Friday, October 4, 2013

Blaming the Mother

The real Margaret Beaufort. Author Leanda de Lisle writes:
Margaret had become immensely powerful after Henry was crowned and powerful women are still judged unsympathetic. There also remains a visceral anti-Catholicism in England that has been reinforced by modern fears of Islamism. In The White Queen Margaret is depicted as a fanatic, ever invoking God. Yet the strict religious devotions of Margaret Beaufort's old age were commonplace among noblewomen of her time. They marked an effort to look beyond the ruthless political culture into which they had been born, to understand Christ's example of love.

Portraying Margaret as a religious nutcase shows an arrogant blindness to the culture of our past. That is worrying in a shrinking world when we need to be able to understand other viewpoints, other beliefs.

This summer, in which we have celebrated the birth of a future king to Kate and William, we should remember with a little more generosity the 13-year-old Margaret Beaufort who bore Henry Tudor. Here was a girl who took control of her destiny, who saved her son from exile and danger and who helped found the Tudor dynasty.

Not a villainess at all but a survivor and a heroine. (Read more.)
More about Margaret, HERE. Share


Celia said...

I recently voted in an online poll (can't remember whose)on who killed the Princes. Not entirely to my surprise, Margaret was the front runner, several points ahead of uncle Richard. This is undoubtedly down to the Philippa Gregory effect, the TV series of course, but also her novel 'The Red Queen'. PG tends to have her cake and eat it: claims to undertake research (she does read up secondary sources thoroughly) and talks grandly of 'we historians', but also claims the poetic licence allowed to authors of fiction. So, without a shred of evidence as opposed to supposition, she persuades a gullible and poorly educated readership that Margaret was a murderess.
The religious angle is also significant: present-day historical novelists are quite unable to understand medieval Christian piety,so women become either fanatics as Margaret does in 'The Red Queen' or, if they're heroines, indulge in a little New Age witchcraft.
What particularly amused me about PG's take on Margaret was that although she claims to be keen to illuminate the lives of strong, independent women from the past, when she does have to deal with one she clearly dislikes her!

elena maria vidal said...

Celia, I agree. Anyone who gets their history from P.Gregory novels is pathetic but unfortunately many people do. There is no evidence to indicate that Margaret Beaufort would have undertaken such a monstrous crime.

Dymphna said...

Actually after watching The White Queen I was struck by what a magnificent woman Margaret must have been. Quite by accident, I think, the series makes her the heroine, not Elizabeth.

elena maria vidal said...

I thought so, too, Dymphna, until I heard that she is shown murdering Elizabeth's sons, which is a terrible calumny for a good and brave woman.

Dymphna said...

Ah, the save or slaughter scene. I hated that. It was completely wrong, and completely out of character. It was as bad as the Tudors show turning George Boelyn into a homosexual.