Tudor Survivor: The Life and Times of Courtier William Paulet

Written by Margaret Scard
Review by Anne Clinard Barnhill

In Tudor Survivor, Margaret Scard has provided a biography of one of the most consistently successful courtiers of the Tudor Court, Sir William Paulet, who managed to begin his service with Henry VIII and end upon his death in the service of Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth I. In this meticulous book, Scard gives an incredibly detailed account of Paulet’s many duties and responsibilities as he maneuvers through four changes of sovereigns. From Henrician Catholicism to the Protestantism of Edward VI, back to Rome with Mary I and then again to Protestantism with Elizabeth, Paulet kept his head while many others lost theirs. How he did so is the study of this book. Of himself, Paulet credits his longevity in the service of the Crown “by being a willow, not an oak.” However, Scard presents the case that the opposite is true: Paulet kept to his principles more as an oak. And his motto, Love Loyalty, would prove to be the words by which he lived. Well-researched and well-written, this book is a must for anyone interesting in the inner-workings of Tudor politics and success.