The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE INDEPENDENT • From bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir comes the first biography of Margaret Douglas, the beautiful, cunning niece of Henry VIII of England who used her sharp intelligence and covert power to influence the succession after the death of Elizabeth I.
Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, her father an earl, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin, and grandmother of monarchs. Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was an important figure in Tudor England, yet today, while her contemporaries—Anne Boleyn, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I—have achieved celebrity status, she is largely forgotten.
Margaret’s life was steeped in intrigue, drama, and tragedy—from her auspicious birth in 1530 to her parents’ bitter divorce, from her ill-fated love affairs to her appointment as lady-in-waiting for four of Henry’s six wives. In an age when women were expected to stay out of the political arena, alluring and tempestuous Margaret helped orchestrate one of the most notorious marriages of the sixteenth century: that of her son Lord Darnley to Mary, Queen of Scots. Margaret defiantly warred with two queens—Mary, and Elizabeth of England—and was instrumental in securing the Stuart ascension to the throne of England for her grandson, James VI.
The life of Margaret Douglas spans five reigns and provides many missing links between the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. Drawing on decades of research and myriad original sources—including many of Margaret’s surviving letters—Alison Weir brings this captivating character out of the shadows and presents a strong, capable woman who operated effectively and fearlessly at the very highest levels of power.
Praise for The Lost Tudor Princess
“This is a substantial, detailed biography of a fascinating woman who lived her extraordinary life to the full, taking desperate chances for love and for ambition. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the powerful women of the Tudor period.”—Philippa Gregory, The Washington Post
“Tackling the family from an unexpected angle, Weir offers a blow-by-blow account of six decades of palace intrigue. . . . Weir balances historical data with emotional speculation to illuminate the ferocious dynastic ambitions and will to power that earned her subject a place in the spotlight.”—The New York Times Book Review
labor with the Queen of England for the relief of the Countess of Lennox and her son”30 and “for favor to be shown both to himself and to his mother.”31 Lennox signed the bond,32 thus becoming “art and part”—as the Scots called it—of a conspiracy to murder Rizzio. Silva was to inform King Philip: “A good Catholic here tells me that the plot for the murder of the secretary was ordered from here [England], and the Queen helped the conspiracy to the extent of 8,000 crowns [£347,780]. Others have
to the English during the Rough Wooing. He also faced opposition from the Marian party, who were appealing to Elizabeth to have the deposed Queen Mary restored and refused to acknowledge Lennox as regent. One of their leaders, Kirkcaldy of Grange, resolved to hold Edinburgh Castle on her behalf, and did so for three years. Maitland, whose house Lennox despoiled in the conviction that the former secretary had been instrumental in the murder of Darnley, stood staunchly beside Grange and Mary’s
her energies on securing her granddaughter’s inheritance and her own dower lands. She asked Thomas Randolph to lay Arbella’s case before the Regent Morton, arguing that, Mar having granted the earldom to Charles in 1572, it should now pass to Arbella by right of descent. Morton was obdurate, arguing that Arbella was too young to inherit the earldom, and that it must revert to King James until she was eighteen; in any case, since James had been a minor at the time the earldom had been conferred on
Edward Seymour, 2nd Earl of Hertford, by Katherine Grey. Married Honora Rogers. Thomas Seymour (1563–1619): younger son of Edward Seymour, 2nd Earl of Hertford, by Katherine Grey. William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1588–1660): son of Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, by Honora Rogers. Married Arbella Stuart (1575–1615), granddaughter of Margaret Douglas. Talbot and Cavendish George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury (1468–1538). Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury (1500–60). George
Dodsworths, Fothergills, Nesbits, Bells, Hungates, Blenkoes and a Thomasina Percy, among others. Simon Dodsworth was bailiff “long before” Margaret’s death. Thomas Fowler of Settringham was to play an important role in Margaret’s life, and served her for years, rising from clerk of the kitchen to become her secretary and later her treasurer, and he would remain faithful to her until she died.14 The Lennox estates were administered by stewards on the Earl and Countess’s behalf. In 1598, Robert