The Red Queen

by Philippa Gregory

Read time: about 3 minutes

Margaret Beaufort is an important figure when it comes to the history of Tudors. The weight of reinstalling the Lancaster crown in the king’s seat comes into her small shoulders. A woman of a great resolve and sole vision to see her son as the king of England drives her slaying all the others on the way.

This book by Philippa Gregory explores the queen mother as she might have been. A mix of history and some imagination results in this book.

Cover page

The cover page follows the tradition of historical fictions of this sort. On the cover is the picture of Margaret Beaufort herself in her royal attire. The font matching the glitter of the court. It is a stunning cover, easily identifiable on the shelf. It is also a trademark style of Philippa Gregory novels. A collector would know.

The cover is interesting but there is nothing extraordinary about it.


It is a character-centric novel about Margaret Beaufort. Margaret is a woman obsessed with the royal throne. She believes herself to be like Joan of Arc who would lead the realm to light by placing her own son on the throne of England. Margaret Beaufort gives up all the vanity, for she is God’s child.

Throughout the book, she is portrayed as the negative character. She bears a lot of anger and disgust for the white queen and others who do not support her cause.

The entire persona as described by the author is uni-dimensional. Margaret Beaufort is an uninteresting character to read about in the book. Gregory fails to draw attention to her in the book, epically.


The book begins with the marriage of Margaret Beaufort and subsequent birth of Henry VII after multiple sessions of marital rape and insults. Margaret Beaufort has a difficult childbirth. After losing the throne of England to King Edward she somehow knows that it is her son who is destined to sit on the throne of England.

Throughout the book, Margaret Beaufort is planning and plotting to install her own son on the throne of England. Each of her action displays her ardent obsession, making her the villain of her own story.

The book consists of repetitive paragraphs. The obsession of Margaret Beaufort is annoying. The plot is close to the history but not entirely. After reading the book on Margaret Beaufort i only wish to read more about her and her part in Henry VII’s the accession to the throne.


It is a fast paced story. The narration is little annoying at times. The singular dimension of the story told from one side hardly quenches the thirst. Vanity is portrayed well.

Good points

It’s a fast-paced book, quite close to the history. The cover page is a great composition.

Bad points

The characters are uni-dimensional. Certain portions feel repetitive. The narration is dis-interesting. A much better job could have been done with the content.


The book does not quite live up to the hype of the author in the historical fiction genre. I am frankly disappointed with the first book that I read by the author.

Whom do I recommend this to

This book is for all those who are interested in the Tudor Dynasty of England.

Quotable Quotes

I have to say I am much less impressed by crucifixion now that I am in childbirth. It is really not possible that anything could hurt more than this.

A parcel, taken from one place to another, handed to one owner to another, unwrapped and bundled up at will is all that I am.

A woman of sense would always only marry for the improvement of her family. Only a lustful fool dreams every night of marriage of love.

My life comes down to this: a court which has forgotten me, a husband who mocks me, a son who has no use for me, and a Gd who has gone silent.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH