Mastodon The Writing Desk: New Book review ~ Tudor Roses: From Margaret Beaufort to Elizabeth I, By Amy Licence

2 February 2022

New Book review ~ Tudor Roses: From Margaret Beaufort to Elizabeth I, By Amy Licence

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

At last, the story of the Tudors is told from a perspective that acknowledges the role of the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. The compelling picture which emerges is one of resilience in adversity.

Without exception, these women experienced often traumatic and harrowing treatment by the men in their lives. Arranged marriages, childbirth, and heart-breaking personal loss through high infant mortality would be enough, but they also battled against cultural, legal and religious barriers.

Queen Catherine of Aragon is one of the most extreme examples, yet even the treatment of Henry VIII’s sisters, Margaret and Mary, is too often overlooked. (I was appalled to see them ‘merged’ into one role in a TV ‘drama’, presumably to save money?) 

Amy Licence notes that, ‘The extent of our understanding is determined largely by the limited survival of records, which is itself an indicator of women’s roles.’ Worse still, past historians and biographers delighted in repeating myths consistent with the attitudes of their time.

This book goes some way towards redressing the balance, and one of the things I like about Amy’s writing is how she sprinkles every page with intriguing details, raising questions and making thought-provoking connections. Highly recommended.

Tony Riches 

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About the Author

Amy Licence is an historian of women's lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. She is also a fan of Modernism and Post-Impressionism, particularly Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Cubism. Amy has written for The Guardian, the BBC Website, The English Review, The London Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman and The Huffington Post. She is frequently interviewed for BBC radio and in a BBC documentary on The White Queen. You can follow Amy on twitter @PrufrocksPeach or like her facebook page In Bed With the Tudors. Her website is

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