I must admit I was a little disappointed with this one. I read all of the Tudor Court series while I was on holiday last week and I was surprised at how interesting and captivating I found them. But what I loved most about the earlier ones is that Philippa took a woman who was perceived in history as to be nothing better than the wife of a king and then turned her into a powerful feminist image. Except for Catherine Howard who was just an idiot.
Anyway, this one focuses on three queens (as the title suggests) but mainly of Queen Margaret of Scotland, sister to Henry VIII. The other two are Katherine of Aragon Queen of England and Queen Mary of France the other sister of Henry VIII. The whole of the novel is told from the point of view of Margaret. In one sense it’s a very interesting read. Margaret is not a hugely famous figure in history, overshadowed of course by her brother Henry. So from a historical point of view it was an eye opener.
So what spoilt it? What made it different from the others? Frankly Margaret was a spoilt brat. While Katherine and Mary developed a loving friendship, all Margaret cared about was competing with them. She had to be higher in the ranks that Mary. She couldn’t follow Katherine’s train. There was no way they should have better fashion, better children, better husbands, better anything than her. She just acted like a spoilt brat the whole time. This unfortunate character trait made her very unlikeable and therefore, I found it impossible to empathise with her when things went wrong.
I understand the need to tell Margaret’s story but I think personally it could have worked better as a stand alone novel and not part of the Tudor series. Mary’s part was very insignificant and barely touched upon other than a lot of letters she wrote to Margaret about clothes. As for Katherine everything we learned about her was what we already knew from The Constant Princess.