The Thistle and the Rose: The extraordinary life of Margaret Tudor
Linda Porter

The Thistle and the Rose: The extraordinary life of Margaret Tudor

Margaret, the first Tudor princess and queen consort and queen regent of Scotland, is the forgotten Tudor.  Yet the elder sister of Henry VIII led a life of great drama, composed in equal parts of privilege and pain, highlighted by personal danger, hardship and loss. Overlooked or dismissed by historians as ‘Henry VIII in a dress’ (not, in itself, necessarily an insult), Margaret has been ill-served by superficial biographies or heavy-handed academic attempts to paint her as an early feminist prototype. Yet recent research on her epistolary networks and practice of queenship has revealed a quite different woman from the popular image of an oversexed whinger, whose main interests were her wardrobe and attractive young men. The child-woman who, at the age of thirteen, married James IV of Scotland, one of the most charismatic of all British kings, became a successful queen consort, presiding over a colourful and cultured court at some of Scotland’s most beautiful palaces.  Her first husband’s premature death at the disastrous battle of Flodden in 1513 transformed Margaret’s world, forcing her to make stark choices for which she has been roundly condemned.  But her two spells as regent for her young son, James V, and her determination to manage the fractious relationship between England and Scotland, reveal a true dynast with considerable diplomatic skills, as well as a loving mother committed to the welfare of her son amidst the swirling currents of Scottish politics and family feuds.

This book will reveal Margaret the woman as well as Margaret the politician and diplomatist, using a wealth of original sources not available to the general reader.  It will tell a story of sibling rivalry between Margaret and her brother, Henry VIII, going back to their childhoods, underlined by Henry’s ambivalent attitude to his sister’s welfare and his refusal to acknowledge her son, the nearest male to him in blood until 1537, as his heir.  It will also explore Margaret’s disastrous second marriage to Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, and her third, little-known marriage to Henry Stewart.  Her desperate flight to England while heavily pregnant in 1515 and her year-long reunion with her brother and sister, Mary, will also receive the attention they deserve, as will her relationships with her wayward daughter, Margaret Douglas, and her son’s two French wives. Margaret’s tragedy is that of a mother whose affection was not returned by her children and who has been belittled by history.  Her triumph, on the other hand, is that of a true Tudor who had made a significant contribution to the culture and politics of her time.  


The first full-length, serious but accessible biography of a neglected Tudor queen, filling a gap in the market

Draws on unpublished manuscript sources in English and Scottish archives

Highlights an unexplored sibling rivalry between Henry VIII and his elder sister for control of Britain

It underlines the importance of 16th century queenship

The book should appeal to the apparently unstinting appetite for the Tudors worldwide

Book Details:

  • Author: Linda Porter
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Head of Zeus
Linda Porter

Linda Porter

Dr Linda Porter has a B.A. and a D.Phil from the University of York, where she studied under the direction of two inspirational professors, Gerald Aylmer and Gwyn A. Williams. She spent nearly ten years lecturing in New York, at Fordham and City Universities among others, before returning with her American husband and daughter to England, where she embarked on a complete change of career. For more than twenty years she worked as a senior public relations practitioner in BT, introducing a ground-breaking international public relations programme during the years of BT’s international e...
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