The lovely people over at Head of Zeus provided me with a copy of ‘The King is Dead’, by Suzannah Lipscomb, which is admittedly not about a royal woman, but some were most definitely affected by it. ‘The King is Dead’ is about the last will and testament of King Henry VIII of England, who despite six marriages had fathered a single sickly legitimate son and two illegitimate daughters.
His was a long reign, from just before his 18th birthday in 1509 to his death on 28 January 1547 and in that time he managed to shake England to its very core. His last will and testament shows us just how much he wanted to remain in control, even in death. His heir was the future Edward VI, but he planned out a detailed scheme of succession in the case that Edward’s line should fail. Both his daughters, Mary by his first wife Catherine of Aragon, and Elizabeth by his second wife Anne Boleyn, were technically illegitimate and they remained so. However, they were included in the line of succession behind Edward and his heirs. He then goes on to include the heirs of his youngest sister Mary, previously Queen of France, completely ignoring the more senior line of his elder sister Margaret, now represented by Mary, Queen of Scots.
‘The King is Dead’ is very well researched and very readable. The illustrations are most fitting and reading it with the benefit of hindsight is actually quite fun.