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Book Review: Uncrowned Queen

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Literal mother of the Tudor Dynasty, Margaret Beaufort is often relegated as a footnote in History. When she isn’t completely forgotten or glossed over, she is often cast as a scheming manipulator who isn’t above a little murder if it means that her son is able to attain and retain the English Throne.

Tallis sets off to give us a complete picture of a women who is often maligned and mischaracterized in novels, movies and tv shows.  This is a deep dive into Margaret Beaufort starting with her birth which made her an heiress through her four marriages including to Edmund Tudor (a man many years her senior and the father of her only child) to her motherhood and life under the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III. The book cites several contemporary sources to aid Tallis’ case that while Margaret Beaufort was ambitious and intelligent, she’s not the villainess that certain novels portray her as.

I’ve long been interested in the Tudor Dynasty – the comparatively short dynasty historically whose influence is still felt to this day. So when I had the opportunity to read this book, I jumped on it. It’s a nice complete read, albeit a bit dry, that follows Margaret through her life. The most interesting parts, I felt, related to how Margaret negotiated her own marriages and managed her own lands. The book does devote some time to the claim that Margaret was responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard. I was shocked to find out just how little time Margaret spent with Henry VII when he was a child. Yet, as history shows, the bond between mother and son was incredibly strong.

It’s not a perfect biography. As I mentioned it is dry in places and while it cites a lot of sources, it doesn’t always explain why we should listen to these sources or what the quote means. Also the price set for the e-book is outrageous at $19.99. Get this from the library or for a few bucks more from your local bookstore. In all, this is an interesting book and a must have for people who are really into Tudor history.

Four stars.

If this is your jam, you can get it here.

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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley.

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