Margaret Tudor: Book of Hours

I’ve just finished reading the wonderful ‘Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots’ by Linda Porter and have started ‘Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen’ by Alison Weir. Both authors use the same picture of Margaret from the ‘Book of Hours of James IV and Margaret Tudor’ which I hadn’t seen before. It makes you realise just how young she was when she got married.

Margaret Tudor at prayer, ONB/Vienna, Cod. 1897, fol.243v p.509

Margaret Tudor at prayer, ONB/Vienna, Cod. 1897, fol.243v p.509

Image from Wikipedia

Linda Porter writes that it was a gift from James IV of Scotland to his new queen, when they were married on 8th August 1503.

‘Yet one most beautiful artefact does survive from all the splendour and pageantry of the occasion, though sadly it cannot be seen in Scotland. This the Book of Hours of James IV and Margaret Tudor, a superbly decorated late medieval manuscript now held in the Austrian National Library in Vienna.

We can be certain that this was a gift to Margaret when she became queen of Scotland…Margaret, in her picture, kneels before an altar, dressed in gold, with a blue velvet jacket and train. She looks, as indeed she was, very young. As with her husband, the likeness would appear to be consistent with the few other portraits we have of her.

We cannot be sure of the emotional significance Margaret attached to her Book of Hours. At some point after she became a widow, she gave it to her sister, Princess Mary Tudor, who may, in turn, have passed it on to their niece, later Queen Mary I. By the mid-seventeenth century it had found its way into the hands of Leopold of Austria, Holy Roman Emperor. It remains in Vienna, the tangible and sumptuous witness of sixteenth-century Britain’s most important royal marriage.’ (p.146-147, Porter).

This entry was posted in Items and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.