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Alison Weir is a British historian and author, and not the American journalist and activist Alison Weir. Katherine chose Croydon and, by 4 May, was lodging there. At that time, Croydon Palace was a large, stately courtyard house with opulent chambers, a great hall, a chapel and a great parlour.

There had been archiepiscopal buildings on the site since the tenth century.

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Since the archbishops used the palace as a summer residence, Katherine was probably accommodated in their own chambers, which had recently been partially rebuilt. During the months Katherine stayed at Croydon, her future remained under discussion.

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Her parents, the Spanish sovereigns, Ferdinand and Isabella, were naturally concerned about her. Everyone was aware that, if Katherine had conceived by Arthur, her union with Henry would contravene canon law.

But, although Henry also wished to preserve the Spanish alliance, he was hesitant. Months would pass before he reached a decision on the proposed betrothal between Katherine and Henry. Meanwhile, with her future still uncertain, Katherine had moved to Durham House; she was living there by 6 November Her stay at Croydon must have been shadowed by sorrow and anxiety.

All her life, she had been brought up as a future queen of England; now that destiny had been stolen from her. The Old Palace is now a school and I know it well because my daughter was a pupil there. You can read my article on the portraits of Margaret Beaufort here at Art. This was a very special event for me, as my links with the City go way back to the years when I was a pupil at the City of London School for Girls. Yet these ruins stand on the site of an even older foundation, the magnificent monastery of the Grey Friars, originally founded in Margaret asked for the new church to be modelled on the lines of the Church of the Cordeliers in Paris, which had been founded St Louis, King of France, aroundand there was a chapel dedicated to St Louis at Newgate.

Isabella paid handsomely towards the completion of the church, which, when finished inmeasured a grand feet long by 89 feet wide, making it second only to St Paul's Cathedral in size. It was a beautiful light and spacious building, and thanks to the patronage of these two queens and other royal ladies, it remained the most prestigious Franciscan house in England, and the most fashionable church in London, for the next two centuries.

In the fourteenth century, this was a royal mausoleum set to rival Westminster Abbey as the resting place of crowned he, yet tragically its splendours, including the tombs of Margaret and Isabella, are long gone, having disappeared after Henry VIII dissolved the monastery induring the Reformation.

Isabella was — undeservedly, I think - one of most notorious femmes fatales in history. Popular legend has it that her angry ghost can sometimes be glimpsed amid the ruins, clutching the heart of murdered husband to her breast. Nearby once stood the ancient collegiate church and monastery of St Martin le Grand, founded around in the reign of Edward the Confessor.

It was within the City, but was not subject to its jurisdiction, being a liberty with the privilege of sanctuary. But Richard tracked her down, rescued her and placed her in the sanctuary of St Martin le Grand until their marriage could be arranged. Another who sought sanctuary here was Miles Forrest, one of the reputed murderers of the Princes in the Tower. By he had leased Ely Place in the fashionable suburb of Holborn, just beyond the City boundary.

But for centuries the Bishops of Ely lent their hall for the festive gatherings of the newly-elected serjeants at law. SinceEly Place had been the town house of the bishops of Ely. There has been a building on the site since the sixth century, and parts of the walls that survive today date from the s, being eight feet thick. To the north of the palace site is Bleeding Heart Yard, the name of which has nothing do with John of Gaunt but commemorates a murder in ; and to the west is Ely Court, where lies the Mitre Tavern, founded in Outside is a cherry tree around which Queen Elizabeth was said to have danced.

Recently rebuilt above the remains of the older house, the property leased by John of Gaunt was a large and imposing palace with 'commodious rooms'. Its extensive gardens were famous for their roses and strawberries, the latter being mentioned in Shakespeare's Richard III; there was also a vineyard. A massive stone gatehouse adorned with the Bishop's arms fronted the street. Within the palace complex was the bishops' magnificent private chapel, dedicated to the Saxon St Etheldreda and completed around Sir Christopher Hatton then acquired the freehold — hence the name of the nearby street, Hatton Garden.

The old palace was demolished inwhen the present Ely Place — a gated cul-de-sac of Georgian houses — was built. It incorporates the church of St Etheldreda. Old St Paul's Cathedral, which was destroyed in the Great Fire ofwas the largest building in mediaeval England. It was completed inon the site of an earlier church founded around by King Ethelbert of Kent, which burned down in The new stone cathedral in the Romanesque style was truly awe-inspiring: the steeple was feet high and the spire was feet.

The church was feet long and feet wide. Thus it was longer than the present St Paul's, and its spire taller than that of Salisbury Cathedral, the highest in England today. Behind the high altar stood the magnificent shrine of St Erkenwald, a seventh-century Bishop of London.

On Passion Sunday, in the presence of King Richard II and all the nobility, Gaunt was laid to rest with great honours beside Blanche in an 'incomparable sepulchre' near the high altar. During the Wars of the Roses the tomb was defaced and the painted alabaster effigies destroyed.

It is unlikely, therefore, that the corpses of John and Blanche were among those that were dragged from the ruins and propped up in Convocation House Yard for passers-by to gawp at. If you were surveying the Thames riverfront in London over four hundred years ago, and were standing on the south bank outside the Tate Modern, you would have seen on the opposite side of the river a large palace with turrets and a water gate.

After a serious fire in it was rebuilt on land reclaimed from the river by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Henry V. By then it was a massive white stone edifice with tall towers, rising majestically from the Thames. In the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the building; only one turret survived for another sixty years.

Another great mansion, Coldharbour, built in the fourteenth century, stood on the northern foreshore of the Thames. Coldharbour also was burned down in during the Great Fire. Sex, murder, mistresses, intrigue. A dysfunctional family if there ever was one. But, oh, so interesting. Riveting as brought to life by best-selling author Alison Weir, who spoke with Broadway To Vegas about her own interesting life, as well as the antics of those who flow from her prolific pen. Her history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British royalty from the Tudor period have made her a best-selling author.

The Tudor period was dramatic, vivid with strong female personalities. It is also the first one for which there is a rich visual record, with the growth of portraiture, and detailed sources on the private lives of kings and queens. Weir has sold more than 2. She is also the 5th best selling historian in the United Kingdom. It tells the story of Lady Katherine Grey, and is a suspenseful tale about one of history's most controversial mysteries, approached from a new angle in an intriguing sub-plot, with a hint of the supernatural.

The paperback edition of Alison's latest biography, Mary Boleyn, was published in America on September 4, Weir specializes in writing about a century of raw power and rude humor. As to whether any of the relatives of figures in her books have contacted her with their opinions, Weir replied: "Anya Seton's daughter contacted me after I had written an appendix about her mother's novel, Katherinein my biography of Katherine Swynford.

She was happy with my portrayal of her mother and said I'd got it mostly right! Underneath the success is a lot of talent and tenacity.

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Meet the personal side of Alison Weir. She was so enthralled by it that she dashed off to read real history books, to find out the truth behind what she had read, and thus her passion for history was born. By the time she was fifteen, she had written a three-volume reference work on the Tudor dynasty, a biography of Anne Boleyn based partly on contemporary sources, and several historical plays. She had also started work on the research that would one day take form as her first published book, Britain's Royal Families.

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Alison was educated at the City of London School for Girls and the North Western Polytechnic, training to be a teacher with a major in history. However, she quickly became disillusioned with trendy teaching methods. Before becoming a published author inshe was a civil servant, then a housewife and mother. It should come as no surprise that super-mom Alison Weir did what a lot of mothers are required to do - rise to the occasion. From towhile researching and writing books, she also ran her own school for children with learning difficulties. He is the bedrock of our lives - I couldn't do this without him," she stressed.

Thomas Becket was tried at the castle in Being an organized pack rat can be important to a successful author. Her work was deemed too long by publishers, and was consequently rejected. Inshe wrote a book on Jane Seymour, which was again rejected by publishers, this time because it was too short. Weir became a published author in with the publication of Britain's Royal Familiesa compilation of genealogical information about the British Royal Family. She revised the work eight times over a twenty-two year period, and decided that it might be "of interest to others". What Weir's writing has done to encourage an interest in history is magnificent.

However, she hasn't attempted to get her books turned into movies or a PBS special because, frankly, "Normally, broadcasting companies approach me. What about historical fiction?

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A female detective who solves historical mysteries would sing to me! Weir is not apologetic. I feel very privileged to be able to bring them to life in both my non-fiction books and my novels. In both cases, I feel that an author has a responsibility to be as true to the facts as is possible. And in an age in which history is increasingly perceived to be 'dumbed down' in schools, on television and on film, we can all learn from a study of the past.

We can discover more about ourselves and our own civilization. And if writing it in a way that is accessible and entertaining, as well as conscientiously researched, can be described as popular, then, yes, I am a popular historian, and am proud and happy to be one. This book was also proposed as a biography. No contempory image of Katherine exists. She was born in Aberdeenshire in James has welcomed a controversial young man to his court. Handsome and gallant, the newcomer insists he is Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower whom many believed to have been murdered twelve years earlier — and therefore Richard IV, the rightful King of England.

Wishing to discountenance his enemy, Henry VII of England, James has offered Richard his support and received him with royal honours, and offered him his kinswoman, Katherine, a young lady of extraordinary beauty, to be his bride. Richard proves an ardent suitor, sending her passionate letters, and she falls in love with him.

They marry in Edinburgh the following January, amidst great celebrations. Katherine is now styled the Duchess of York. One day, she dreams, she will be queen of England. A son, Richard, is born to them nine months later. Meanwhile, plans have been laid for Katherine's new husband to invade England. While Katherine lies abed recovering from her confinement, James and Richard ride into Northumberland, where Richard issues a proclamation as king of England. But no Englishmen rally to his banner.

When the Scots start raiding Northumberland and engaging in border warfare, Richard excites ridicule by entreating James to spare those whom he calls his subjects. Richard is so disgusted by the mayhem that he returns to Scotland after three days, leaving James with no option but to follow.

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