Book Review: In the Shadow of Queens

shadow of queens

“Fiction offers the scope to develop ideas that have no place in a history book, but which can help to illuminate motives and emotions.”

In the Shadow of Queens, by Alison Weir, is a collection of fourteen short stories, most of which were released in digital format to accompany the author’s Six Tudor Queens series. Brought together here in a beautifully bound book, they offer further insights into the lives of the aristocracy, and those who served them, during the increasingly turbulent reign of Henry VIII and beyond.

After an introduction by the author, the collection opens with what turned out to be my favourite story. The voice is that of a young Arthur, the heir to the Tudor throne, whose untimely death led to his brother, Henry, taking on both Arthur’s wife and the role he had been so diligently prepared for. Arthur was raised apart from his parents and siblings, in a castle near the Welsh borders where he was to learn the arts of kingship. Although mostly fond of those charged with his care and education, it proved a lonely existence. Weir skilfully captures the voice of a child trying hard to please but still too young to fully grasp the political aspects of his father’s ambitions.

“Arthur did his best to look suitably impressed, but getting married meant nothing to him and it was ages and ages away in the future. He just hoped that, when she came to England, Catalina would share his interest in King Arthur and St George and toy soldiers.”

Quite a number of the stories that follow focus on young women who served the ladies of the royal court. Most came from wealthy families and were expected to remain chaste but also attract a suitable husband. I found the risks they took frustrating to read as again and again a young lady, aware of the cost to her reputation, permitted her admirer access to her body. Of course, such desires are natural, but all around, at this time, were men and women punished horrifically for indulging in such behaviour, or even abetting it.

Despite covering each Queen’s life in detail within the original series, some of these stories delve into additional aspects of their lives (why were they not included in the individual and lengthy fictionalised biographies?). Anne Boleyn’s sojourn with a French suitor would have been more interesting had it been less repetitive – she takes increasingly bold risks that appear foolish in her attempt to retain her beloved’s interest. Given the rabid court gossip, I pondered how Henry remained unaware of this history of hers – she had so many detractors when he became smitten.

The Princess of Scotland started well, offering an alternative setting around the life led there, but became more of the same when its subject entered the English court. Her behaviour, again, was bound to bring down trouble. She knew she was now a chattel of the King.

The stories featuring servants added welcome variety, although if their employers fell out of favour they too could be drawn into the ensuing maelstrom. It was a dangerous time to have anything to do with anyone the King may notice and therefore blame, as yet another of his wives fell.

Several names appear repeatedly, their lives rarely running smoothly. Children run the gauntlet of ambitious parents. Those who serve must travel wherever sent. I enjoyed the story of the painter required to teach The Princess of Cleves English, although would personally have preferred it to end earlier.

It will come as no surprise to readers that there are many, many deaths. Some of these are natural, particularly following childbirth, while others are punishment for behaviour. Coming back to the risks some took, for love or ambition, it grew harder to conjure sympathy.

I enjoyed the author’s take on what happened to Katherine Parr’s baby daughter. This tale offered a window into the world of children raised away from their families, within the households of supposed benefactors. The precarious situation female children could face if without a financial settlement provided interest.

A couple of the stories include a contemporary setting. These worked well. The final tale in the collection reveals the appalling treatment of Katherine Parr’s dead body through the ages. There is a degree of dark humour as those harbouring a lofty curiosity in history seek the kudos of viewing a rare artefact, and then cannot resist taking a damaging souvenir. Each believes they are better, more respectful, than their predecessors then behave in the same selfish way (I do not include the author, who has written herself in, here).

There are ghosts aplenty alongside descriptions of grand buildings, many of which still exist albeit in a redesigned or derelict state. Perhaps it is their longevity that makes the history of the wealthy so much easier to interrogate than that of the majority of the population.

This may be the weakest book by Weir I have read but that is not to say it is bad, although it did drag in places. I suspect the stories worked better when released as shorts alongside the books they were written to accompany. Nevertheless, they complete what has been a fascinating series.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline Review.

My reviews of The Six Tudor Queens Series:

Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen

Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen

Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets

Katheryn Howard, The Tainted Queen

Katherine Parr, The Sixth Wife


Book Review: Katherine Parr, The Sixth Wife

katherine parr

“She had a loving, attentive husband, who might be a little eccentric and overpowering at times, but who was at heart a decent man.”

Katherine Parr, The Sixth Wife draws to a close Alison Weir’s excellent Six Tudor Queens series. As with the previous five books, known facts have been meticulously researched and then woven into a fictionalised story that brings to life the times and places in which the protagonist lived. Katherine married four times so only a portion of the tale directly involves her most famous husband, Henry VIII. That said, the decisions he made, especially during The Reformation, reverberated throughout his kingdom.

Katherine was born in London and lived during a time when many, including her father, would be struck down by plague. As her mother served the Queen at the royal court, Katherine and her siblings were subsequently raised by relatives. It was a happy childhood and the uncle whose properties she lived in proved a wise and loyal advisor throughout her life.

Katherine’s mother was ambitious for her children, placing them within influential households and arranging marriages she believed would be of ongoing benefit to the whole family. Aristocratic children were betrothed young as their parents vied for suitable matches. Katherine, unusually, made it to seventeen before she was first married, her husband four years her elder. He proved a kind young man but was incapable of making her entirely happy. Nevertheless, she mourned his death, although being a wealthy widow gave her freedoms few women at the time could enjoy fully.

Her second husband was an older widower but, again, proved a considerate as well as a loving man. The couple’s main concerns were due to the King’s religious diktats which did not sit well with the local population. It was during this marriage that Katherine came to realise how precarious life could be however carefully one tried to speak and behave. By the time she was widowed for a second time they were living in London, her husband being required to sit in parliament.

The troubles that erupted around them in the north of England where he preferred to spend time are covered well in the story. I had not previously been aware of such uprisings. They did, however, drag on a little in the reading – my interest in such politics is, perhaps, limited. Other notable elements of the story are the details recounted of women’s clothing. How they dressed, particularly in and around the royal court, were important markers of wealth and status.

Of course, it is not just the adults in these times who die or are put to death. So much hope is placed on sons, the heirs, yet so many babies did not survive even into childhood. Katherine longs for a baby yet must make do with mothering her various stepchildren, something she is depicted as doing well.

Having been a good wife, careful and necessarily discrete, Katherine then took risks when she mistook lust for love with her third suitor. That the King was by now also showing an interest made this even more foolish. It felt out of character given everything she had been through to date – sometimes it seems passion really can be so blinding. Katherine does, of course, end up marrying Henry and is once again blessed with a husband who cares for her. These years in her life story lead to the King’s death and the political machinations surrounding such a momentous and anticipated event are woven in well.

Katherine believed herself fitting and able to be appointed Regent to the next young King. Given how she behaves when believing her life at risk – she becomes hysterical – such ambition looks to be over reaching. She does not come across as clinically controlled enough to hold and wield what power meant in those times. There were always many – men and women – mercilessly plotting for their own ascension.

One such person is Katherine’s fourth husband, an obvious knave. It seems a shame she did not appear to appreciate how her previous husbands had demonstrated true love in how they treated her, especially as so many women at that time were required to put up with appalling treatment in their marriages. Katherine appeared blinded by passion and the excitement of lively sex, even when blatantly informed of seriously errant and politically dangerous behaviour.

Having to read of her foolishness made the denouement somewhat frustrating and I was glad when the story ended. Having said that, I wanted to know what happened next to those who lived on. I therefore found this by the author of much interest. It also helped make sense of Katherine’s skewed judgement and her final husband’s thinking.

“a man of much wit, and very little judgement”

Weir is clearly a skilled writer of historical fiction and brings to colourful life a much covered dynasty in a way that still entertains. A long but interesting tale that provides a fitting ending to an ambitious yet successfully wrought series.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline Review.

Book Review: Six Tudor Queens – Katheryn Howard

“she had been in her tender youth, too frail to resist her wanton appetites, too greedy for carnal delights. How blind the young can be!”

Katheryn Howard: The Tainted Queen, by Alison Weir, is the fifth installment in the author’s Six Tudor Queens series. Like its predecessors, it is a fictionalised biography of one of Henry VIII’s wives based on extensive factual research. Written as a story, it offers a window into the life of a young woman raised in privileged households. Katheryn is always aware that she is a Howard and that her family are both wealthy and influential. She was regarded as very beautiful but is not portrayed as particularly bright.

Opening in 1528, when Katheryn was seven years old, the tale begins with the death of her mother in childbirth. Katheryn is sent to stay with a kindly aunt, along with her half-sister, Isabel, who will become a lifelong friend. Katheryn’s father lives beyond his means and goes on to marry wealthy widows. He is not well regarded by the wider family but they are still willing to help raise his children.

In 1531, Katheryn is sent to live with her father’s stepmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Unhappy with this change, Katheryn’s stepmother comforts her by explaining why.

“It is quite usual for noble children to be reared in great households, and you are now of an age for that. Under the Duchess’s rule, you will learn the skills and graces that will help you to make a good marriage or even obtain a place at court.”

Being a Howard, Katheryn is given her own room, unlike the other young ladies placed in the Duchess’s care. They must sleep in a dormitory where they get up to all sorts of shenanigans, including sexual antics with the young men of the household. By the time Katheryn is a teenager, she is joining in.

This activity is preceded by a crush Katheryn has on her music master. The sections describing their affair – when they would ‘pleasure’ each other in secret – were disturbing to read.

Katheryn’s regular fumblings and tumblings during the years she lived in the Duchess’s house grew tiresome to read due to repetition. There was little attempt at discretion during lascivious activity, much to the chagrin of some of the young ladies who were forced to bear witness. There is risk but this only adds to the frisson.

In 1539, Katheryn’s father dies. Following this, she is finally found a place at court serving the King’s latest wife, the Lady Anne of Cleves. Although basking in the opulence of the royal palaces, and enjoying the sumptuous gowns she is given, Katheryn grows bored by the quiet manner in which the new Queen mostly lives.

When it becomes clear that the King no longer wishes to be married to Anne, Katheryn’s powerful uncles concoct a plan to place her on the throne. She must present herself as virtuous, keeping secret the life she led while under the care of the Dowager Duchess. The King is smitten by her youth and beauty, and she grows fond of him.

Once again, Katheryn’s sex life is described in repetitive detail – key to her role as Queen is that she produce a royal heir. When she rekindles an affair with one of her previous lovers, it is frustrating to read of the foolish risks she takes. Yes, she is young and vivacious, but her actions were always bound to lead where they did.

Portrayed as an admired young woman who has been offered little moral guidance growing up, Katheryn’s behaviour can be understood despite its repercussions. In this marriage at least, Henry appears the victim.

I enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel – the lives led by the noble families of the time and those who served them. Political maneuvering was ruthless and added interest. It is a shame that, while understanding it was Katheryn’s sexual antics that led to her undoing and therefore they had to be included, the many pages devoted to describing them became tedious.

Katheryn was young, fell easily in love, and was used by those looking for preferment. That she couldn’t control her urges, despite being adored by her aging husband, makes it harder to sympathise. Nevertheless, the author does a good job of presenting choices made through the lens of desire – which has, after all, caused regret in many.

An author’s note at the end explains the facts she used as the basis for the story and where she chose to use her imagination. Having read each of the books in this series, I am glad to have read this one for completeness. I do, however, hope that the final installment will contain less carnal content. I look forward to learning more about Henry’s final Queen.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.

Book Review: Six Tudor Queens – Anna of Kleve

Six Tudor Queens: Anna of Kleve – Queen of Secrets, by Alison Weir, is the fourth in a series of specially commissioned books which together tell the tales of Henry VIII’s wives, from their point of view. Each instalment is a highly detailed, fictionalised account based on known and researched facts, with literary licence taken to aid storytelling. The author is a well regarded historian and explains at the end of each book why she presented key moments in her subjects’ lives the way she did.

Anna of Kleve opens in 1530 when the young lady is fourteen years old. She has been raised by her wealthy and aristocratic family to put duty before her own desires. Anna’s upbringing has been strict but loving. Betrothed to the eldest son of the Duke of Lorraine since she was eleven, her wedding – to a boy she has yet to meet – is expected to take place later in the current year. Anna’s acceptance of the life she has been raised for is threatened when her cousin by marriage visits and she is smitten.

The fallout from this encounter could have been personally devastating but, with the advice and support of her devoted nurse, events are managed and defused.

Anna’s life resumes its quiet monotony. Years pass during which her betrothal is annulled. Then, in 1538, England seeks an alliance with Kleve. King Henry requires a new bride and his Principal Secretary, Cromwell, recommends Anna.

The section of the book during which Anna is prepared for and then travels to England are fascinating. Her family value modesty and simplicity in women so the fashions and accomplishments of the English court ladies make Anna appear odd and lacking interest. She does her best to fit in but struggles to please her new husband, not understanding why.

As a foreigner, Anna had known about Henry from talk abroad of his religious reforms and controversial marriages. By the time she meets him he is already aged and temperamental. She is required to bear him a child yet he makes this impossible.

Anna and Henry’s marriage lasts a mere six months. Aged twenty-five, Anna finds herself in a position where she must carve a place for herself in England or return to the strictures of Kleve. So long as she acquiesces to his every wish, she is offered Henry’s continued patronage. Over the years factions at court vying for personal betterment put Anna in danger with their intrigues. She must act quickly and with great delicacy to diffuse situations not of her making.

Anna outlives both King Henry and Queen Mary. It is interesting to view the machinations and religious turmoil of the Tudor court through the eyes of someone with inner contacts but living apart. Anna takes risks to make her life more pleasurable but, due to her reliance on their finance, is never free of royal obligation. She suffers when gossip or rivalry threaten to tarnish her name.

The strength of this series is that it portrays the same, well known era from differing perspectives. In this book we are also offered a window into the life of a wealthy, peripatetic household and the difficulties associated with maintaining expected standards of comfortable living. Anna’s later years are spent outside of London. Although highly privileged, her autonomy is stymied by the need to preserve an unsullied reputation within an ever changing political landscape.

The writing is fluid and engaging. As well as being of historical interest it is a captivating story with subplots weaving convincingly around the known headlines. Anna is developed with sympathy but also realism. An enjoyable and refreshingly accessible read.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.

Book Review: Six Tudor Queens – Jane Seymour

Six Tudor Queens: Jane Seymour – The Haunted Queen, by Alison Weir, is the third in a series of specially commissioned books which together tell the story of Henry VIII’s wives, from their point of view. Each instalment is a highly detailed, fictionalised account based on known and researched facts, with literary licence taken to aid storytelling. The author is a well regarded historian and explains at the end of each book why she presented key moments in her subjects’ lives the way she did. Jane Seymour served both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn as a maid-of-honour during the turbulent years when the latter replaced the former as queen so there is a degree of overlap in the first three books in the series. Jane left little written evidence of her life and thoughts so the author has constructed a tale based on interpretation and informed invention.

The story opens when Jane is ten years old and attending a lavish dinner at her family home, Wulf Hall in Wiltshire, to celebrate the marriage of her elder brother, Edward, to Catherine Fillol. The match is regarded as a good one by both families and within a year they have had a child. By then their initial happiness has soured for disturbing reasons. Jane’s mother gave birth to ten children but not all survived into adulthood. The precariousness of life, at a time when doctors could offer little more than herbal infusions as remedies, plays a key role in the ongoing narrative. The coming years bring outbreaks of devastating plague to England as well as the tragedies of royal babies not carried to term. The fecundity of the Seymours may well have been part of Jane’s appeal to the king when he grew disillusioned with Anne Boleyn.

The timeline jumps forward to when Jane is eighteen years old. She wishes to be a nun but does not cope well with the hardships required by this life so returns home. Her siblings are making their way in the world and she starts to look beyond Wulf Hall which is no longer the happy, family home of her childhood. She is pleased to be granted the opportunity to serve at the royal court in London.

Jane soon discovers that court life is a hotbed of intrigue and gossip, the factional rivalry an unwelcome contrast to the peaceful existence she associates with Wulf Hall. Anne is approaching her zenith and Jane accompanies Katherine when she is required to leave Henry and his palaces as the royal marriage is annulled. Jane is a staunch supporter of the church so is appalled by the ecclesiastical reforms being proposed and managed by an increasingly influential Cromwell. When Katherine is stripped of her household in an attempt to force her to comply with the king’s wishes, the Seymours insist that Jane not waste the costly court place they provided. She is required to return to London and serve Anne.

Jane is witness to the distress caused by the new queen’s miscarriages. Despite Anne’s suffering, Jane despises her for what she has done to Katherine. When Henry starts to take notice of Jane she chooses not to reject his advances as she does not consider him lawfully married. In this she is encouraged by her ambitious brothers and a growing band of supporters eager to do away with Anne and reinstate Katherine’s daughter, Mary, in the succession.

The bare bones of the story are, of course, well known. In many ways the plot is slow moving as Jane’s participation and influence on key events are minor until close to the end of her life. What this enables is a detailed portrayal of life in Tudor England from the point of view of a noble but peripheral family rising through the echelons of the royal court. Clothes, food, and the day to day preoccupations of sixteenth century, privileged women are vividly presented.

Jane is depicted as somewhat gauche but aware of the risks she is taking in becoming involved with Henry. Her loyalty to her family is key in the decisions she makes. Having witnessed how ruthless Henry could be to his wives she is aware of the precariousness of her position. Although wishing to promote the causes her supporters espouse she is mostly circumspect in her dealings with the king who has little patience with any who will not bend as he wills.

The author has chosen not to ascribe Jane’s death to the traditionally accepted puerperal fever. Her reasoning for this is compelling. By this time Henry was approaching fifty, suffering from leg ulcers and putting on weight. The couple’s supposed love for each other is shown to have serious caveats. It seems unlikely that the life Jane dreamed of would have been possible even had she lived.

Although the truly historic events are the same in all three of the books so far released in this series, the changing points of view provide new perspective and depth. This is an accessible and well structured account of a queen who, despite providing Henry’s longed for prince, is rarely granted as much attention as her predecessor. It provides an intimate window into the rarefied yet ruthless Tudor world.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.

Book Review: Six Tudor Queens – Anne Boleyn

Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn – A King’s Obsession, by Alison Weir, is the second in a series of specially commissioned books each of which tells the story of one of Henry VIII’s wives from their point of view (I reviewed Katherine of Aragon, here). Like the first, this instalment is a highly detailed, fictionalised story based on known and researched facts, with literary licence taken to aid storytelling. As the author explains at the end, “The scenes in this novel are imagined, but they are not improbable.”

The story of Anne Boleyn has been told many times and from many directions both in books and on film. Each offers a slightly different take on a woman for whom relatively little personal historical detail remains. There are portraits, poetry, letters from the king, and occasional mentions in writing by her contemporaries. These have been woven into the various accounts with which those who have an interest will be familiar. All of this is to say that I was already aware of much of the story being told over these five hundred pages. I needed some fresh angle to hold my attention.

The story opens at Anne’s childhood home of Hever Castle in Kent when she is twelve years old and learns that she is to be sent away to serve at the court of Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands. Anne is delighted by this news, especially as she is gaining preferment over her older sister, Mary. Her only regret is that she will be separated from her beloved brother, George.

Anne spends the next nine years serving in royal courts around northern Europe where she perfects her French language, manners and dress, and learns to play the game of courtly love. She is influenced by the scholars who visit with her mistresses, many of whom espoused enlightened views for the time on the role of women and the church. These views did not preclude the court gentlemen from attempting to have their way where the ladies were concerned. This is presented in what felt a very modern voice.

When war between France and England is threatened Anne returns home where she is found a place at the court of Queen Katherine. Here she falls in love but is thwarted. She is also noticed by Henry who starts his pursuit of her affections.

It took around seven years for Henry to find a way to marry Anne. This period is covered in around two hundred pages during which I struggled to maintain engagement. Naturally Anne changes over this difficult period in her life. She has chosen to eschew the love of others for the potential power of a match with a king.

There are other events to consider, especially those affecting her family. Anne’s regard for George is tested and her increasingly arrogant behaviour gains her enemies. She appears to do little of note while waiting other than call down vengeance on those who will not actively support her cause.

Once Anne is pregnant the story picks up pace although her inability to bear a living son is well known. As Henry seeks his entertainments elsewhere Anne becomes a solitary figure, widely disliked and with her hard fought for power on the wane. Anne’s enemies may now treat her as she did others.

Facing death, Anne takes on a piety that had not previously been obvious. I suspect this is not unusual. I balked at the portrayal of Anne’s decapitation. The Author’s Note at the end, especially on this, was interesting to read.

The author, a respected historian, offers new angles to consider in a number of areas which I will not spoil by detailing. She is an accomplished writer and the story flows. What it lacked, as far as I was concerned, was enough new material to maintain my interest. Given the book’s length, in places I needed more.

For fans of historical fiction this is a carefully researched and nicely written addition to the story of Anne Boleyn. I put my sometimes less than positive response above down to the number of other accounts of this queen that I have both watched and read. I do still look forward to the remaining instalments in this series. I know less about their protagonists.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.

Book Review: Six Tudor Queens – Katherine of Aragon


Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon – The True Queen, by Alison Weir, is the first in a series of specially commissioned books each of which will tell the story of one of Henry VIII’s wives from their point of view. This first installment is a mighty six hundred pages long. Whilst being written using easily readable and accessible language it still took some time to work through. It is a highly detailed, fictionalised story based on known and researched facts, but literary licence has been taken to add emotion. This queen may have been badly used but this was the lot for noble women at the time. I struggled to warm to her, especially later in her life.

The book opens with the arrival in Plymouth of the fifteen year old Infanta Catalina, a princess of Spain. Instructed by her future father-in-law, King Henry VII, to forget Spain, she receives a rapturous welcome from the people of England, eager to catch a glimpse of their future queen. She is introduced to a sickly Arthur, Prince of Wales and her betrothed. They marry and move to Ludlow Castle where he dies.

Events in Europe at this time conspire to put Katherine’s future in jeapordy. Marriages between the children of the nobility were political and financial in nature. Daughters were required to heed the wishes of their fathers and then husbands. Katherine had been raised to comply and, despite occasional glimpses of temper, did so willingly. A devout Catholic (her parents founded the notorious Spanish Inquisition) she regarded this compliance as ordained by God.

The facts of this period of Tudor history are well known. The author focuses on evoking the life of a lady in the English Court. Through the years of waiting Katherine writes many letters begging her relatives abroad for assistance. This was all that was in her power to do and she does it continually throughout her life. When action was taken that favoured her it was because it also favoured those who acted. I wondered at the risks she sometimes took to write the letters when it seemed obvious she was rarely more than a pawn.

Henry VII dies and Katherine marries his remaining son, becoming Queen beside Henry VIII. Their marriage was happy except for the continual deaths of their newly born children. During these years the story describes the royal couple’s clothing, accommodation, food, entertainments, and their movement between grand houses. They had a vast army of servents and followers, spending lavishly and favouring their own.

Katherine was a useful and beloved queen until she reached menopause without producing a male heir. Henry had taken mistresses over the years and had at least one son whom he recognised and promoted, much to his wife’s chagrin. When it became clear that she could no longer give him a son he conspired to set her aside. He was most put out when she would not do as he asked and enter a nunnery, his strong sense of entitlement coming to the fore.

The ascendancy of Anne Boleyn, as seen through Katherine’s eyes, is of interest but I found the description of these later years overlong. Katherine was effectively a prisoner, retreating into piety and much weeping. It was hard to retain interest when little happened to her other than suffering for her intransegence. She did not seem able to understand her situation despite having lived half a century in the midst of the corruption and favouritism of the royal court.

What the author has succeeded in doing is to make me want to read the next instalment, to see how this same history will look through Anne Boleyn’s eyes. There is also mention of Jane Seymour, the Parr and Howard families. There is much to come.

Life in the sixteenth century was obviously very different to today, particularly for women, although the machinations of the wealthy demonstrates that there are also many parallels. There is only occasional mention of those outside of the nobility or church. Perhaps, as now, they were of little interest to the powerful except as war fodder or tax generators.

In some ways this telling of a well known story felt simplified despite the detail. It lacked the nuances of, say, Wolf Hall. However, the idea of looking at the same period of history through six pairs of similarly ranked female eyes is intriguing. I hope to have the opportunity to read the remaining books from the series in due course.


My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.