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Sister Queens

Daughters of the formidable Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine and Juana were born in to a world of privilege and luxury that came at a devastating personal price. They were trained from an early age to understand European diplomacy and to revere their position as defenders of Catholicism against any threat to their religion. In an age of familiy politics, the sisters were useful only as a way to secure new alliances through marriage; both at the mercy of the men they were to marry. Katherine's marriage to Prnice Arthur apeared to go well until he died suddenly after ten months. Marriage to King Henry VIII did not result in the vital heir, and soon Henry was displaying his despotic nature, with the execution of 'traitors' and high-handed affairs. Juana fared no better with Philip of Burgundy, whose naked amibition and cruelty made her life equally difficult. Julia Fox's new biography vividly portrays the harsh realities of being a queen within a world dominated and run by men. She provides a fresh take on the sisters' characters and interior worlds by setting them within their family and Spanish contexts. In the case of both women, this vibrant biography graphically illustrates the dangers of being a royal commodity at such a perilous time, and gives a highly revealing portrait of two forceful female personaliites thrwarted by the men around them - including the men closest to them who sould have cared for them the most.
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As well as telling the story of the early Tudors, this lets us into the private world of Europe's other great royal family - Ferdinand and Isabella who essentially founded the Hapsburg dynasty. A great narrative with big characters Excellent reviews for 'Jane Boleyn': 'an outstanding debut' - Amanda Foreman, author of 'Georgiana' 'a riveting story - expertly written, and based on an impressive body of research - Sarah Gristwood, author of 'Elizabeth and Leicester'.

About the Author

Julia Fox is a historical researcher and teacher. She is married to the distinguished Tudor historian and broadcaster John Guy. This is her second book.


'Fox's achievement, in weaving together these two potentially disheartening biographies, is never to descent into simple pity. Indeed there is a rather uplifting quality to a deep, vivid narrative. As Fox recreates Juana and Katherine's lives in colourful detail, she manages to draw out the spirit and resilience of two women fearfully abused in a very cruel, very male world.' -- Dan Jones THE SPECTATOR - 2 July issue

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