cover image The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas

The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas

Alison Weir. Ballantine, $30 (576p) ISBN 978-0-345-52139-2

In this noteworthy biography, Weir (The Marriage Game), a novelist and popular historian of the Tudor period, shows how Lady Margaret Douglas—a now largely forgotten royal claimant—frequently ignored her own safety to further her ambition in spite of her more famous relatives. Margaret, Henry VIII’s niece, spent much of her life angling for greater status and favors, seemingly oblivious to the delicate political situations of the volatile Reformation-era Tudor courts. Her machinations and shifting alliances with the Scottish and French kept Elizabeth I’s extensive spy network busy while endangering Catholic-leaning Margaret’s neck. Love caused Margaret great problems, as it did for so many Tudors, and led to her uncle passing a famously troublesome bill of attainder (a declaration of guilt and punishment without a trial) that she repeatedly violated. What’s perhaps of greatest interest, readers see from Margaret’s perspective the poignant story of her elder son, the infamous Lord Darnley, and his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots. Through considerable research and with great clarity, Weir reveals how the strong-willed Margaret encapsulated the best and worst of the ambitious Tudor dynasty—stubbornness, passion, tragedy, courage—while leading a fascinating life of her own, to the detriment of England’s well-being. Agent: Julian Alexander, Lucas Alexander Whitley (U.K.). (Jan.)