Tudor Versus Stuarts: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots

Written by Linda Porter
Review by Elena Maria Vidal

Linda Porter’s new tour de force covers ground left out of most histories of the Tudor period while not constantly rehashing well-known information. Tudors Versus Stewarts, published in the UK as Crown of Thistles, gives an in-depth look at the turbulent Stewart dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries, and how the fluctuations of power in England influenced the Stewarts and the people of Scotland.

I learned a great deal more about the monarchs of Scotland, their dealings with the Reformation and with the Tudors, all of which build a stage for the tragic destiny of Mary Queen of Scots. The reign of Mary Stewart is placed in a fresh context in which to discover her anew. After spending time with Mary’s grandparents and great-grandparents I feel that I am finally becoming acquainted with her. One is also treated to the doings of the French court and the Empire, and Henry VIII’s endless connivances. If it was not already clear, it is now abundantly so, that having a male heir was the obsession of every monarch in Europe, to which the love of women was secondary. Porter’s research is seemingly inexhaustible for presenting intriguing new facts, along with a storyteller’s gift for a heartrending tale.