this Tudor Princess with her red hair flowing loose to her waist, was also impossible for Henry to control.
She first married the king of France, a match of great importance to Henry's diplomatic plans. He was dead within three months. The talk of the European courts was that the teenage bride had killed the 51-year old Louis XII with her exertions of the king in his bedchamber. She then ran off with her new lover, the great rake of the Tudors era, Charles Brandon. After some uncomfortable arguments with Henry VIII, she was officially sanctioned to marry the Duke of Suffolk in 1515 at Greenwich Palace. Yet Henry remained deeply fond of his sister, he named his greatest warship after her and continued to support Mary despite her ignoring his every request.
David Loades' biography, the first for almost 50 years brings the princess alive once more. Of all Tudor women, this queen of France and later Duchess of Suffolk remains an elusive, enigmatic figure.