Three Sisters, Three Queens
“What is the point of love if it does not make us kind? What is the point of being sisters if we do not guard each other?” Told from the point of view of Margaret Tudor, the spoiled and self-absorbed oldest daughter of Henry VII, Three Sisters, Three Queens is an intimate look at the life of the women closest to the man who would eventually be the infamous King Henry VII. It is through her eyes that we see her younger sister, Mary Tudor, later queen of France, and Katherine of Aragon, widow of the Prince of Wales, Arthur, and later Henry VIII’s queen.
Because of the lack of biographical material concerning Margaret, Philippa Gregory uses the genre of historical fiction to enhance those few sources we do possess. She develops the character of the Queen of Scotland by detailing her reactions to events as the kings of England use the women under their control to make political matches regardless of the personal cost to them. This novel is less about the life of three queens and more about the relationship of three sisters. As Mary observes above, their lives are made more unbearable because, instead of protecting one another, they have instead reveled in each other’s misfortunes and tragedies. Gregory has given us yet another wonderful window into the lives of Tudor women, one which helps us feel a tangible connection to, and perhaps a deeper understanding of, a historically shadowy Margaret Tudor.