The first week of March, 2019, over 93 people showed up on a Thursday afternoon to listen to my two-hour lecture on the Marvelous Mistress Margaret, Countess of Lennox.
As pointed out in the lecture description, not many people, even Tudor fans, know exactly who she is and why she is an important piece of the Tudor dynasty. Given her relatively unknown status, as compared to Anne Boleyn for example, I was overwhelmed at the turnout.
I also promised to send along some additional information for those interested in pursuing the topic.
The best place to start would be Alison Weir’s book The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas. Weir does an excellent job at battling through the misconception that the archives do not include information on early-modern women. Although Ms. Weir and I don’t always agree, the book is a marvelous achievement and is accessible to the interested public.
Other books that may be of interest include Dulcie Ashdown’s Tudor Cousins: Rivals for the Throne and Rosalind Marshall’s Queen Mary’s Women: Female Friends, Family, Servants, and Enemies of Mary Queen of Scots.
The Devonshire Manuscript is held by the British Library. They have posted several images from this remarkable text online. There is also a fairly comprehensive Wiki project on the manuscript. Note that there is still much work to be done on this artifact and so opinions and analysis are not always in alignment. Regardless, the poetry is passionate and the reworking of medieval texts to present women in a positive light gives us a window into the intellectual atmosphere of the contributors at the heart of the Henrician court in the early 1530s.
Again - Thanks so much for coming to the lecture! I’m sure Margaret would have been flattered while at the same time thinking about how to turn the situation to her and her family’s advantage.
[Originally posted March 4, 2019]