Book Review: Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots: The Life of King Henry VIIIs Sister by Sarah-Beth Watkins

Genre: History, nonfiction

Publisher: Chronos Books

Pub date: 8 December 2017

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Description from Amazon:

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 IVs 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, Margarets 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 didnt 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.

From her birth in 1489 Margaret was raised as a Tudor Princess. This book delves in to her life and all I can say is wow. I never realised she went through so much heartbreak.

Watkins covers all of the events in Margaret’s life from the death of her mother, leaving for Scotland, numerous pregnancies only some of which survived and her struggles to remain regent after her husband King James IV died at the Battle of Flodden.

The use of contemporary sources in this book is incredible and I devoured the letters between Margaret and Henry VIII which give insight to their relationship.

It must have been so hard for Margaret to have the Scottish council and her own brother against her at times and this shows in her actions of sending countless letters. I was very pleased to read how she was treated on a trip back to England, with celebrations in her honour but it seems her relationship with Henry VIII wasn’t an easy one, especially if she wasn’t doing what he wanted her to do.

Margaret comes across as quite naive in not understanding the effects her actions will have but I also feel she did her best to help those females left behind after Flodden by making it treason to rob or deflower maidens and widows.

From reading this I also learnt of the stories about James IV’s body which if true is so sad for a King to be treated that way after death.

I was also saddened to learn her burial place had been ransacked and her remains burnt. Although, she left behind an incredible legacy, her great grandson James VI managed what Margaret had wanted all of her life, to bring England and Scotland together.

I have not at any time found the Queen of Scots more inclined to the devotion of England, or to the pleasure of her dearest brother,

This is an incredible piece of work, thoroughly researched and highly referenced throughout. Watkins has a way of using contemporary sources to let a reader see in to the past. I definitely recommend this to anyone with an interest in the Tudor’s. Watkins has a writing style that makes nonfiction very easy to read, I can’t praise this book or the others I’ve read so far any more, they are excellent!

Margaret Tudor is available here:

Amazon UK

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