The teenage Catherine of Aragon surely looked forward to a peaceful life of motherhood and wifely duties when she, for the second time, wed an English prince. (The first one had died.) But this "quietly fierce" queen, as writer Giles Tremlett puts it, ended up facing one of the most consequential decisions in history: would she accept a divorce from her husband or fight with all of her might?
She did the latter: "She will defend both her concept of her marriage and her concept of religion basically to the point of martyrdom," Tremlett told me in an interview earlier this year. His new book, "Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII," is an absolute delight.