The Last Tudor – Survival Means Keeping Your Head
‘How long do you have?’ I force a laugh.
‘Not long,’ he says very quietly. ‘They have confirmed your sentence of death. I am so sorry. You are to be beheaded tomorrow. We don’t have long at all.’
The Last Tudor
The young and sickly King Edward VI is dead and he has denied his cousins who are circling like vultures for the throne and declared young Jane Grey, Henry VII’s great granddaughter his successor. Her tragic reign famously only last 9 days and at she is beheaded on the unforgiving scaffold at the Tower Of London at just 17 years old.
She leaves a letter for her younger sister Katherine with the famous line ‘Learn you to die’. However, Katherine refuses to learn how to die, the opposite, in fact. She will live in splendour, marrying a rich and handsome husband, bearing many children and wearing gowns of the finest cloth. She will not live like Jane and go to the scaffold because of her god. What does it matter if she has to sit in mass, and learn a little Latin? A small price to pay to keep alive and out of prison. Jane chose God, but Katherine will choose love!
Mary is the youngest of the three Grey sisters and at only 4ft tall is strong willed and listens to all that happens around her. She too is convinced of love and a happy ending, whether it be within the royal court, or with a commoner. Will the two surviving sisters be able to navigate the scandal and politics of the royal court, and stay out of the firing line of the smart yet callous virgin queen?
What Did I Think Of The Last Tudor?
I am the BIGGEST fan of Tudor history and have had a passion for it ever since my school days. Henry VIII and his unlucky wives, the scandal, the whispers, and the dalliances behind gated castles and grand ballrooms. It is maybe one of the most romanticised eras of British history but I adore it just the same. I haven’t read any of Phillipa Gregory’s other historical fiction books, but I have watched The Other Boylen Girl which was turned into a movie and even though it doesn’t quite hit the mark with historical accuracy, it’s an enjoyable film, although I’m not sure Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansen would ever be sisters in real life! That aside it is clear that Gregory has a passion for this period in history and a talent for creating passion, tragedy, and intrigue at a royal Tudor court.
The Last Tudor was a book I found hard to put down. Poor stubborn Katherine demonstrated piousness and gullibility when it came to her few days on the throne, and her sisters also made some silly mistakes. I do not know what it was really like in Elizabethan times, but, I know enough to know that to keep my head, I would do what was necessary to tow the line. The mistakes of the Grey girls though speaks to their sheltered, privileged lives and their youth. I loved each one of them differently as characters and was sucked into court life. To eaves drop on the secret conversations between Elizabeth and Dudley, to play favourites with nobleman vying for a hand in marriage and a step nearer the throne. To walk around the grand palaces of Hampton Court and Windsor, and to feel cold, cramped, and scared in the infamous Tower of London was a thrill and a read which sparked my imagination.
It may not be a factual book about the lives of these three girls, but if it’s exciting, well written, and keeps the spirit and interest for the Tudors alive in 2017 then I’m all for it!
4.5 out of 5 from me
For those who have read and loved Alison Weir
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