Bonus Review #2: ‘Margaret Tudor: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister’, by Melanie Clegg

Published by: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 9781473893153
Published: 19th November 2018

Price: £19.99

Format: Hardback

Blurb

When the thirteen year old Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York, married King James IV of Scotland in a magnificent proxy ceremony held at Richmond Palace in January 1503, no one could have guessed that this pretty, redheaded princess would go on to have a marital career as dramatic and chequered as that of her younger brother Henry VIII.

Left widowed at the age of just twenty three after her husband was killed by her brother’s army at the battle of Flodden, Margaret was made Regent for her young son and was temporarily the most powerful woman in Scotland – until she fell in love with the wrong man, lost everything and was forced to flee the country. In a life that foreshadowed that of her tragic, fascinating granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots, Margaret hurtled from one disaster to the next and ended her life abandoned by virtually everyone: a victim both of her own poor life choices and of the simmering hostility between her son, James V and her brother, Henry VIII.

My Review

Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Ever heard of her?

As a child she lived in luxury in the royal nursery with Prince Henry and Princess Mary. There were others but they died young, and Prince Arthur had his own household elsewhere. At the age of 13, after losing her brother Prince Arthur, her mother and then her grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Princess Margaret married King James IV of Scotland, who was 29.

That’s about the time her life got complicated. Poor lass, her first husband slept around on her, her second and third husbands were abusive theives, her brother was a dick to her, she was separated from her daughter, and people who were supposed to support her didn’t. She wasn’t the most intelligent or educated woman and didn’t really care for politics, but she did her best when she was dropped in the muck, to help her son on to the throne and keep him there. She tried to act as peace maker between her husband, and then her son, and her brother, however the distrust between monarchs put paid to all her efforts.

This is a sympathetic and easy to read biography of a rather unfairly obscure but important woman in a formative time in early modern Europe.

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