Reading progress update: I've read 68%.

Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens) - Alison Weir

After a few miscarriages and stillbirths . . .

 

Katherine: Oh woe! God is punishing us because I was your brother’s wife, though the marriage was never consummated!

 

Henry: Nonsense, woman! We have a papal dispensation! We’re totes okay with God!

 

Years later, when Henry wants a divorce . . .

 

Henry: Oh woe! Our sons all died and you are now barren because I sinned against God by marrying my brother’s wife!

 

Katherine: No ways, we totes had that papal dispensation, which covers our asses whether my first marriage was consummated or not, which it totally wasn’t. I AM YOUR ONE TRUE WIFE WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE?!?!

 

Henry: It’s totes not because I want to bang Anne Boleyn and she won’t let me unless we’re married. OUR MARRIAGE IS INVALID OH HOW MY CONSCIENCE PRICKS ME SUDDENLY AFTER 18 YEARS OF TOTAL CERTAINTY!!!!

 

This double about-face was brought to you by some interesting characterization choices which I’m not entirely sure were deliberate. Henry’s 180 makes sense, as he wants male heirs and Anne Boleyn’s ass and any excuse will do. Katherine’s is less convincing, since Weir has shown her agonizing over every possible sin God could be punishing her for after each miscarriage/stillbirth/infant death. Unless I missed it, Katherine doesn’t even have a moment of doubt when Henry throws her old fears in her face, which is at odds with the walking stomach ulcer of worry that she's being portrayed as. Even if she’s projecting certainty out of desperation to preserve the legitimacy of her marriage and her daughter’s birth, shouldn’t there be more to her inner struggle than “I love my husband but he’s betrayed me and I’m sure it’s all Wolsey’s doing”?