Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots
The Life of King Henry VIII’s Sister
by Sarah-Beth Watkins
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 08 Dec 2017 | Archive Date 08 Dec 2017
John Hunt Publishing Ltd, Chronos Books
Margaret Tudor was Henry VIII's older sister and became the Queen of Scotland after her marriage to James IV in 1503. Her life was troubled and fraught with tension. She was continually caught between her country of birth and the country she ruled. After James IV’s death, she made the disastrous decision to marry the Earl of Angus, threatening her regency and forcing the Scottish council to send for the Duke of Albany to rule in her stead. Over the years, Margaret’s allegiance swung between England and Scotland, making her brother Henry VIII both her ally and her enemy at times. Although Margaret wished for peace between the two countries, these were tumultuous years and she didn’t always make the wisest choices. Yet, all she did she did for her son James V, and her absolute conviction he would rule Scotland as its rightful king.
Praise for Sarah-Beth Watkins' companion title The Tudor Brandons: Impressively detailed research combined with a remarkable storytelling talent on the part of author Sarah-Beth Watkins,The Tudor Brandons is a consistently compelling and exceptionally informative read from beginning to end.
Midwest Book Review
Sarah-Beth's life-long love of history and writing has seen her publish a variety of articles, and she is fast establishing herself as one of the world's most eminent figures in the field of Tudor biographical expertise. Sarah-Beth lives in Co. Wexford, Ireland.
Average rating from 40 members
Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots tells the turbulent life of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s older sister. Margaret Tudor’s marriage to James IV of Scotland was supposed to cement the relationship between Scotland and England. When James IV died leaving Margaret a young woman, Margaret realizes that her power in Scotland has waned. Margaret fights for her rights as regent for her son, James V and also hopes to forge peace between the two warring countries. Margaret’s marriage to James IV of Scotland was supposed to be a glorious alliance between the two countries. Henry VII worked hard to make sure the marriage would take place despite James being almost twice her age. As a young teen, Margaret married James IV. Although James IV had his mistresses and had fathered illegitimate children, he was kind to Margaret. Margaret would have dances, music, and lively entertainment to occupy her. It all changed when James IV died in a battle against England. Margaret lost her support when she married the Earl of Angus. Afterwards, Margaret had a long struggle trying to gain power within Scotland. Margaret also had to deal with a tumultuous relationship with both of her husbands who used her for their own ends. In political matters, Margaret had a complicated relationship with her brother Henry VIII, and her son’s increasing enmity against England. However, through all of Margaret’s turmoils, she was a determined woman who never gave up hope of seeing England and Scotland united. Overall, this biography chronicles the sad life of Margaret Tudor. While Margaret's life was often fraught with tragedy and often made many mistakes as queen, she nevertheless fought for her son to have complete control of Scotland. Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots is very sympathetic to its subject. The biography is well-written and engaging for the general reader to understand. Nevertheless, the book could be improved by going deeper into detail about the people surrounding Margaret Tudor’s life. Margaret’s husbands are briefly mentioned, and I didn’t really understand them. The story was also very short and it would have helped me have a better portrait of Margaret and her times if the book was longer. Still, Margaret’s life was very fascinating, and it is sad that she is mostly a forgotten woman in Tudor history.
Margaret Tudor is English and is married to the King of Scotland, James IV, in 1503. Margaret's brother is Henry VIII. The plan behind the marriage is that Scotland will be an ally to England and will renounce its former "auld" ally, France. I was thrilled to read a biography of a female ruler, knowing that Margaret Tudor's rule as Queen of Scotland was during a time of wars, palace intrigue, and Henry VIII's fickle alliances with religion in order to assuage his pursuit of a male heir. The book is written in a matter of fact manner, and it is researched in detail as evidenced by the reference section. It was a quick read as it is less than 200 pages long. Sarah-Beth Watkins has written other books on female rulers, and I look forward to reading more of her works.
Biographies of kings and queens tend to chronicle their lives primarily as entwined with the historical and political contexts in which they lived, a focus that sometimes necessitates omitting everyday details of their personal lives. By contrast, in the early chapters of this biography, the author’s inclusion of specific details concerning the food, clothing, entourages, activities, and festivities in the life of Margaret Tudor leave a colorful impression. At times, the beginning chapters read like a romance novel, complete with descriptions of Margaret’s luxurious trousseau and a full record of the vows spoken at her betrothal by proxy. Thankfully, the author also provides a complex, nuanced portrait of the political scene, fraught by tensions, conflicts, and wars among England, France, and Scotland. We see this scene afresh from the perspective of Margaret, who at thirteen years of age was married to King James IV of Scotland, a politically motivated union intended to help broker peace between Scotland and England. In fact, however, shifting alliances and unstable relations among England, Scotland, and France often put Margaret and her brother Henry VIII at odds with one another: and Margaret’s husband, James IV, was killed during one of many conflicts between England and Scotland. Following an ill-considered second marriage, Margaret, who began life in the lap of luxury, endured hard years filled with unfaithfulness in the men she loved, painful separations from her children, and financial difficulties occasioned by schemes to deprive her of her rightful income. The course of her life and legacy is well presented in this biography.
Margaret Tudor is in someways the forgotten Tudor. Daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, she was the Queen of Scotland for a time and it was through her that the Stuart kings ascended the throne. Yet in many modern retellings, including The Tudors, her story forgotten or worse, merged with her sister's tale. This book attempts to remedy that. Using correspondence and chronicles of the time, Watkins weaves together a complex tapestry of the woman who was Margaret Tudor. Starting from her birth, we explore Margaret's world and her place in it. We meet everyone who would later influence her life and her choices. It helps explain her complexity and also her historical importance. And make no bones about it, Margaret is important. I picked up this book because I have an inordinate love of Tudor history. It was my focus in college, and my historical focus in my post-graduate education. I was not disappointed. The author has clearly done their research (which is good considering this is a non-fiction book) and has gone out of her way to include little tidbits into Margaret's life. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of her letters other documents which both humanized Margaret and also provided historical context to the book. I'm happy to give this biography: Four Stars. *** I received a copy of this book through NetGalley
There have been a seemingly never ending stream of books about the Tudors in recent years but certain of the Tudor family have somewhat gone under the radar. Two in particular I would argue would be Mary Tudor (initially before his death married to the King of France) and Margaret Tudor the wife of James IV of Scotland. This neglect is now addressed by Sarah-Beth Watkins concise and very readable biography "Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots" subtitled "The Life of King Henry VIII’s Sister". Margaret was born in 1489 and for political reasons inorder to cement the ties between England and Scotland a marriage was arranged with James IV of Scotland by proxy on 25 January 1503 when she was just 13 years old. This is a story of political intrigue and Machiavellian twists and turns as Scotland becomes intrinsically caught up in a power struggle between England and France (the "Auld Alliance"). This would lead Scotland to fight the calamitous battle of Flodden in 1514 where James IV would perish and leave Margaret at the mercy of her mostly hostile Scottish nobles and her scheming and unreliable brother Henry VIII. Two fairly disastrous marriages would follow, first to Archibald Douglas the 6th Earl of Angus and then to Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven. For long periods of her life Margaret felt "she was stuck between England and France" and was used whether willingly or nor by one side or another. The two constant motivations of her life was to was to bring about better relations and understanding between England and Scotland and to ensure the ascendency to the throne of her son the eventual James V of Scotland. This fast moving and continually shifting saga is very well told in this book and there are extracts from letters written at the time which gives an added understanding to the events taking place. I enjoyed the book and would certainly recommend it to those who enjoy history and to those seeking to gain a deeper appreciation of this fascinating period of history
At school, history was always one of my most disliked subjects, I dreaded it. I found everything about it so incredibly tedious and clock-watched for the whole hour! As I have grown up, this has changed dramatically and I am very pleased it did so. I don't quite know when it changed but I do wish I could've enjoyed my history lessons more when at school. This book is part of my foray into the true history genre. I know there are many many more, a plethora of other related history that I would like to read too and would like to fill in the gaps in my knowledge of Kings and Queen's. I see that Sarah-Beth Watkins has written a few more books on history that I am interested in reading. I thought that I may find this a tad boring but I was pleasantly surprised and will not hesitate to pick up similar books in future. I enjoyed the fact that it was every bit a true story, it meant I was learning something and as an enthusiastic learner I loved this aspect of it! Margaret Tudor, the older sister of Henry VIII, had a extremely turbulent and thoroughly eventful life but as her brother Henry also lived a complicated existence Margaret has been written about a lot less. Sarah-Beth Watkins helps to remedy this by writing this fantastically engaging book full of meticulously compiled research and a readable and simple narrative. I love the including of Margaret's correspondence in the form of letters, it really helps in understanding Margaret's frame of mind and situation at the time they were written. Margaret Tudor was Henry VIII's older sister and became the Queen of Scotland after her marriage to James IV in 1503. Her life was troubled and fraught with tension. She was continually caught between her country of birth and the country she ruled. After James IV's death, she made the disastrous decision to marry the Earl of Angus, threatening her regency and forcing the Scottish council to send for the Duke of Albany to rule in her stead. Over the years Margaret's allegiance swung between England and Scotland making her brother Henry VIII both her ally and her enemy at times. Although Margaret wished for peace between the two countries, these were tumultuous years and she didn't always make the wisest choices. Yet all she did, she did for her son James V and her absolute conviction he would rule Scotland as its rightful king. There has always been a fascination with the Tudors but Margaret is usually in the background - mentioned in many books chronicling the lives of her relatives, this book puts her at the forefront and finally she is more than a peripheral figure. Her brother Henry VIII has received the most attention over the years. Even her sister Mary has been written about in depth while Margaret has continued to be a passing thought in period books. This is why I am glad her life has been written about so beautifully but it was far from a bed of roses. Margaret's life was scattered with a lot of testing times and heartbreak and the author portrays this extremely well. It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like experiencing the amount of tragedies that she did. Although she could have easily given up and given in her strength shines through and she stands strong. These themes are prevalent in her letters to various people and in some cases they are rather emotional. Revealing her true thoughts and innermost feelings. It is a rather short book which manages to have depth but not be bogged down in detail - this is a feat in itself. I loved this so much that I didn't want it to end in all honesty. I was sad to leave 16th century Scotland but I am positive I will return to it soon. Highly recommended. I voluntarily accepted an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to John Hunt Publishing Ltd/Sarah-Beth Watkins and NetGalley.
A few months ago, I read a book by Sarah-Jane Watkins about Catherine of Braganza, which I really liked. So, when I saw Watkins had published another book, I jumped on the chance to read it. A Watkins book, a history of a woman and a lesser known at that? Right up my alley! Here, Watkins tells the life of Margaret Tudor, who was the sister of Henry VIII. The Tudors in general and Henry VIII in particular are a well-loved topic. I much prefer the Victorian period myself, although I do find the Tudors quite interesting. Tudor publications often deal with Henry and his wives, so I was quite pleased to learn about a lesser known figure. And learn I did. My only knowledge of Margaret Tudor before I read this book was the character played by Gabrielle Anwar in the TV show The Tudors, who is actually a mix of Margaret Tudor and her sister Mary Tudor, and isn’t exactly historically accurate. I do love the TV show despite its historically inaccuracies, it’s great fun. The book is quite short at 168 pages and the writing style is easy to read, so it is accessible to any reader. Perhaps it might lack details for historians, but I found it a good read. The text is enhanced by the addition of several letters written by or to Margaret, as well as a few pictures at the end of chapters. We’re also told at the end what happens to Margaret’s direct descendants. I found myself rooting for the characters, although it isn’t fiction, and was even getting annoyed at their decisions – the diplomacy of the time is very much similar to a soap opera… A recommended read!