Book Review: Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen by Samantha Wilcoxson

Henry the Eighth is a colorful figure in English history, known for having had six wives, two of whom were executed, and for replacing Roman Catholicism with a Protestant religion, a process that was not without strife.
His father, Henry the Seventh is far less known by the general public, but he was a pivotal figure in English history, destroying the long ruling Plantagenet dynasty and founding the Tudor dynasty. Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen centers around his wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of King Edward the fourth.
Elizabeth, born in 1466 was the first daughter of Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville. Edward IV came to the throne in 1461 amidst the strife of the final years of the War of the Roses. He was deposed in 1470 but restored in 1471 after defeating the Lancastrian army. While he was away, his family took refuge in Westminster Abbey.
Edward IV died in 1483 when Elizabeth was seventeen. He had named his brother Richard regent and protector for his twelve year old son and heir, Edward. Elizabeth Woodward apparently did not trust Richard because she took the family and again entered sanctuary in the Abbey. Young Edward, and later his brother Richard, were taken to the Tower of London. They were never seen again.
The fate of the two princes in the tower is one of the great mysteries of history. Shakespeare blames Richard III for their murder. Of course, Shakespeare had to remain on the good side of his Tudor Queen, Elizabeth I, so he would not have questioned the official story. In recent years there has been a lot of revisionist thinking about this question, and some historians have sought to absolve Richard III, putting the blame on Henry VII or his mother Margaret or some other party.
Wilcoxson portrays Princess Elizabeth as having been fond of her Uncle Richard and not inclined to believe that he murdered her brothers. Her mother had arranged for her to be married to Henry Tudor, who was in exile in France. Elizabeth was not anxious to marry him. Henry Tudor had a somewhat dubious claim to the English throne. He was not a Plantagenet, but was descended from Catherine of Valois, the French princess who was married to Henry V, but married Owen Tudor after his death. His father, Edmund, Catherine and Owen Tudor’s son, was Earl of Richmond. His mother, Margaret Beaufort, was descended from Edward III.
With a dubious claim to the throne Henry Tudor was eager to make Elizabeth Plantagenet his Queen, and hopefully overcome Yorkist resistance to his rule. Wilcoxson portrays Elizabeth as falling in love with Henry despite her initial reluctance, and, indeed, they had a number of children during their marriage, including two sons, Arthur and Henry. Toward the end of her life Elizabeth becomes obsessed with finding the truth about what happened to her brothers, but the answer always seems to elude her. In the end she thinks she knows who the culprit is, but who really knows?
Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen is a fascinating look at a pivotal time in English history.

Comments

  1. Thank you for this lovely review! I’m glad that you enjoyed your time with my Elizabeth.

  2. Nice to hear from you, Samantha. Loved the book and look forward to reading more of your work.
    Robin

Speak Your Mind

*