Her majesty’s a pretty nice girl…

The Sisters Three

I have been reading ‘Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory and I find myself aggravated and intrigued by turns…

I am aggravated by the portrayal of Margaret Tudor as a whiny, self-centered, spoiled girl whose only interest in life is to compare herself, her status, her ability to breed, and her wealth to the other two queens: her younger sister Mary and her sister-in-law Catherine of Aragon.

Which leads me to the intrigued part.  We are talking three very interesting women here. While we can never know for certain if Margaret was a self-centered, somewhat dim brat we do know she was the only one of the three to actually rule a country by herself (albeit not very well).  Katherine, the daughter of Queen Isabella and King Phillip of Spain, was initially married to Henry’s brother before she married Henry.  Although Katherine never governed Henry sought her council for many years, until he became desperate for a male heir and dumped her for wife number 2 (not to mention 3, 4, 5, and 6). Mary, the younger sister of Henry and Margaret, was billed as the one of the most beautiful princess in Europe. She was 18 when she married King Louis XII of France (who was 30 years her senior) and when he died less than a year after their marriage she promptly – and secretly – wed her lover Charles Brandon.

Who is the fairest of them all…Margaret Tudor, Mary Tudor, or Katherine of Aragon?

Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been a female, born into royal, with your only purpose in life to serve as a marriage pawn and breeder?   Yet each of these woman has a fascinating tale to tell outside of their husband(s) and children.  Did you know that the ‘main’ queen, Margaret, married a second time for love (against the council of her Parliament) and that act almost tore Scotland apart.  She eventually sought a dissolution of the marriage and was granted an annulment  – the olden times version of a divorce for rich folks – from the Pope (and granted before Henry VIII even thought of dumping Katherine for Anne B).

I don’t know how this particular story ends (besides everyone eventually dying of course). but I do know that it has made me want to read more about Margaret and James IV.  How about you? Do you like reading history or historical fiction?  Are you as intrigued by the Kings and Queens of Europe as I am?  I’d love to know…

‘Queen Margaret’s Defiance of the Scottish Parliament’ by John Faed (1859)




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