The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas

Ballantine. Jan. 2016. 576p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780345521392. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780345521415. BIOG
OrangeReviewStarBest-selling author Weir's (Elizabeth of York; The Lady in the Tower; Mistress of the Monarchy) latest book fills a void in her previous nonfiction on the Tudors, focusing on Margaret Douglas (1515–78), who is best known as the mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the unfortunate first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. This excellent account is meticulously researched and solidly based on evidence found in surviving primary sources. Weir pays particular attention to documents that, at first glance, seem of small interest, such as a handwritten poetry collection and wardrobe records. Through close readings, occasionally line by line, the author demonstrates that these documents indicate more than a cursory examination would reveal. Her use of extended quotations from letters and poems written by the main figures in the Douglas story—Margaret Douglas; her husband Matthew Stewart, Fourth Earl of Lennox; and Queen Elizabeth I—can become a little wearing; however, they allow the historical figure rather than the historian to have center stage in the narrative.
VERDICT This is a strong entry into the field of Tudor history. Historians will be interested in the light cast on an understudied figure of the era; general readers will find another excellent addition to Weir's previous Tudor works.
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