Cover Image: Uncrowned Queen

Uncrowned Queen

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I Received a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review
Margaret Beaufort. She is so badass. To be basically forced to get married and have a baby at 14 is hard enough. That would make anyone have a steel spine. Reading about her was truly amazing.
Was this review helpful?
I learned so much about the Mother of the Tudor lineage! Lady Margaret was the mother of Henry VII, giving birth at a young age,it was a hard and brutal labor.Add to it,her fight to remain in a position that benefit both her and her son.. This book was so well written!!
Was this review helpful?
This only proves how interesting Margaret Beaufort was in life and death. She lived through so much and saw so many things. Not to mention that she never gave up her ambitions, which caused her to rise as high as she could through her son. Truly the start of a dynasty because without her, who knows if the Tudor dynasty would have happened.
Was this review helpful?
The title "Uncrowned Queen" says it all. As the mother of Henry VII, it can be argued that Lady Margaret Beaufort was the architect of the short-lived but widely popular Tudor dynasty. Without her discretion, patience and determination, it is easy to image the Tudor faction becoming lost amid the endless violence that raged between the Yorks and the Lancasters off and on for years. Thanks to the Philippa Gregory novels and their television adaptations, Margaret Beaufort has been given a pop culture presence. However, what Tallis expertly does is show how the stereotype of the joyless and perhaps vindictive pseudo-queen is neither a fair nor an accurate representation. What unfolds in "Uncrowned Queen" is the fact that Beaufort was almost a woman of modern day moxie. She had a goal of seeing her son on the crown and she struggled night and day to bring that goal into being. But on the human side she was also a woman who was forced to be practical when it came to marriages, who adored jewels and the latest fashions, and was someone who recognized the necessity of education and charity. While she was very much a God-fearing woman, she was not a religious zealot who sucked the life out of the room, as she has often been unfairly depicted as being. She was a survivor in the truest sense, and to watch her survive is to read a story about what it takes to be true to oneself and to let the more conniving crash and burn on their own accord.
Was this review helpful?
Uncrowned Queen, written by Nicola Tallis, is a well-researched work about Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VIII.  Historical biographies from the Tudor period are generally written about important men during this time and prominent figures in the War of the Roses,  This truly is a shame, for the women of that time period, I’m sure, would have fascinating tales to be told of them as well.  Lady Margaret was one of those women who needed to be recognized for her contributions to the Tudor Dynasty.  

My jaw always drops when I hear of girls being married off at tender ages; Margaret is no exception.  By the age of 13, she was already widowed and a mother.  This amazing young lady has to turn into a woman almost overnight, and begin to face adult issues and concerns.  She certainly rises to the occasion, and proves to England time and time again how she does not need a man to “fight her battles” for her.  Her intelligence, piety, and loyalty shine through to make her a lasting legacy though today’s time.  

This book has certainly taught me a lot of the aforementioned time period, and helped me better understand what the War of the Roses was truly about.  It also helped me better understand the royal lineages and how all the rulers that took hold of the thrown during this time were or weren’t related.  It would have been beneficial to perhaps provide an anhantafel genealogical chart to show the relations between the many people spoken of in the book, in order to help the reader keep track of lineages.  I’m definitely glad I read this.
Was this review helpful?
Is there any figure from the War of the Roses more fascinating than Lady Margaret Beaufort? Without her, we wouldn't have some of England's most important educational institutions—or the Tudor dynasty! I was thrilled to be able to learn even more about her remarkable life in this new biography from Nicola Tallis, who peels back the layers of faded history to reveal the vibrant and interesting person beneath. Would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the world of the Tudors and wants to learn more about a pivotal background figure from the family.
Was this review helpful?
While I am grateful to the author and publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this title, a busy schedule got in the way, and I was unable to read it before it was archived on Netgalley. I will be looking for a physical copy of this title at my local bookstore!
Was this review helpful?
I have always been fascinated by the history of Britain's monarchy and have read numerous books related to the War of the Roses so I was very interested in reading this biography of Margaret Beaufort, the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty.  Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.

Throughout the book I felt as if I was reading the author's dissertation for a PhD in history.  The book was filled with names and dates and events but it held no life.  I never once gotten the feeling of Margaret Beaufort as a real person.  Yes, there was an amazing amount details and descriptions, but IMHO, no reality of the person being  written about.  Was this fiction or non-fiction, I'm not sure.
Was this review helpful?
# Uncrowned Queen by author # Nicola Tallis is the first comprehensive biography in three decades of Margaret Beaufort. Called the Uncrowned Queen and the mother of the Tudor Dynasty. She was married to the half brother of Lancastrian king Henry VI. 
Thank you,
#Netgalley, # Nicola Tallis, and # Perseus Books for the advanced copy
Was this review helpful?
A very through history of Margaret Beaufort the mother of King Henry VII. Well written and easy to read I recommend for all Tudor history readers
Was this review helpful?
Long a historical fiction lover, especially the Tudors and before, this look at the life of Margaret Beaufort's life is depicted here as one of suspense, intrigue and ultimately the successful creation of the Tudor dynasty. Well written and researched, recommended reading.
Was this review helpful?
Another very interesting and well written book by Nicola Tallis..  Would recommend.this book for all history lovers.
Was this review helpful?
A life spanning several wars, several husbands, much history and triumph is what is covered by Nicola Tallis in her biography of Margaret Beaufort. Being a lover of English history, it was difficult to decide just where to begin to capture the background of the Hundred Years War and the War of the Roses. Well Margaret’s life spans them both and ignites a dynasty. Using many sources including a meticulous book written by Margaret herself, Tallis describes a woman driven even from an early age. It peaks the imagination to hear of the exact castles and manors where she lived, fabrics she wore and gifts that she gave. 
“Uncrowned Queen” shows how many times Margaret’s attempts to rise in society via marriage and landownership showed she would not allow the usual treatment of women at the time to get in her way. She was determined to make use of her royal blood and family connections to bring herself and her son wealth and importance, however sometimes history got in the way.

“Her prudent efforts to position herself in a powerful family so that she could provide her son with a secure future had come to nought, crushed in a battle between kings.”(p. 88)

With continued work, Margaret did not let deaths and failed coups stop her perseverance. The book is concise yet explains the background required for Tudor history beginners.  Tallis shows with Margaret’s life that the upper crust at the time was not really a large group. Her pressing for her son’s success made sure that he was in the right place when the time was right for him to become king. She was tireless in her pursuit for the one she loved the most to be the most beloved and powerful man in the country, thus cementing her legacy as well. I didn’t know I would enjoy this book so much.
Was this review helpful?
The story of The Tudors enchanted me as a child when I watched a PBS offering about the Six Wives of Henry VIII.  Not long after, I saw a movie called "Anne of the Thousand Days" starring Richard Burton as King Henry VIII and Genevieve Bujold as Queen Anne Boleyn.  I was transfixed.  I have been somewhat of a British Royalty buff ever since.  I have bookcases filled with hardcover books which I call my treasures, many of which are British Royalty biographies- the Tudors, in particular.  I have read so many of them that these days the only versions I care to read are historical fiction novels by Philippa Gregory or Alison Weir that make their stories come alive in a personal way.  They may not be 100% historically accurate, but they don't read like dry history books.  

Last year I happened upon "The White Queen" on Amazon Prime which I watched using my Fire Stick.  This was something totally new for me because it reached back farther into Tudor history, telling the story of the War of the Roses which culminated in the rise of the first Tudor King, Henry VII.  I was very intrigued by the character of Margaret Beaufort, who was the mother of King Henry VII, and the grandmother of King Henry VIII.  Before this, the only vision I had of her was of an old, mysterious and stern woman who looked as if she were wearing a nun's habit.  This historical film brought the force of Margaret Beaufort's personality to life, and what a life it was! 

Margaret Beaufort actually had a claim to the throne in her own right as a descendant of King Edward III, but she passed that disputed claim down to her son, Henry Tudor.  At the age of just 12 she married Edmund Tudor who was the half brother to Henry VI.  At that time the church deemed that the age of 12 was old enough to consummate a marriage.  Margaret was pregnant by the age of 13 and gave birth at Pembroke Castle.  Her husband died just 3 months before from the plague.  Some felt Edmund was reckless in having relations with Margaret so young, that she was not fully developed.  She was married two more times, yet she never became pregnant again.  Perhaps this ordeal to her person had both mental and physical consequences.  During her last marriage, she also took the designation of "femme sole" or a sole person and later took a vow of chastity.  

Margaret was cunning in choosing husbands carefully and making sure that her financial assets were maintained, such as lands and properties she had acquired.  She would personally visit them and make entries in account books documenting all her finances.  She also religiously documented in a Book of Hours.  She had temperance, diplomacy and patience as strong personality traits.  Her beloved son Henry was sent away with her brother-in-law Jasper Tudor during the reigns of other kings during the War of the Roses.  She was separated for many years from her son, but understood the utmost importance of keeping him safe until the time (she earnestly hoped) he could one day be King of England.  

Once Henry VII became King of England after defeating King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, Margaret was a prominent presence at his court as the king's mother.  She would sign her name "Margaret R" and even wear a coronet on special occasions.  She also urged him to marry Elizabeth of York (daughter of King Edward IV).  Her younger two brothers were the famous "Princes in the Tower" that disappeared and were assumed to have been killed.  This marriage of Elizabeth of York to Henry Tudor was craftily designed in order to finally unite the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions and end the War of the Roses once and for all.  They would become the parents of the notorious King Henry VIII.

Lady Margaret Beaufort was slight of build, but very strong in intellect, religiosity, and determination.  This amazing woman who orchestrated the Tudor Dynasty rests in an elaborate gilded bronze and black marble tomb with her effigy and royal badges in Westminster Abbey.  This book was extremely well researched and written in a very palatable way which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating look into the life of Margaret Beaufort, mother to King Henry VII. I love the Tudors. I usually start my research with Henry VIII, so it was fun to go back a couple generations and see how exactly this family positioned themselves on the throne. I learned a lot, simply because I didn’t know much about Margaret Beaufort. 

I would recommend this book if you’re interested in English royalty.
Was this review helpful?
I received Uncrowned Queen as a NetGalley giveaway.

The determined, influential mother of Henry VII, Margaret Beaufort navigated four marriages, a traumatic teenage pregnancy and birth, and life and politics in an enemy royal court only to triumph, ushering in one of the most famous (if not the most long-lived) English royal dynasty, the Tudors. In many ways, she was a singular woman in terms of the amount of power she wielded and the liberties she was able to take, and a figure who doesn't receive nearly the amount of attention that she may warrant.

I'm always thrilled to read women's histories, particularly women who are less well known. And Margaret Beaufort is certainly a fascinating figure who played a pivotal role in English history. That said, I was a bit suspicious when Tallis proclaims she "fell in love" with Margaret, and that hesitancy was borne out, because this is a really fawning, uncritical treatment. It's true that some media has taken liberties with Margaret's life story, but at the same time, she was a human being with faults like any other. It bothered me that some of her cruel, bad, or out of touch decisions were handwaved away. For instance, Tallis excuses Margaret from a marriage match she made for a young relative that later turned out to be disastrous, but at the same time, seems to credit Margaret for the model of queenship assumed by her great-granddaughter Elizabeth I, who was born long after Margaret's death. Is she responsible for things that took place after her time, or isn't she? Implying she's only responsible for the good/successful and not the bad/unsuccessful doesn't track.

All in all, I came out of this book with a better understanding of Margaret, and an appreciation for her intelligence and political savvy, but there was a lot that rubbed me wrong. The often blurred line between piety and zealotry, her obsession with material wealth, the continued meddling in her son's personal life and reign, Frankly, I'm not sure I really liked her. Which is fine! But I do wish some of the less savory aspects of her character were explored and explained instead of excused or glossed over; it would have made for a more interesting portrait.
Was this review helpful?
So informative about the life of Margaret Beaufort and her family!  Thoroughly researched and well written to show the fascinating life of one of the most important women in Tudor history.
Was this review helpful?
Literal mother of the Tudor Dynasty, Margaret Beaufort is often relegated as a footnote in History. When she isn't completely forgotten or glossed over, she is often cast as a scheming manipulator who isn't above a little murder if it means that her son is able to attain and retain the English Throne. 

Tallis sets off to give us a complete picture of a women who is often maligned and mischaracterized in novels, movies and tv shows.  This is a deep dive into Margaret Beaufort's starting with her birth which made her an heiress through her four marriages including to Edmund Tudor (a man many years her senior and the father of her only child). To her motherhood and life under the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III.  The book cites several contemporary sources to aid Tallis' case that while Margaret Beaufort was ambitious and intelligent, she's not the villainess that certain novels portray her as. 

I've long been interested in the Tudor Dynasty -- the comparatively short dynasty historically whose influence is still felt to this day. So when I had the opportunity to read this book, I jumped on it. 

It's a nice complete read, albeit a bit dry, that follows Margaret through her life. The most interesting parts, I felt, related to how Margaret negotiated her own marriages and managed her own lands. The book does devote some time to the claim that Margaret was responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard.

In all, this is an interesting book and a must have for people who are really into Tudor history. 

Four stars.
Was this review helpful?
This was a well written book of Margaret Beaufort‘a life. In more current historical fiction and TV series, she’s portrayed as a terrible person when there really isn’t much historical basis for that. She had an interesting and at times difficult life and I think this book narrated her story well. It’s a good read for anyone who wants to know more about figures from history.
Was this review helpful?
Fascinating in-depth history, Margaret Beaufort is remembered as Elizabeth of York’s mother-in-law from hell. This biography fleshes out her life,    She becomes a woman of fierce determination who eventually wins the Wars of the Roses.
Was this review helpful?