Book Reviews

Margaret Tudor: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister by Melanie Clegg


Little is widely known about Margaret Tudor, unless it was directly tied to her brother, Henry VIII. However, this biography proves that Margaret’s life was every bit as fascinating and dramatic as the life of her younger brother.

I must confess that I knew almost nothing about Margaret Tudor prior to reading this book. I often forgot about her existence entirely until her name came up in a book about Henry VIII… only to have her name fade from my mind again days later. My inability to remember her is precisely why I felt so excited about this book. Now that I’ve read it, I’m certain I won’t have a problem remembering her story!

The book begins by detailing how the Tudors came to power after the final victory in the War of the Roses, when Henry Tudor’s men killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Taking the throne as Henry VII, he married Elizabeth of York, and had several children, of whom only four survived to adulthood. Margaret was their second child, and oldest daughter. Details of her childhood and family life follow in the next few chapters. Not much is known about these years, but it was very interesting to learn about her childhood as a Tudor Princess.

Margaret was only thirteen when she married James IV of Scotland in 1503 and became Queen. They had six children, of which only one survived to adulthood. In 1513, Margaret was widowed when her husband was killed while fighting the English, and that’s where Margaret’s story gets even more interesting… and tragic.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent reading this fascinating book. Clegg’s writing was engaging throughout, making me reluctant to put the book down. The history was as informative as it was richly detailed, and I learned a great deal about the woman I once so easily forgot.

This biography is a must-read for Tudor enthusiasts!

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Pen and Sword History via Netgalley.


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Author: Melanie Clegg
Title: Margaret Tudor: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister
Genre: Biography, History
Publication Date: January 30, 2019 by Pen and Sword History
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

When the thirteen year old Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York, married King James IV of Scotland in a magnificent proxy ceremony held at Richmond Palace in January 1503, no one could have guessed that this pretty, redheaded princess would go on to have a marital career as dramatic and chequered as that of her younger brother Henry VIII.

Left widowed at the age of just twenty three after her husband was killed by her brother’s army at the battle of Flodden, Margaret was made Regent for her young son and was temporarily the most powerful woman in Scotland – until she fell in love with the wrong man, lost everything and was forced to flee the country. In a life that foreshadowed that of her tragic, fascinating granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots, Margaret hurtled from one disaster to the next and ended her life abandoned by virtually everyone: a victim both of her own poor life choices and of the simmering hostility between her son, James V and her brother, Henry VIII.

About the Author

Fascinated by history from a very early age, MELANIE CLEGG graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in History of Art. She originally turned to writing historical fiction and her women’s history blog, Madame Guillotine, as a means of escaping from the dull admin jobs that she found herself doing, before becoming a full time writer and historian.

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