So High a Blood: The Story of Margaret Douglas, the Tudor that Time Forgot

Written by Morgan Ring
Review by Audrey Braver

Margaret Douglas was Henry VIII’s niece. At age fifteen, he invited her to his Christmas court. She became a lady in waiting to Queen Katherine and a close companion of Princess Mary. Attractive, intelligent, witty, and popular, Margaret shared their strong Catholicism, but when expedient she practiced Protestantism. After a long courtship, she secretly married without Henry’s permission, an offense considered treasonous and punishable by beheading. Margaret was eventually forgiven and returned to court, where she developed a taste for politics and meddled in the sensitive relations between England and Scotland, where her half-brother, James V, was king. After James’s death, Margaret supported her niece, Mary, Queen of Scots, and promoted a marriage between Mary and her son, Lord Darnley, a situation which Elizabeth I considered a direct threat to her throne.

Ms. Ring, a Canadian who now lives and teaches in Cambridge, England, has written a scholarly and comprehensive biography of Margaret Douglas. She paints a picture of life in the Tudor court with a great deal of interesting detail. This is a must read for any Tudorphile.