Book Review: Uncrowned Queen: The Life of Margaret Beaufort, Mother of the Tudors by Nicola Tallis

Genre: Non fiction
Publisher: Perseus
Pub date: 28 July 2020
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

In 1485, Henry VII became the first Tudor king of England. His victory owed much to his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. Over decades and across countries, Margaret had schemed to install her son on the throne and end the War of the Roses. Margaret’s extraordinarily close relationship with Henry, coupled with her role in political and ceremonial affairs, ensured that she was treated — and behaved — as a queen in all but name. Against a lavish backdrop of pageantry and ambition, court intrigue and war, historian Nicola Tallis illuminates how a dynamic, brilliant woman orchestrated the rise of the Tudors

When I saw this book on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to request a copy and crossed my fingers I’d be accepted. I’d heard such fantastic reviews about Tallis’ books and I’d had her books on my wish list for a while! I was actually waiting for my birthday next week to treat myself to a few books which includes Elizabeth’s Rival by Tallis so it’s safe to say I was thrilled when I was accepted to read a review copy.

This is an absolutely fabulous biography. I learnt so much, not only about Margaret Beaufort but also other family members and the Tudor court especially Henry Tudor. In particular I never realised how involved Margaret was in her estates or that she was the only female appointed by Henry VII as a Lady of the Garter. She really was an uncrowned queen and was shown respect as such.

I’ve heard a lot of myths about Margaret and Tallis does a great job of weeding out the truth, for instance the strict, miserly lady portrayed in some fiction was actually an extremely generous lady who gave gifts and alms frequently and often spent extravagantly on clothing and jewels. It’s very easy to read for a biography, it’s full of sources without becoming difficult to follow and almost reads as a novel. I especially liked that the sources have additional notes at the end of the book providing more information for readers.

The Margaret we come to know through reading this book is completely different to the evil, selfish, manipulative Margaret that is often portrayed in fiction. Prior to reading this I’d only read fiction relating to Margaret Beaufort but she intrigued me very much. I am very pleased by how much I’ve learnt from this and it’s certainly increased my wish to learn more about this incredible lady and how she lived through the reign of five kings during the Wars of the Roses.

Tallis provides a timeline of key events and introduction to individuals at the beginning of the book which I found extremely helpful along with the index at the end providing further information.

This is clearly the result of much research the end result is fantastic. I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in the Tudors and the woman who went through so much to found such an incredible dynasty. This is the first book I’ve read by Nicola Tallis but I’ve really enjoyed her writing style and her obvious love of history, I’ll definitely be reading more of her books!

You can get your copy here : Amazon UK

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases

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