Sarah's Reviews > Tudor Queens of England

Tudor Queens of England by David Loades
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Mar 24, 2012

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David Loades’ book is a fascinating look at fourteen women from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who one way or another played a role in the British Monarchy. The book looks at famous women of the period such as Catherine de Valois, Margaret of Anjoy, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Mary I and Elizabeth I as well as many others.

I was quite fascinated with Loades’ book as although I have read quite a lot about the wives of Henry VIII I have read very little about the women whom came before Henry VIII. Through Loades’ book I was introduced to such interesting and captivating women such as Catherine de Valois, a Queen Dowager who dared to marry beneath her status and through her generations of Tudor monarchs stated their claimed to the throne. And women such as Margaret of Anjou who fought, right or wrong, what she believed to be the rights of her son and heir to the English throne.

It was fascinating to look at such strong and determined women who in one way or another followed their hearts and did what they thought to be best for themselves and their children. Often when one reflects upon Queen Consorts of the medieval and renaissance period one thinks of meek and demure women; women who know their role and their place by their husbands side. Women who do not speak out and take what is given to them, often turning a blind eye to their husband’s affairs. But this is just one image of the Queen Consort. Another is of determination, strength and love, the will to fight for what they belied in and to follow their heart. Never more was this so evident in the life of Anne Boleyn, a woman of noble birth, a lady in waiting to the Queen, who would rise to take the crown for herself. Loades does a wonderful job of giving a brief outline of the lives of these interesting and determined women and giving a brief look at why each woman made the actions and decisions they did.

Loades also looks at women such as Elizabeth of York and Jane Seymour, Queens who followed the more traditional role of Queen Consort. Women who sadly there is not a great deal known about their lives but are just as fascinating.

Unfortunately, once again, Loades makes several mistakes with the dates that he gives within the book. For example he states that Mary Boleyn was married to William Carey in 1521. This date is incorrect as records from the time tell us that Mary Boleyn and William Carey were in fact married on the 4th February 1520. Loades also states that Anne Boleyn was beheaded upon Tower Hill on 18th Mary 1536. Once again this is incorrect and we know that Anne Boleyn was beheaded at around 8 – 9am on the morning of May 19th on a scaffold within the walls of the Tower of London. I do find these misgiven dates rather frustrating as dates such as Anne Boleyn’s execution are well known and well written about by other historians and more so stated in primary sources. Why Loades got these dates incorrect and continues to get important dates incorrect does baffle me.

Despite the incorrect dates I did find this book extremely interesting. Through reading Loades’ book I was able to gain an insight into the lives of women that I had previously not read about such as Catherine de Valois and Margaret of Anjou. Although only one chapter was dedicated to each of these women, I felt Loades did a wonderful job of summarising their lives, giving the important details and events and painting a picture of the types of women they were. From this I feel the reader then has the opportunity to explore and research further into the lives of these women, or any of the other women mentioned within the book.

Certainly I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Tudor history and more so to anyone who is interested in strong and fascinating women who played a part in English history.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Sarah u The date errors in this book drove me mad!


Sarah I noticed quite a few. Do not understand why Loades does this!


Sarah u No, neither do I. As you said above, the dates are well documented. It's so irritating!
Having said that, Loades' analysis of sources is very good.


Sarah I do quite like Loades as an Author, but this one fault is quite irritating!


Kgwhitehurst It strikes me you have failed to correct from the Julian calendar the Tudors used to the Gregorian calendar we use. (England didn't adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752, considering it Papist.) Also, have you corrected the New Year to Jan 1 and not March 25 (Lady Day)? Both corrections are standard historical practice; there is usually a note to this effect at the beginning of the book. Of course, you could remember that the records aren't always correct--which is why you have to use multiple sources, also standard historical practice.


Sarah u I've sold my copy of this book now so I can't check other dates, but I do remember Loades stating in this book that Anne and her co-accused were all executed on May 18th, 1536. That is not a case of confusing the two calendars, that is a date error made by the author. I can't speak for the other Sarah, of course, but this is what I meant when I said the date errors drove me mad.


message 7: by Kgwhitehurst (last edited Jun 05, 2014 08:46AM) (new) - added it

Kgwhitehurst She was executed on 19 May; Henry was betrothed to Jane Seymour on 20 May. These are all copyediting errors, however maddening. Fundamental error, which will make me throw the book across the room, looks like this--even the suggestion Henry VIII was a Protestant (No), that Stephen Gardiner's theology was really modern Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism (not in a million years) or that Gardiner didn't know Robert Barnes (wrong, Gardiner was Barnes's tutor at university), that Barnes would;t answer back in sermon, or that the response would send Barnes to the stake. (Read Glyn Redworth for the Gardiner errors.)

Of course, in one of my favorite errors, Stephen Gardiner was made Archbishop of Canterbury--a joke b/c Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury, the first Protestant one, while his nemesis, Gardiner, was Bishop of Winchester and one of the principal defenders of Catholicism during Henry VIII's reign. He was also pissed off & jealous b/c he didn't get the see of Canterbury.

What should annoy you more (it certainly does me) is that Loades can't be arsed to get a copyeditor since the publisher is likely too skinflint to pay one. Also, is he so arrogant that he can't be arsed to look it up? The answer to that question lies in his generation, which always had assistants and copy editors to take care of these matters. Well, they don't exist anymore. Get over yourself, professor, because you've got to do it yourself now or pay one yourself now. The latter is better b/c after 10 times through a manuscript, it'll look like Cyrillic; the author is protecting what s/he thinks onto the page, whether or not it's actually there.


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