'A paradise - tall, slender, grey-eyed, possessing an extreme pallor.' The contemporary view of Henry VIII's younger sister, Princess Mary Rose, as one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe, was an arresting one. Glorious to behold, this Tudor princess, with her red hair flowing loose to her waist, was also impossible for Henry to control. She first married the King of France, a match of great importance to Henry's diplomatic plans. He was dead within three months, 'danced to death' by his young bride according to the court gossip of the period. She then secretly married her long-time admirer, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, one of the more notorious lovers of the Tudor period. After some uncomfortable arguments with her brother, she was publicly wedded to Brandon in 1515, at Greenwich Palace. Henry remained deeply attached to his sister, and may have named his great warship after her. He continued to support her, in spite of her later opposition to his wishes. David Loades' biography, the first for almost 50 years, brings the princess alive once more. Of all Tudor women, this Queen of France and later Duchess of Suffolk remains an elusive, enigmatic figure.
By the author of Elizabeth I: 'Succeeds in depicting her to us as a real woman' LITERARY REVIEW
David Loades is Emeritus Professor of the University of Wales. He has written sixteen books on the Tudors. He lives in Burford in Oxfordshire.