The White Princess – Philippa Gregory

The White Princess is Elizabeth of York, last seen embarking on liaisons dangereuses with Richard III, now facing up to the prospect of marrying his rival, Henry VII.

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.

Author’s page: The White Princess – Philippa Gregory

The King’s Curse – Philippa Gregory

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.

Author’s webpage: The King’s Curse – Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen – Philippa Gregory

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.

Author’s webpage: The Red Queen – Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory

The life of Jacquetta Woodville, dowager Duchess of Bedford and daughter of the Count of St Pol in the house of Luxembourg, whose eldest daughter Elizabeth Woodville would become the wife of Edward IV and mother of the Princes in the Tower.

But Jacquetta Woodville, Countess Rivers’ life during the Cousins’ War aka the Wars of the Roses is just as fascinating as her daughter’s.

Author’s website: The Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory