Two women destined to be rivals for one man’s affection. One is the daughter of royalty, destined to become Queen of England since she was a baby. Her first husband died suddenly, and she married her brother-in-law, the young King Henry VIII. The other woman is the daughter of a family on the rise at court. She has been educated in courts abroad but has returned to her native England to serve the Queen of England, but King Henry VIII falls in love with this young woman. Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn; are two women destined to be rivals, but a new museum exhibit uncovers these women’s similarities. In this corresponding book, “Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers,” Owen Emmerson, Kate McCaffrey, and Alison Palmer share the latest academic research to understand better these two queens who dominated the 16th century.
This is not the first book I have read that corresponds with a new exhibit at Hever Castle. Last year, I read the book connected with the “Becoming Anne: Connections, Culture, Court” exhibit. Since I cannot visit Hever Castle in time to see this new exhibit, I wanted to read this book to support Hever Castle and the ongoing research to breathe new life into the times of the Tudors.
“Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers” is a brand-new exhibit exploring the connection between Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, which is ongoing until November 10, 2023 (although the Book of Hours belonging to Catherine of Aragon will be available to view up until June 4, 2023). Emmerson, McCaffrey, and Palmer give their readers a quick overview of the lives of Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, including their education, their relationships with Henry VIII, and their daughters, before diving into the piece de resistance of the entire exhibit, the two Books of Hours belonging to the two queens respectively.
Hever Castle’s Assistant Curator, Dr. Kate McCaffrey, has uncovered the remarkable similarities between the Book of Hours owned by Catherine of Aragon (owned by the Morgan Library) and the Book of Hours once owned by Anne Boleyn, which is now located at Hever Castle. Not only were they created by the workshop of Hardouyn. They may have been made in the same workshop, but the differences in the decoration style and how they were used as worship tools show how unique the two queens were.
Although I can’t visit this exhibit, the illustrations and the new research provided an unexpected window into the past. I hope Kate McCaffrey will one day write a book exploring more of her research, as I would most definitely be interested in learning more about it. An informative and delightful little book, “Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rival, Mothers” by Owen Emmerson, Kate McCaffrey, and Alison Palmer, is a book for any Tudor fan.