After the Wars of the Roses came the House of Tudor - but the
squabbling went on. Seldom has there been a more fractious ruling
family in English history. The fact that theirs also became one of
the most successful dynasties, creating the beginnings of an
empire, makes the story even more remarkable. In a style that
combines serious history and soap opera, Alison Plowden focuses on
characters rather than events, showing how the fiery temperament of
the Tudors got the family into many a scrape and how, against the
odds, they generally came out smelling of red roses. Unlike most
great royal houses, the Tudor dynasty began in a humble way. The
family came from Welsh farming stock, and were nobodies until
Henry's grandfather Owen managed to secretly marry Katherine de
Valois, widow of Henry V. It was largely due to this Welsh
ancestry, along with his impeccable Lancastrian connections, that
Henry Tudor was able to rally enough support to seize the throne
from Richard III. When Henry defeated Richard at Bosworth, and so
became Henry VII, many English people had never heard of him. But
Henry went on to found a dynasty that ruled England for just over a
century. Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I all followed
him to varying degrees of notoriety. First published in 1976,
Plowden's book tells us much about the eccentric Tudor mindset that
created greatness despite splitting father from son and sister from
sister. The schism between Protestantism and Catholicism confused
not only the nation (one day it was essential to be Protestant,
next day Protestants were burned at the stake) but also meant much
bloodletting among the Tudors. Heads rolled all over the place, and
noble families were forced to switch allegiances depending on which
of the Tudors looked most likely to outwit the others on any given
day. A fascinating period of history ruled over by a series of
brilliant but bizarre monarchs, and written about with flair.
The House of Tudor changed the history of Britain forever. The
Tudor monarchs have been immortalised in novels and films for
generations. However, the true history of this incredible dynasty
is often romanticised and fact is overlooked. Alison Plowden's
accessible and beautifully written history traces the family's
turbulent reign of power from Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch,
who fathered the great Henry VIII. Henry VIII went onto
revolutionise England's armed forces and implement controversial
reforms in England. Yet, he is perhaps most remembered for his
tumultuous love life and the fates of his six wives, including Anne
of Boleyn, who sparked an international crisis. He fathered four
known offspring, including Mary I and Gloriana - Elizabeth I, the
Virgin Queen, who reigned for 44 years in what is known as
England's Golden Age. This book not only re-tells the familiar
stories of these famous monarchs, revealing the truth behind the
scandals; but it also recounts the history of the less well-known
Tudor monarchs: Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey (the uncrowned Queen of
England), and those who came directly before and after them -
Edward IV and James I. If you read on history of the Tudors, make
it this one - you are sure to be enthralled and surprised by how
the facts are often more incredible than the fiction surrounding
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