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Margaret Tudor (ePub)

The Life of Henry VIII's Sister

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History Women of History World History > UK & Ireland > Scotland

By Melanie Clegg
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 6.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 181
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781473893177
Published: 19th November 2018


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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.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is another royal woman who I honestly wasn’t familiar with at all. You hear all about Henry. And really that’s the only Tudor widely talked about. But Margaret was an interesting and important Tudor as well. I learned so much from this book. It was well written and kept me interested. I would pick up more books from Ms. Clegg.

NetGalley, Jessica N

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating look at a forgotten member of the Tudor dynasty.
She was Queen Consort of Scotland, and then regent for 3 years.
She is always overlooked, and forgotten about in history.
I love the fact that this book is so well researched, it's a pleasure, and a delight to read.
A fascinating biography for those who are somewhat already familiar with the Tudor dynasty.

NetGalley, Emma Potter

I love the Tudor family story. I did not really have any knowledge about Margaret Tudor. Her story was fascinating. I enjoyed learning more about her and her Scottish heirs.

NetGalley, Renee Brawdy

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love everything Tudor and this book did not disappoint. I have always felt bad for Margaret as they leave her out of most history stories and maybe that is because her brother was so awful to her. She deserved more being from the Royal Family.

NetGalley, Cynthia Guerra

A fascinating account of Margaret Tudor, a life usually overshadowed by that of her infamous brother King Henry VIII.

I can't help but marvel at the amount of information about the Tudors that is available for historians and writers to dig into, and Melanie Clegg has harnessed these details and turned them into a most interesting biography of the Queen that is filled with such rich detail and drama. In fact, I often could not put my Kindle down!

Definitely worth a read for those who already know a bit of the background of this royal family.

NetGalley, Flora Fung

This historical figure of someone who we know very little if is interesting. All I knew was sister of Henry Vll, grand mother and great grandmother to Mary Queen of Scots sand Lord Darnley but knew nothing else til now. Loved this read down to the very end..

NetGalley, Dawn Killian

This is an excellent look into the life of Margaret Tudor and the role she played in English and Scottish history.

NetGalley, Melisa Safchinsky

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Needless to say I thought this history of Margaret Tudor was fascinating: an educational and entertaining account of this overlooked but important woman. I would be interested to read more about Margaret and read more books by Melanie Clegg, too!

NetGalley, Jessica Aspley

I'm a huge Tudor nerd so am always a bit anxious when a new biography is released in case it's a let down but Melanie Clegg's book does not disappoint. Clegg uses primary sources such as letters to make the characters in Margaret Tudor's life come alive. The text is vivid and detailed and reads like a novel in parts and gives readers a great understanding of Margaret's life.

NetGalley, Catherine Renton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Simply put, this book was amazing! Hard to put down. If you have some knowledge of the Tudors, you will note that the research done by this author was quite thorough. It was nice to read about a different Tudor for a change. I really like how Margaret came to life in this book! Will definitely look for more books by this author!

NetGalley, Kristine Oman

What a fascinating read and although I am a fan of the Tudor period in history, I don't think that I knew very much about Margaret - thankfully, this book has filled some of those gaps.

The author has very done an awful lot of research (that probably sounds obvious, but I know that I've read quite a few books where research has been lacklustre, to say the least) and you can really tell.

NetGalley, Cassie Pawpads

Clegg brings Margaret’s catastrophic tale to life to readers of the 21st century with a light writing style that makes you feel like you are having a conversation with Clegg. Reading this book makes you sympathetic for a Tudor Princess and a Scottish Queen who made some bad choices and who faced unbelievable hardships. If you want an engaging biography about this exceptional woman, I highly recommend you read, “Margaret Tudor: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister” by Melanie Clegg.

Read the full review here

Adventures of a Tudor Nerd

This was a quick and interesting read. I'd previously read about Margaret's daughter in another book before and that briefly covered her life but it was interesting to read something about Margaret herself... This is a good guide to her life that explored it in a decent amount of detail.

NetGalley, Bethany Younge

This is a lovely biography of a woman who has been neglected in favour of more “popular” figures. If you’re a fan of the Tudors but want to read something a bit different, find out more about Margaret with this book!

Read the full review here

The Creative Historian

Clegg’s study is thorough and succinct and goes a long way to help understand Anglo-Scottish relations in the next generation, between Elizabeth and Mary.

Historical Novels Review

All in all this book is exceptionally readable and tells the story of a woman much overlooked by history, and a woman whose future family members would go on to rule England.

Read the full review here

The Borgia Bull

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book! It was well written. I enjoyed finding a new author that did well for her characters!!

NetGalley, Katie Jamison

Melanie Clegg's biography of this neglected historical character brings Margaret vividly back to life. Clegg traces Margaret's life from the cradle to her grave , giving us readers a wonderful glimpse into the past. Margaret was a daughter, wife, sister and mother of kings and her life was tumultuous to say the least. She's a wonderful subject for a TV series, hopefully based on Clegg's clear and flowing narrative. Highly recommended.

Read the full review here

GoodReads, ConstantReader

Margaret Tudor’s life has always fascinated me. Her story parallels with the story of her granddaughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. Both Margaret and Mary would make fatal mistakes that would lead to tragedies. Margaret’s weakness was trusting in manipulative and deceitful men. For her two later marriages, both of her husbands would spend Margaret’s money on their mistresses leaving Margaret bankrupt. Thus, Margaret was intelligent and desired to be a good queen, but she made bad choices that would cause her to lose her power.

Overall, this was a comprehensive biography of Margaret Tudor. It portrayed Margaret as a woman who had the capacity to be a strong ruler. The biography is written in an engaging tone.

NetGalley, Lauralee Jacks

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The narrative is very familiar and easy to read, unlike some of the history tomes I have read in the past. Melanie Clegg's turn of phrase is humorous at times and really engages the reader in the dramatic events she describes.
Like many books about women in history, there is much supposition in this book as the lives of women were not well recorded, even queens. I have read some books in which this has been hugely frustrating. However, this book has such good readability that it doesn't feel repetitive as the author makes suggestions which seem realistic.
Margaret Tudor is brought back to life with rich descriptions of events and Melanie Clegg does well to suggest the emotional reality that faced the girl who became Queen of Scots aged only 14 and was widowed at 23 years old thanks to war with England and her own family.

NetGalley, Laura Beresford

A very well documented and illustrated book about the Tudors. The author explains well some controversies around this emblematic family.

NetGalley, Jo M

I really enjoyed Melanie’s book. She is clear, precise and factual without it becoming boring. The situation in Scotland was quite confusing at that time and luckily there is no confusion in the book. I would highly recommend this book if you’re interested in the Tudor era.

Read the full review here

A History of Royal Women

I particularly enjoyed the second half of the book, which deals with the rivalries between the various factions of Scottish noblemen, the conflict between Margaret and the Duke of Albany (the next nearest in line to the throne) and her escape to England. The earlier chapters, although less dramatic, are interesting too and I loved the way James IV was portrayed. This is a fascinating period of history and a great book.

NetGalley, Helen Skinner

A truly superb account of the life and times of Margaret Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII.

Books Monthly

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Margaret Tudor: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister is a brilliantly researched novel which transports the reader back to the 15th century.

Scottish Field (online), 10th April 2019 - review by Kenny Smith

A well researched, informative read. I learnt a lot. Although I am now glad I'm not a princess, well one from the Tudor era anyway!

NetGalley, Lucy Greening

This book is exceptionally well written and the writing style was excellent.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Tudor era

NetGalley, reviewed by Tracey Shults

In this new book by Melanie Clegg, Margaret finally gets her due. Clegg's writing is refreshing, intelligent, and informative, all without making the book feel too much like a textbook forced upon a group of students.

NetGalley, reviewed by Victoria Irwin

This superbly crafted, meticulously researched, and inherently fascinating biography of Margaret Tudor by author and historian Melanie Clegg is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library biography collections.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Listed in the 'Cover to cover' feature

Scottish Field, April 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a beautifully detailed history. I really enjoyed reading this book.

This book provided a lot of detail regarding a Tudor princess and what was expected of her in her lifetime.

I could not get enough.

Highly recommended.

NetGalley, reviewed by Sue Blanchard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

SO exciting can be history! In addition to the usual suspects, a chapter of the English royal family is opened here, which is not so well known. In addition to many facts, there is a great part of the picture.

NetGalley, reviewed by Nureeni Lem

I would definitely recommend reading this if you're interested in the Tudors or her story! As usual, Pen & Sword don't disappoint.

NetGalley, reviewed by Camille Brown

This is the second book on Margaret Tudor I've read recently. I found it well-researched and easy to read. The author's sympathy toward Margaret makes for an engaging read. I agree that she needed female friends!

NetGalley, reviewed by Jeanne Williams

I give Margaret Tudor five out of five stars!

NetGalley, reviewed by Michelle Kidwell

This is an accessibly and engaging biography of a woman who had been a somewhat shadowy figure to me, despite reading extensively about Tudor history. The author paints and nuanced portrait of Margaret Tudor, and goes to great lengths to illustrate how she fits into the wider British and European politics of the era. Will definitely look for this author's future work.

NetGalley, reviewed by Eleanor Leese

Approached this title with a little bit of trepidation, since for a number of reasons, I generally loathe the Tudors. However, having learnt a bit about Margaret in a Mary of Guise biography, I wanted more information on this very interesting and completely overlooked individual.

Can't say I was disappointed. Really enjoyed this title. Clegg does a great job of staying on point and telling Margaret's story and painting a chaotic picture of the geopolitics at the time in a balanced as well as concise manner.

Very clear parallels between Margaret and her granddaughter.


NetGalley, reviewed by Kat Munro

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the book because it read more like a novel but you could tell the extensive research the author has done to tell Margaret's story. Very reader friendly! I think this would be an excellent read for teen and YA readers who want to discover the lesser-known known women of history and their place in the world.

NetGalley, reviewed by Carolyn Shannon

Melanie Clegg has done an excellent job of gathering information and letting her readers see how different the lives of the royal women were.

NetGalley, reviewed by Denice Langley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This biography was well researched and contained a lot of information that I hadn’t previously read in other books. The author’s attention to detail is evident in the writing. Highly recommend!

NetGalley, reviewed by Cristie Underwood

By focussing on these aspects of her personality, Melanie Clegg has managed to paint a vivid picture of a very real woman.

NetGalley, reviewed by Cassidy Smith

I really enjoyed reading about her eventful life, although she seems to have been as successful in her married life as her granddaughter, Mary Queen of Scots (i.e. not very). I would recommend this to anyone who loves historical biographies.

NetGalley, reviewed by Gayle Noble

This novel was amazing. I recommend it to any Tudor interested reader. We are already used to reading about her bother Henry, but his sister has a very interesting story as well. I found it to be very well researched.

NetGalley, reviewed by Emilie Lafleur

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you are interested in the Tudor period, even if you know a great deal about it, this is a most useful and informative book. Margaret had an interesting, if ultimately tragic, life, and this book is worth reading.

NetGalley, reviewed by Barbara Bernstein

This was a good book, with lots of well-researched information. My takeaway is that I'm thankful not to be a woman living then!

NetGalley, reviewed by Andrea Johnson

This was a really interesting read about a woman I knew little about and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the period.

NetGalley, reviewed by Emma Cannon

I've read so many books now on Henry VIII and the family that came before him that to read something about his sister was a welcome change. A fascinating study into a lesser known but important Tudor. You can see the level of research that has gone into this as there is so much information. I really enjoyed this slice of history.

NetGalley, reviewed by Kirsty White

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is well written, and direct to the point. A lot of historians of this period tend to pad their biographies of royal women, ie "they might have done X," "she may have experienced Y," but Clegg does not fall into this trap. There is a feeling of being slightly rushed in the last years of her life, but overall, this goes into the perfect amount of detail. You feel like you have really gotten to know Margaret Tudor and her incredibly fascinating life.

NetGalley, reviewed by Jessica Storoschuk

I found that this was very well-researched without being boring or feeling like a textbook. I particularly enjoyed the bits of compassion and empathy shown toward Margaret where we have little information recorded from history. I also found the fact that the linear timeline style to be easy to follow.

NetGalley, reviewed by Megan Ireland

Overall, I would call this a light comprehensive biography of this monarch.

NetGalley, reviewed by Marissa Giles

There were a lot of very interesting details in the books that I, a history buff, was not aware of. The author did a great job bringing an air of authenticity to the story and her descriptions of people, places and events were fantastic.

NetGalley, reviewed by Eugenia Austin

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is excellently written and makes complex issues clear. For those who are interested in the Tudors it presents a different view of the dynasty and its time.

NetGalley, reviewed by Janet Perry

Interesting to read about a not often talked about member of the Tudor clan. I love the Tudor's, which is kind of a weird thing to say when you think about all the violence and cruelty attached to their years on the English throne, but maybe that's why I find them so fascinating.

NetGalley, reviewed by Tracy Jacobson

This book was a wonderful biography, quick and easy to read, but also filled to the brink with all sorts of interesting details. I learnt a lot about the early days of the Tudors, how they came to power, and of course especially about Margaret.

NetGalley, reviewed by Gianna Meinen

This is a highly readable account of the life of the Tudor Princess who became Queen of Scotland, Margaret Tudor. Often overlooked in favour of her famous brother Henry VIII, Clegg brings Margaret vividly to life as we follow her from pampered princess, through her successful reign as Scotland’s Queen consort and then her struggles as Queen Dowager.

Read the full review here

Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide, Tamise Hills

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 learnt a great deal about the woman I once so easily forgot.

This biography is a must-read for Tudor enthusiasts!

NetGalley, reviewed by Betty Capshew

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If I could give this book 6 Stars – I most certainly would. From the first sentence to the last sentence Margaret Tudor: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister – completely captured both my attention and imagination.

NetGalley, reviewed by Shar Daws

I really enjoyed Melanie's book. She is clear, precise and factual without it becoming boring. The situation in Scotland was quite confusing at that time and luckily there is no confusion in the book. I would highly recommend this book if you're interested in the Tudor era.

NetGalley, reviewed by Moniek Bloks

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An absolutely fascinating biography of Henry VIII's eldest sister. Little is known about her but the author manages to flesh out her character and history.

I'd recommend this to any fan of Tudor History.

NetGalley, reviewed by Julianne Freer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the best historical books I have read in a while.

NetGalley, reviewed by Rebecca Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely love this book. I've always been interested in the lives of the Tudors and this brought insight into Henry's sister Margaret who is often overlooked or forgotten in the shadows of her brother and her niece Elizabeth. I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Margaret.

NetGalley, reviewed by Gail Gerard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An excellent bio of Margaret Tudor, the elder sister of Henry VIII. It isn't often that we see books about her, which is a shame because she is a fascinating woman in her own right, and had nearly as tumultuous a time with love and marriage as her infamous brother. Well written, well researched, and a fun read, which isn't something I say about a lot of biographies, many of which are deadly dull. Not this one. It was an excellent read.

NetGalley, reviewed by Kristen McQuinn

Being interested to learn more about Margaret, I requested this title even though Ms Clegg is an author unknown to me. She did a marvellous job, both regarding the research and her excellent writing style. Margaret Tudor is portrayed as a lady who was intelligent and brave although her life was not all a bed of roses, especially after James IV's death. Politics and her private life were complicated, sometimes due to her errors of judgement, sometimes due to political niceties, yet she remained in character the true queen. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudor period.

NetGalley, reviewed by Beata B. Reviewer

I really enjoyed this book. This was my first book by Melanie Clegg, and I doubt it will be my last!

NetGalley, reviewed by Lisa Schneider

Overall, I did really enjoy this book and feel like I have learnt a lot about Margaret Tudor, and I highly recommend this book to Tudor/history enthusiasts.

NetGalley, reviewed by Laura Caldwell

Melanie Clegg has done a brilliant job, Margaret made odd choices, had challenges and sadness’s, reading this gives real insight of her life. A most read for Tudor fans.

NetGalley, reviewed by Patricia Bishop

A fantastic historical piece that I highly recommend to all Tudor fans.

NetGalley, reviewed by Angie Stoffers

This story is a quick and entertaining read and is well-written and researched. At moments I nearly forgot I was reading non-fiction because Clegg did such an amazing job putting together all the pieces and painting a picture of Margaret’s life in detail.

Read the full review here

Tudors Dynasty

This is a sympathetic and easy to read biography of a rather unfairly obscure but important woman in a formative time in early modern Europe.

Read the full review here

Rosemarie Cawkwell, Blogger

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to attain a deeper understanding of Tudor history.

NetGalley, reviewed by Sarah Westermann

A thorough biography of Henry VIII's eldest sister. Well researched and very informative, a must for any Tudor fan.

NetGalley, reviewed by Shelly Myers

I thought this book was well written and informative, the author goes into great detail about Margaret's life in an accessible way which managed to keep me interested in the book. I felt the author was sympathetic towards Margeret's life and this shows in the way that the author describes the hardships in Margaret's life and how she comes out as a strong individual. As this is the first source I've read about, this will be something I will keep in mind when I get the chance to read other historians' works on Margaret Tudor to compare whether they believe the same about her character. I believe that anyone interested in the Tudors will enjoy this book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Alannah Clarke

This is a sympathetic and engaging biography of King Henry VIII's sister, who certainly led a tragic life. Margaret faced it courageously and her great inner strength enabled her to fight on through her terrible travails. It's good that she had a little bit of peace before she died with her son and daughter-in-law and her grandchildren.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in the Tudors.

NetGalley, reviewed by Lisa Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A very exciting and highly readable account of the life of a lesser-known tudor. This book plays out across what, for a lot of readers, will be a familiar backdrop. The less familiar subject breathes new life into these events, exploring things from a different and intriguing angle. Margaret Tudor is a fascinating figure and this book will be a welcome addition to the shelves of any Tudor enthusiast.

NetGalley, reviewed by Evelyn Gray

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a well written, well researched and easy to read book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Sharon Shakeshaft

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I liked the detailed account of the book. It was super easy to follow. Even if you know nothing about the Scottish court, I think you will be okay. Melanie does a great job of making sure that her readers are still with her. She doesn’t talk down to you, like some historical will, nor does she venture away from the facts.

NetGalley, reviewed by Serena Stone

Melanie Clegg has put together an excellent book about this undervalued but still interesting woman who did her best to cope in a turbulent world of continental wars and dynastic game playing. Unlike some historical bios this book flows nicely and is easy to read, you don’t feel like you are drowning under a pile of dusty dates and weighty names. Her style is understated and engaging, I would gladly read her work again.

NetGalley, reviewed by Zoe Nock

It was written in an easy to read manner and I found it interesting and informative, not just when it comes to Margaret but the whole family.

Very enjoyable, and I shall look out for more of the authors work.

NetGalley, reviewed by L. J

I was very eager to read this book on Margaret Tudor since she is often passed over due to the shadow cast by her brother. The book was pleasantly written, easy to follow and didn’t bog you down with too many frivolous facts. It truly made me appreciate what Margaret had to endure in her life and the strength it took for her to carry on despite everything she faced. There was one time that the author refers to Jane Austen and it stuck with me because it seemed so out of place. All in all this book was quite enjoyable.

NetGalley, reviewed by Alex Oldfield

I have read a couple of biographies of Margaret Tudor, elder sister of Henry VIII and doubly ancestress of the Stuart dynasty of English kings (through both Mary Queen of Scots and her husband Lord Darnley), in the past and have tended to be very frustrated and confused by them, probably at least partly due to a lack of familiarity with the structure and political machinations of the Scottish court. It was a pleasure to read this latest book, which finally provided me with an engaging and easy-to-follow account of her life.

NetGalley, reviewed by Leslie Jaszczak

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am a lover of all things Tudor. Be it the Henrys', the Elizabeths', the various wives or the illegitimate children, I am ALL over it. And while I am familiar with the life of Margaret Tudor, I have not found many books that tell her story. So I was thrilled to find Margaret Tudor by Melanie Clegg, and couldn't wait to dive in to her work. And I was most definitely not disappointed. Melanie Clegg does a brilliant job of telling Margaret's story in a readable and wonderfully inspiring way. I was fascinated from the beginning, and learned so much. I not only feel as though I know Margaret a bit more, but I also want to hug the author breathless. A wonderful work!

NetGalley, reviewed by Stacie Tyson

As featured by

Evergreen, October 2018 (Autumn)

As featured in

The Bookseller 8/6/18

Author interview as featured by

All About History, August 2018 - conducted by James Hoare

About Melanie Clegg

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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