“The Power of Places”, by Natalie Grueninger

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Exciting news!! Today is RELEASE DAY of Natalie Grueninger’s and Dr. Sarah Morris’ highly anticipated new book In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII! To celebrate, Natalie, Sarah and Amberly Publishing are here at QAB to begin their fantastic Blog Tour. Be sure to visit all the great historical websites along the way. Also, don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of this fantastic tour of the places so important to the six wives of English history’s “larger than life” Tudor King.

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Inthefootstepsofthesixwivesofhenry8

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The Power of Places

By Natalie Grueninger

For the last 7 years, I have spent a great deal of time reading and writing about Tudor England from my home in a leafy suburb of southern Sydney, where on any given day, around 500 years and 17,000 kilometres stand between myself, and the people and time that I find so intriguing.

Through the pages of books, I’ve gotten to know the Tudor monarchs, their consorts and children, and the many other prominent figures of the day. I’ve read about the larger than life personalities, the politics and great personal dramas that so captivate us and have spent hours poring over their personal correspondence, state papers and portraits, all the while trying to imagine what they would have looked like in the flesh, what they would have sounded like. I’ve immersed myself in their world, and felt little by little the connection grow and strengthen despite the seemingly widening gulf that separates us.

In the hope of closing this gap, whenever possible, I make the long journey over sea and land to stand where the Tudors once stood and see what they saw. Because is there anything greater for a lover of history than that?

When I’m walking in their footsteps, I feel closest to them, like I might reach out and touch them. It’s in these moments that things I’ve read about and thought I had understood, finally hit home, bringing fresh insights. It’s also when I experience the strongest emotional connection to the past – which reminds me of something I read once that has stayed with me. After visiting the tomb of Thomas Boleyn in St Peter’s Church, Hever, in 1920, W. S. Pakenham-Walsh wrote in his book A Tudor Story, ‘who could stand in a such a spot and be unmoved?’ This is precisely wherein lies the power of places—in their ability to touch us emotionally, to leap the chasm between past and present and unite us on a soul level.

When I stand in a place­—be it an intact building, ruins or even an empty field—that once bore witness to the defining moments of the era, and the quiet ones too, and absorb its history and its moods, I feel that great gulf close and time gradually dissipate. In those moments, the past feels as though it’s standing alongside me, and could this be because it is? Is it possible that time, as we know it, simply does not exist and that rather than moving horizontally, the past, present and future actually co-exist? This is a theory that many brilliant scientific minds have leaned towards. Albert Einstein once said, “… us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” Might the great gulf be just this—an illusion? A fascinating thought to ponder.

Mysteries of the world aside… it was our shared love of walking the cobbled paths of history that compelled Sarah Morris and I to come together once again, to tell the story of Henry VIII’s queen consorts through the lens of the great houses, palaces and castles where their stories unfurled. I don’t think there is anything more powerful than learning history on the very stage where it played out and so our new book, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, will take you on a journey through around 70 locations across Spain, England, Germany, France and Belgium that played host to, among others, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Katherine Parr.

During the course of my research, I visited many historic sites, some of which, for one reason or another, etched themselves more deeply onto my heart than others, and so I’ll leave you with a list of ten such locations featured in our book, and not easily forgotten.

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CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PICTURE

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Nasrin Palaces, The Alhambra
Nasrin Palaces, The Alhambra

Alhambra, Andalusia. In this breathtaking palace and fortress complex, perched high above the city of Granada, Katherine of Aragon lived for the majority of her last two years in Spain. From within its rust-coloured walls she penned love letters to her beloved Prince Arthur and prepared for her life as Princess of Wales and future queen of England.

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Maidens Courtyard, Alcazar Seville

Alcazar of Seville, Andalusia. This was home to Katherine of Aragon and her family whenever they visited this bustling and cosmopolitan city, situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. It’s likely that Katherine celebrated her 14th birthday in this magnificent palace complex.

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Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle, Shropshire. In this ancient fortress, perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the River Teme, the newlyweds Prince Arthur Tudor and Katherine of Aragon lived for the first few months of their marriage, until death claimed the prince and left Katherine a widow in a foreign country.

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Acton Court
Acton Court

Acton Court, Gloucestershire. In the dying days of the summer of 1535, Acton Court played host to a fleeting visit by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Nicholas Poyntz built an entire new wing to house the royal couple, and much of this wing survives today.

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Sudley Castle
Sudley Castle

Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire. It was at beautiful Sudeley, nestled deep in the Cotswold Hills, that Katherine Parr spent some of the happiest months of her life, awaiting the birth of her first child by her fourth husband, Thomas Seymour. In a tragic twist of fate, the house also bore witness to the former queen’s demise from puerperal fever and is today the only private castle to have a queen buried within its grounds.

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Hever Castle
Hever Castle

Hever Castle, Kent. This fairytale castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, and a place where one can easily conjure up precious images of a young and carefree Anne playing with her siblings Mary and George, before the machinations of the Tudor court ensnared them.

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Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey. To walk the grounds and corridors of Hampton Court is to walk in the footsteps of all the Tudor monarchs and prominent figures of the day, including Jane Seymour, who gave birth to Henry VIII’s long-awaited heir, Prince Edward, and later succumbed to puerperal fever, within its russet-coloured walls. More survives of Hampton Court than any other Tudor palace, making it a must-see destination.

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The Tower of London

The Tower of London, London. This ancient fortress has watched over the City of London for over 900 years, making it a natural place of pilgrimage for history enthusiasts. Within its walls both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were executed and later buried in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. There they lie alongside a long list of notable Tudor personalities who also met their bloody ends in or nearby the Tower, among them George Boleyn, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Margaret Pole, Jane Boleyn, Thomas Seymour and Jane Grey.

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Thornb Castle
Thornbury Castle

Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire. This is the only Tudor castle in England to be opened as a luxury hotel, and as such offers guests the rare opportunity of sleeping in the very room where Henry VIII stayed during his visit in 1535. Guests can also dine in the chamber where Anne Boleyn slept during her stay. Time travel at its best!

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Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover Castle, Kent. In this medieval castle, which stands proudly atop the gleaming White Cliffs of Dover, Anne of Cleves spent her first night in England, perfectly unaware of the rejection and heartache that lay ahead.

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I hope you enjoy your journey back in time, and look forward to hearing about your historical adventures!

— Natalie

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS!!!!

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Natalie Grueninger
Natalie Grueninger

She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006.

Natalie has been working in public education since 2006 and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children.

In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching this period.

Her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Sarah Morris, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was published by Amberley Publishing and released in the UK in late 2013. Natalie and Sarah have just finished the second book in the series, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, due for publication in the UK on 15 March 2016 and on Amazon US on 19 May 2016.

You’ll find Natalie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (themosthappy78).

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Dr. Sarah Morris
Dr. Sarah Morris

Sarah is a creative soul, as well as an eternal optimist who generally prepares for the worst! She is an advocate of following the heart’s deepest desire as a means to finding peace and happiness. To this end, her writing is a creative expression of her joy of both learning and educating.

Drawn by an inexplicable need to write down the story of Anne Boleyn’s innocence, she published the first volume of her debut novel, Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn in 2012; the second volume followed in 2013. That same year, her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Natalie Grueninger called, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, was also published. Hopelessly swept away by an enduring passion for Tudor history and its buildings, her latest book, the second of the In the Footsteps series entitled, In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, is due to be published by Amberley Publishing in the UK on 15th March 2016 and in the US on 19th May.

She lives in rural Oxfordshire with her beloved dog and travelling companion, Milly.

You’ll find Sarah at Sarah Morris: Making. History. Real., or via her blog, This Sceptred Isle: Travels Through Historic England.

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 Buy In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII from:

Amazon UK

Amazon US (Released on 19 May 2016)

The Book Depository (Free worldwide shipping)

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WIN

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

Natalie Grueninger, Dr. Sarah Morris, and Amberley Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on March 20, 2016. Good Luck!!!

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Beth von Staats

is the owner and administrator of QueenAnneBoleyn.com. The author of "Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell", Beth specializes in writing magazine articles, online historical articles, short stories, and flash fiction.

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