A Valuable Addition to Tudor Biography

The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas, by Alison Weir, (Ballentine Books), 576 pages, release date 12 January, 2016

For readers of Tudor history, a new title by Alison Weir is always welcome. She has a knack for writing prose that is both engaging and densely packed with information. Her latest subject, Lady Margaret Douglas, usually appears in Tudor histories as a secondary character, an endlessly scheming irritant with whom Elizabeth I must deal repeatedly during her reign.

A niece of Henry VIII, conceived in Scotland, but born in England, Lady Margaret had a strong claim to the English throne—particularly in the minds of those who viewed Elizabeth I as a bastard and who resented Eliabeth’s harsh treatment of English Catholics. Lady Margaret was quite proud of her pedigree and was determined to rise to the royal position she felt she deserved.

Lady Margaret never ruled, but she managed to wed her son, Lord Darnley, to Mary Queen of Scots and that marriage produced a son, Scotland’s James VI. Lady Margaret outlived Darnley and fought to maintain influence over her grandson, but with little success.

Ultimately, however, Lady Douglas achieved her ambition. Her grandson King James VI and I of Scotland and England inherited the crown from Elizabeth I. It is to her, not to Elizabeth, that subsequent English rulers trace their ancestry.

Weir’s biography gives readers a chance to view Lady Margaret’s life in terms of her own goals, a new view of a character usually depicted in terms of her relationships to other, better known, Tudor figures. If you haven’t yet read this title (I confess I had to wait to read it until I finished my academic year and could devote the necessary time to Lady Margaret) and you enjoy reading Tudor history, move this title to the top of your reading list.

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