This book continues Alison Weir’s examination of Tudor England by chronicling the lives of the four monarchs that immediately followed the reign of Henry VIII: Henry’s children Edward, Mary, Elizabeth, and his niece Jane Grey. Each of the Tudor heirs was born of a different mother and was thrust into a political and religious firestorm upon taking the throne. Edward, only nine years old at his father’s death, was manipulated by advisors and attempted to erase all signs of Catholic England. His early death resulted in a tug of war between the Protestant faction, which catapulted an unwilling Jane Grey onto the throne for nine days, and the Catholic faction, whose candidate, Mary, deposed Jane and retook the throne. Both her marriage to a Spanish prince and her crusade of fire to rid the realm of heretics ultimately turned “Bloody Mary’s” subjects against her. Mary’s futile attempts to bear a child late in life led to Elizabeth’s crowning five years later. Finally, under Elizabeth, the last Tudor monarch, England found an era of peace, prosperity, stability, and religious tolerance that lasted for over 40 years.
Meticulously researched and supported by excerpts written in the subjects’ own hands, all the monarchs, advisors, and contemporaries are given authentic voices. Although the book touches on all of Henry’s heirs, only Edward, Jane, and Mary receive thorough coverage; Elizabeth is given much less attention, and one must refer to Weir’s The Lady Elizabeth for an in depth view of that queen. This otherwise detailed account captures the upheaval experienced by the English throughout the tumultuous reign of the Tudors.
Amazon link for the book is here.