Margaret of York
The Diabolical Duchess
- Christine Weightman
15th June 2009
The amazing life of Margaret of York, the woman who tried to overthrow the Tudors.
The amazing life of Margaret of York, the woman who tried to overthrow the Tudors. Reared in a dangerous and unpredictable world Margaret of York, sister of Richard III, would become the standard bearer of the House of York and 'The menace of the Tudors'. This alluring and resourceful woman was Henry VII's 'diabolical duchess'. Safe across the Channel in modern-day Belgium and supported by the Emperor she sent Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck with thousands of troops to England to avenge the destruction of her brother and of the House of York. Both rebellions shook the new Tudor dynasty to the core. As the duchess and wife of the wealthiest ruler in Western Europe, Margaret was at the centre of a glittering court and became the patron of William Caxton. It was at her command that he printed the first book in English. Her marriage to Charles, the dour, war-mad Duke of Burgundy, had been the talk of Europe. John Paston, who was among the awe struck guests, reported in the famous Paston Letters that there had been nothing like it since King Arthur' court. Yet within a decade Charles was dead, his corpse frozen on the battlefield and within another decade her own family had been destroyed in England. Childless and in a foreign land Margaret showed the same energetic and cautious spirit as her great-grand-niece Elizabeth I, surviving riots, rebellions and plots. In spite of all her efforts, the Tudors were still on the throne but Margaret, unlike the Yorkist kings, was a great survivor.