Tudor Women : Queens & Commoners, Paperback

Tudor Women : Queens & Commoners Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Tudor era belongs to its women. No other period of English History has produced so many notable and interesting women, and into other period have they so powerfully influenced the course of political events.

Mary Tudor, Elizabeth 1 and, at moments of high drama, Mary Queen of Scots dominated the political scene for more than half a century, while in the previous fifty years Henry VIII's marital escapades brought six more women to the centre of attention.

In this book the women of the royal family are the central characters; the royal women set the style and between them they provide a dazzling variety of personalities as well as illustrating almost every aspect of life as it affected women in Tudor England.

We know what they ate, how they dressed, the books they read and the letters they wrote.

Even the greatest of them suffered the universal legal and physiological disabilities of womanhood - some survived them, some went under. Now revised and updated, Alison Plowden's beautifully written account of the women behind the scenes and at the forefront of sixteenth-century English history will be welcomed by anyone interested in exploring this popular period of history from the point of view of the women who made it.




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This book is a brief biography of some of the important women in the Tudor period, such as Elizabeth Woodville, Henry VIII’s wives, Lady Jane Grey, Mary and Elizabeth. It also talks about marriage, education and attitudes towards women. I felt that the title was a little misleading as there wasn’t much coverage of ‘commoners’ as the title suggested; the life of Elizabethan women is given a brief overview in an epilogue at the end (it’s not even a numbered chapter). While this is a good introductory book to significant women of the period, I didn’t feel that it told me anything new (but then, I am a history student and the Tudors are one of my favourite periods to study, so perhaps that’s why). It wasn’t particularly indepth, but is a quick read, making a good starting point for those wishing to know more about the women of this period. While a lot of it is speculation (we can’t know for sure how they felt) the author does portray them all in a sympathetic light and it seemed reasonably historically accurate with lots of quotes from contemporary sources, and, after all, a lot of the situations women faced in the 1400 and 1500s are much the same as women do now – I’m sure many can relate to Catherine of Aragon seeing her husband being ‘taken’ from her by a younger, ‘newer’ model (Anne Boleyn), and Mary’s resentment of Henry’s treatment of her mother during this time.

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