The Tudors are a national obsession. From TV bodice-rippers to Booker-prize winning novels and scholarly journals, they are our favourite family in history.
Their story is packed with famous and thrilling tales: Henry VIII and his wives,Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, the Princes in the Tower, the Armada. But, as Leanda de Lisle shows in this exciting new history, if we look beyond these familiar headlines, much that is new and surprising is revealed.
The Tudor canon starts with Bosworth in 1485 and really gets going with Henry VIII and the Reformation. But this leaves out the obscure Welsh origins of Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur, the man who would become known simply as 'Owen Tudor' and fall (literally) into the lap of Katherine de Valois, widow of Henry V.It leaves out the courage of Margaret Beaufort, the forgotten pregnant thirteen-year-old girl who through her son Henry VII went on to found and shape the Tudor dynasty. It casts Elizabeth as the paradigm of power, and misses the effects of Mary's influence as they were growing up.
Over and above everything else, the Tudors' is a family story. A family struggling at every turn to establish their right to the throne. A family dominated by remarkable women doing everything possible to secure influence and the family line. What emerges here is a story like no other, packed with all the headlines we know and love, but which also brings to life in a completely new - and very human way - this extraordinary family and their times.