By Josephine Wilkinson
'An impressive revisionist biography' The TimesLooming out of the encroaching darkness of the February evening was London Bridge, still ornamented with the severed heads of Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham; the terrible price they had paid for suspected intimacy with the queen.Katherine now reached the Tower of London, her final destination. Katherine Howard was the fifth wife of Henry VIII and cousin to the executed Anne Boleyn. She first came to court as a young girl of fourteen, but even prior to that her fate had been sealed and she was doomed to die. She was beheaded in 1542 for crimes of adultery and treason, in one of the most sensational scandals of the Tudor age.The traditional story of Henry VIII's fifth queen dwells on her sexual exploits before she married the king, and her execution is seen as her just dessert for having led an abominable life. However, the true story of Katherine Howard could not be more different. Far from being a dark tale of court factionalism and conspiracy, Katherine's story is one of child abuse, family ambition, religious conflict and political and sexual intrigue. It is also a tragic love story. A bright, kind and intelligent young woman, Katherine was fond of clothes and dancing, yet she also had a strong sense of duty and tried to be a good wife to Henry. She handled herself with grace and queenly dignity to the end, even as the barge carrying her on her final journey drew up at the Tower of London, where she was to be executed for high treason.Little more than a child in a man's world, she was the tragic victim of those who held positions of authority over her, and from whose influence she was never able to escape.
King, Kaiser, Tsar
By Catrine Clay
During the last days of July 1914 telegrams flew between the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar. George V, Wilhelm II and Nicholas II, known in the family as Georgie, Willy and Nicky, were cousins. Between them they ruled over half the world. They had been friends since childhood. But by July 1914 the Trade Union of Kings was falling apart. Each was blaming the other for the impending disaster of the First World War. 'Have I gone mad ' Nicky asked his wife Alix in St Petersburg, showing her another telegram from Willy. 'What on earth does William mean pretending that it still depends on me whether war is averted or not!' Behind the friendliness of family gatherings lurked family quarrels, which were often played out in public. Drawing widely on previously unpublished documents, this is the extraordinary story of their overlapping lives, conducted in palaces of unimaginable opulence, surrounded by flattery and political intrigue. And through it runs the question: to what extent were the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar responsible for the outbreak of the war, and, as it turned out, for the end of autocratic monarchy
The King's Grave
By Philippa Langley, Michael Jones
Now with a new chapter.The official inside story of the life, death and remarkable discovery of history's most controversial monarch.On 22 August 1485 Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field, the last king of England to die in battle. His victorious opponent, Henry Tudor (the future Henry VII), went on to found one of our most famous ruling dynasties. Richard's body was displayed in undignified fashion for two days in nearby Leicester and then hurriedly buried in the church of the Greyfriars. Fifty years later, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, the king's grave was lost - its contents believed to be emptied into the river Soar and Richard III's reputation buried under a mound of Tudor propaganda. Its culmination was Shakespeare's compelling portrayal of a deformed and murderous villain, written over a hundred years after Richard's death. Now - in an incredible find - Richard III's remains have been uncovered beneath a car park in Leicester. The King's Grave traces this remarkable journey. In alternate chapters, Philippa Langley, whose years of research and belief that she would find Richard in this exact spot inspired the project, reveals the inside story of the search for the king's grave, and historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's fifteenth-century life and death. The result is a compelling portrayal of one of our greatest archaeological discoveries, allowing a complete re-evaluation of our most controversial monarch - one that discards the distortions of later Tudor histories and puts the man firmly back into the context of his times.
Kenneth Williams: Born Brilliant
By Christopher Stevens
Kenneth Williams was the stand-out comic actor of his generation. Beloved as the manic star of Carry On films and as a peerless raconteur on TV chat shows, he was also acclaimed for serious stage roles. Born Brilliant will include much previously unseen material from Williams's candid daily journal and also draw on rare in-depth interviews with friends and colleagues. Since the publication of edited extracts from his diaries, much controversy has surrounded Williams's personal and professional lives. This biography traces the complex contradictions that characterised an extraordinary life and presents the first full portrait of a star who was born brilliant.