Two years ago I was lucky enough to read an early draft of the first few chapters of what became ‘Tudor: The Family Story’ by Leanda de Lisle. It was a long wait until the finished book was sent to me to review, but it was well worth it. This is de Lisle’s best work yet.
What makes this different to other books about the Tudors is that de Lisle strips away the layers of politics to reveal the personalities of the Tudor monarchs and the extended royal family and the constant battle to secure the throne. The level of detail throughout is superb and the revelations about well-known events makes you stop and consider them from a different perspective.
‘Tudor’ takes you from the beginning of the dynasty with the marriage of Catherine of Valois to Owen Tudor, the birth of Henry Tudor to the 13 year old Margaret Beaufort, through the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Bosworth, the reigns of Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI and their struggle to secure the succession, the nine days reign of Lady Jane Grey, Queen Mary’s fight to win her throne to become the first Queen of England and the long reign of the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I. Throughout these events some of the lesser known members of the royal family tree are allowed to take centre stage and their full role in proceedings is revealed.
After de Lisle’s excellent ‘The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey’, I didn’t know if there would be any new revelations regarding the nine days queen but again de Lisle has managed it. ‘Tudor’ examines the relationship between Jane and Guildford and questions the truth about the events of Jane’s reign. Two of the topics of the five appendices relate to Lady Jane. Appendix 3 is about Jane and her husband (‘Guildford and Jane Dudley’) and Appendix 4 is about Jane’s mother (The Myth of Frances Brandon the Child Abuser).
‘Tudor: the Family Story’ is quite simply a ‘must read!’