Writer Wednesday: The Irish Princess

Writer Wednesday


On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book.

Today’s pick is the historical fiction book, The Irish Princess, by Karen Harper.

This was the first book that I read by Harper. It tells the story of Elizabeth Fitzgerald, who was a real person. From her childhood in Maynooth, Ireland to living in exile in England and her days at court with the Tudors, Elizabeth (called Lady Gera) is a fascinating character. Her devotion to her family, Ireland and her heritage fuels her passion and her reason for living.

My photo of Maynooth Castle 

Aside from being well-written and engaging, this story was of particular interest to me because I have been to the real Maynooth Castle in County Kildare. It was thrilling to see those stones and mortar brought alive through Harper’s vivid story.

My photo from Maynooth Castle, also called Geraldine Castle

Why is this book called The Irish Princess? More than merely a lady in waiting to the Tudors, Elizabeth’s father claimed that she had the rights of an Irish princess. Her father, the 9th Earl of Kildare, was the Lord Deputy of Ireland. The Lord Deputy was the representative for the king of England in Ireland. Elizabeth’s older half-brother was the famous Silken Thomas, who marched on Dublin with his men when his father was imprisoned and killed in the Tower of London. 

Another tie to The Tower of London and Elizabeth Fitzgerald comes through Henry Howard. Both Anne Boleyn (famously beheaded in the Tower of London) and Catherine Howard were first cousins of Henry Howard. Inspired by Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Henry Howard penned this sonnet in her honor. 

A SONNET by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey 

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, photo from Wikipedia

Description and Praise of his Love Geraldine.
From Tuscan’ came my lady’s worthy race;
Fair Florence was some time their ancient seat;
The western isle, whose pleasant shore doth face
Wild Camber’s cliffs, did give her lively heat:
Fostered she was with milk of Irish breast;
Her sire an earl; her dame of princes’ blood:
From tender years, in Britain she doth rest
With king’s child, where she tasteth costly food.
Hunsdon did first present her to my een:
Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight:
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine:
And Windsor, alas, doth chase me from her sight.
Her beauty of kind, her virtues from above;
Happy is he that can obtain her love.

If you want to see King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary from another angle, I encourage you to read this book. If you want to find out more about Ireland in Tudor times, I recommend this book. If you’re a fan of historical fiction in general, this is a very interesting read.

My best to you all,

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