King Henry’s Sister Margaret: Scotland’s Tudor Queen

In King Henry’s Sister Margaret: Scotland’s Tudor Queen, a biography of Margaret Tudor, Mary McGrigor breathes new life into the story of one of the most important female figures of the period following the War of the Roses.

Born in 1489, daughter of the recently-crowned Henry VII, Margaret would go on to marry James IV, King of Scotland, as part of the 1502 Treaty of Perpetual Peace between England and Scotland, thus becoming Queen of Scots.

Her father died in 1509 and her brother, Henry VIII, became king and went to war in France.

When James died at Flodden while fighting alongside the French, Margaret became Queen Regent for their son James V, despite
facing substantial opposition from Scottish nobility, due to her being the sister of the English king.

This was only the beginning of a political career, which would have a lasting impact on the history of Scotland. Mary McGrigor, author of several historical books including the biographies of Anna Mackenzie and Margaret Douglas, Margaret Tudor’s daughter, has long had a keen interest in Scottish history, with a focus on the women who are sometimes relegated to secondary positions in these narratives.

Her portrayal of Margaret Tudor is primarily built around her character and the way it was formed, as opposed to simply a description of the events that transpired, giving the book the intimacy of a novel without compromising on its accuracy. The narrative has a staccato effect, created by short chapters which speed into a contained scene or episode.

Margaret Tudor’s transformation from Princess to Queen Regent is remarkably portrayed through her increasing ambition to keep her family in power and unite the Scottish and English kingdoms, which would only be achieved by her grandson, James VI and I, 62 years after her death.
An enthralling read about the life of an influential character in history, from the innocence of youth to the ruthlessness of politics.

King Henry’s Sister Margaret: Scotland’s Tudor Queen by Mary McGrigor, published by Pegasus, £11.99.

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