The Three Sisters are Henry VII‘s daughters (and Henry VIII’s elder and younger sister respectively), Margaret and Mary Tudor, and their sister in law (Henry VIII’s first wife), Katherine of Aragon.
These three women are also Queens – Margaret, married young to James IV of Scotland with the hope of establishing peace between the two nations, is the main voice of the novel. She moves from envy to pity for Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England by virtue of her marriage to Henry VIII, and is eternally irritated by her prettier, younger sister, Mary, Queen of France for three brief months following her marriage to Louis XII of France.
Excellent telling of the transition from The Wars of the Roses to The Tudors – and how rocky this first reign of the new dynasty was.
As with The Constant Princess, Philippa Gregory’s versions of history reveal realities that had previously passed me by. In The Constant Princess it was just how long Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon were married (24 of his 38 years on the throne), and in The White Princess it was how long and strong was the threat posed by Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower and Elizabeth of York’s brother.
Philippa Gregory’ The Cousins’ War Series transitions from the Wars of the Roses into Tudor times, using the long and eventful life of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. Born Margaret of York, she was the niece of Plantagenet Kings Edward IV and Richard III, and executed on the orders of King Henry VIII, aged 67.
A long but fascinating read – Henry VIII through a powerful-yet-powerless noble woman’s eyes.
Margaret Beaufort, married at 12 and a mother at 14….. of the future Henry VII it transpires. The Red Queen tells the tale of the closing years of the Cousins’ War and depicts the constrained life of mediaeval noble woman. Margaret Beaufort comes across as a pious peer who aspires to both education and God-sent visions, but who has a blind spot where her son and heir is concerned – her whole life is dedicated to setting the last of the Lancasters on the throne and making herself the king’s mother, Margaret R.
Having studied the Tudors N times over, I’m ashamed to confess that I’d never really thought about where Henry VII came from nor fully appreciated his Lancastrian connections (or, if I did, I’d long forgotten). And whilst my memory of him as the administrator monarch, Philippa Gregory shows him as an energetic young man, trained by his uncle Jasper to meet his destiny on the battlefield at the Battle of Bosworth Field.