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Katherine Parr

"A flower pushing itself up between two cobblestones, a spiral staircase tight as the inside of a seashell, or the faint square mark on a wall where a painting must have hung, all become freighted with imagined emotion." — Elizabeth Fremantle, the author of the new historical novel "Queen's Gambit" (Simon and Schuster), about Henry VIII's last wife, Katherine Parr.

When I was a girl, and first read about Katherine Parr, I was inspired. Katherine was educated (she easily read Latin) and she possessed strength and kindness (she nurtured Henry's daughters and protected them from him). I didn't understand or even glimpse her faith, but she opened a door in my mind to British women, women like this. Unbelievable reports of her treatment of Elizabeth after Henry's death are, I hope, just that, unbelievable.

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