Three Sisters, Three Queens opens on the eleven-year-old Princess Margaret, who, while spoiled and materialistic, is a product of her environment. What did you think of the choice to open the novel at this stage of Margaret’s life? What did you think of Margaret? Does it matter if we, the reader, like her?
I think it was a conscious choice to show her development through the most traumatic events of her life – the loss of her brother, mother, marriage to the Scots king, and the death of her father and husband.
I don’t really like Margaret in this novel – I knew the bare bones of her story but no more, and this doesn’t make me want to read more.
Margaret is spoiled all the way through and I don’t think her losses really change her as she continues to just go after what she wants.
I don’t think it particularly matters whether we like Margaret or not, as it is about her story and not so much about the character.
Discuss the title of the novel in relation to the characters. Margaret, Katherine, and Mary must navigate their political relationships in addition to their familial relationships. Do you think they would have had stronger bonds with one another without their political responsibility? In what ways did it bring them closer together?
Margaret and Mary are sisters by blood and Katherine by marriage so in a sense Katherine is put on the back foot from the beginning.
Margaret is isolated from the other two in Scotland while Katherine and Mary are in London.
I think they would have had stronger bonds without the politics because Margaret wouldn’t have been sent to Scotland if there wasn’t a need for a political alliance, or Katherine to England, and Flodden wouldn’t have soured relations.
Politics brought them together because Katherine and Margaret both lost their husbands, though in different ways.
All three enjoyed happy marriages – Margaret to James IV, Katherine to Henry VIII (until it turned sour), and Mary to Charles Brandon.
Henry VII was the son of Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, and he died in 1509. He was raised largely by his uncle, Jasper Tudor, his mother having not been allowed to raise him. He won the English crown at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. He killed Richard III in the battle and began the Tudor dynasty. He united the warring Houses of York and Lancaster by marrying Elizabeth of York, ending the Wars of the Roses.
Elizabeth of York was the daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. There were rumours that she had indulged in an affair with her uncle, Richard III before his death. She died in childbed in 1503 and the child died. She had spent some of her childhood in sanctuary and many historians now believe that her brothers – the Princes in the Tower – were murdered. Continue reading “A Potted History of the Tudor Dynasty: the Royal Family”