Lady Katherine Gordon, daughter of the much-married earl of Huntly, starts life with a handicap; she is uncertain which of her f ather’s wives had been her mother. Her courage and beauty overcome this uncertainty, and in course of a varied life she acquires the lasting devotion of her own king, James IV, and of many other men, four of whom she marries. A fifth is Henry VII, who surprisingly – he killed her first husband for political reasons – is recorded as desiring no other comfort than her company. Kate is generous enough to give it to him. She also greatly loves his queen.
Her story includes the tragedy of the stranger whose first bride she became, and who may or may not have been the younger of the sons of Edward IV said to have been murdered earlier in the Tower. This and the later marriages apart, the story of European entanglements connected with the desired marriage of Henry VII ’s son Arthur and an infanta of Spain, who later married his brother Henry VIII, make compelling reading. Through it all Kate continues wise, kindly and beautiful even in old age. She is one of the few people to have looked down on her own face in a tomb she did not occupy, leaving her third husband inside it and returning to where she had been happy with her second. She also, though differently, loved her young fourth husband, who was to carve out a future for himself after Kate died in 1537, the year Henry VIII at last got himself a son.
All these people come alive in Kate’s recollections, which include her grief at news of the Scots defeat at Flodden. Her brother, and ancestor of Lord Byron, was killed there with James IV, who had married Henry VII ’s daughter and in the end gave rise to the present royal family.
About the author:
Full-time writer Pamela Hill was educated in Scotland and originally trained to be a teacher. She has written around 91 books in various different categories of fiction and non-fiction, but it is her historical work which now takes precedence. From her home in Hertfordshire she is presently working on her latest work of non-fiction.