The struggle between the fecund Stewarts and the barren Tudors is generally seen only in terms of the relationship between Elizabeth I and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. But very little has been said about the background to their intense rivalry.
Here, Linda Porter examines the ancient and intractable power struggle between England and Scotland, a struggle intensified during the reigns of Elizabeth and Mary's grandfathers. Henry VII aimed to provide stability when he married his daughter, Margaret, to James IV of Scotland in 1503.
But he must also have known that Margaret's descendants might seek to rule the entire island. Crown of Thistles is the story of a divided family, of flamboyant kings and queens, cultured courts and tribal hatreds, blood feuds, rape and sexual licence on a breath-taking scale, and violent deaths.
It also brings alive a neglected aspect of British history - the blood-spattered steps of two small countries on the fringes of Europe towards an awkward unity that would ultimately forge a great nation.
Beginning with the unlikely and dramatic victories of two usurping kings, one a rank outsider and the other a fourteen-year-old boy who rebelled against his own father, the book sheds new light on Henry VIII, his daughter, Elizabeth, and on his great-niece, Mary Queen of Scots, still seductive more than 400 years after her death.
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About the Author
Linda Porter is an historian and author. She was born in Exeter, brought up in Kent and has a D.Phil in History from the University of York. Linda has lived in Paris and New York, where she was a History lecturer at various universities, including Fordham and the City University of New York. On returning to the UK she changed careers and spent over twenty years working for British Telecom, many of them involved with developing the company’s corporate image in expanding international markets. Disillusionment with the corporate world and a yearning to get back to historical research prompted her to leave BT in the early 2000s. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed books, Mary Tudor: The First Queen, (2007), Katherine the Queen: the remarkable life of Katherine Parr, (2010) and Crown of Thistles: the fatal inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots (2013). Her latest book, Royal Renegades: the children of Charles I and the English Civil Wars, will be published in October, 2016. She is a regular speaker at stately homes and literary festivals throughout the country and has appeared on television and radio. Linda is currently acting as historical consultant for a major new BBC series on the Six Wives of Henry VIII and is doing research for her next book, on the marriage of John and Sarah Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, which will finally take her back to her favourite period, the 18th century. She is married with one daughter and lives in Kent. Find out more at Linda's website www.lindaporter.net.