QAB Interview with the Delightful Alison Weir!!!!!!!!!!!

Alison Weir
Alison Weir

______________________________________ recently caught up with Great Britain’s most cherished history writer of both fact and fiction, the prolific author Alison Weir to discuss the recent release of her newest biography The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Margaret Douglas, as well as her exciting upcoming fiction series Six Tudor Queens, novels highlighting the lives of King Henry VIII’s six wives. As always, we greatly appreciate Alison’s ongoing support and friendship. Get yourself a nice goblet of wassail, glogg or spiked eggnog, and enjoy.

Congratulations to Jayne Smith of’s facebook group and @DawnCorleone, follower of @QueenAnneBoleyn on twitter. Your questions for Alison are included in the interview!


The Lost Tudor Princess

 1. Alison, congratulations upon the recent release of your biography The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Margaret Douglas. What fascinated you enough about Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox to write a book about her? Why do you think of he as a “lost princess”?

I’ve long been interested in Margaret Douglas, who generally merited only brief mentions in books on the Tudors. I did some research on her back in 1974, and used it as the basis of my biography, which came about after I realised that the Tudor dynasty was a well-ploughed field and that rescuing Margaret from obscurity could offer new insights on her and on the period. She was regarded or treated as a princess in her day, but that seems to have been forgotten. I think you can see where I got my title!


Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (Miniature, Artist Unknown)
Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox
(Miniature, Artist Unknown)

2. Are there any common misconceptions about the Countess of Lennox’s turbulent life that you identified in your research? If so, what are they?

There are a lot of minor misconceptions and factual errors, which have been repeated in many works. More major misconceptions relate to her relationship with Lord Thomas Howard and their subsequent imprisonment in the Tower of London.


quill ink book

3. Many people are surprised to learn that Lady Lennox was a fine poet. Can you tell QAB browsers about the Devonshire Manuscript and Margaret Douglas’ notable contributions?

There is so much I could say about this, but briefly this manuscript is a remarkable survival, doubly so because it was compiled or written by women, and my research on the poems has revealed some remarkable insights into Margaret’s character and her feelings for Thomas Howard. I’ve been able to link one important poem to later events, which puts it in a completely different context.


Possibly Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox Artist: William Scrots
Possibly Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox
Artist: William Scrots

4. Margaret Douglas certainly forged her own destiny and that of her loved ones as much as it was possible for a woman during the Tudor Era. Do you find the major life decisions of the Countess of Lennox related to her choice of love interests and her manipulations impacting Scottish and English religion and politics courageous, misguided, or perhaps a combination of both?

I would say that it was a combination of both. Certainly she had courage – although some might call it rashness. She never learned from bitter experience; she was driven by her ambitions, for herself and her sons. She herself claimed that her spells of imprisonment were not for treason but for ‘love matters’, but given her nearness in blood to the throne, and the fact that these love matters all contravened the Act of Parliament passed in the wake of the Thomas Howard scandal, that was a rather naive statement to make! And yet her desire to see England and Scotland united under Stuart rule – born years before it became a reality – was ultimately fulfilled, and it is her blood, not that of her rival, Elizabeth I, that has flowed in the veins of every British monarch since 1603.


Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (After Steven van der Meulen)
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
(After Steven van der Meulen)

5. I have been asked the following questions a few times by QAB facebook members and browsers, so I thought it would be fun to pass it on to you. A few days before the death of Lady Lennox, she enjoyed dinner with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. What are your thoughts? Was the poor woman poisoned? Or was this just the “story telling” of Roman Catholic reclusants?

They’ll have to read the book! I’ve laid out the evidence and my thoughts. I’m often asked this question at events, but I never answer it!


6. Jayne Smith, member of QAB’s facebook group, asks the following question: Margaret Douglas was an interesting and powerful lady. How much of an influence was she upon her son Lord Darnley?

She had a huge influence on Darnley – his father could do nothing with him. It was Margaret who shaped him, spoiled him and plotted for him.


Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (Artist Unknown)
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
(Artist Unknown)

7. If you could select one accomplishment of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox as being the most notable by her in English history, what would that be?

It was securing the marriage of her son, Lord Darnley, to Mary, Queen of Scots, which ensured the Stuart succession to the united kingdoms of England and Scotland.


Katherine of Aragon novel by Alsion Weir

8. was very excited to learn of your new upcoming series of novels highlighting “Six Tudor Queens”, each wife of King Henry VIII in turn. Your first novel in the series, Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen releases 5 May 2016 in the United Kingdom. Heavens Alison, that is a HUGE commitment for any writer. What drives you to write both non-fiction and historical fiction so prolifically?

I’m only able to do this series of novels within this timescale because I know the subjects well and am basing the books on decades of research – and exciting new research. What I can’t announce yet are the four non-fiction books that will be interspersed with the novels! Yes, I am busy!


Alison Weir with two of "The Six Tudor Queens"
Alison Weir with two of the “Six Tudor Queens”

9. I have to ask. This is after all. Can you give us any hints at all about your upcoming Anne Boleyn novel? Beyond the usual “players”, Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell, will any other historical figure step front and center as a major character?

There are some important threads of new research – and some credible speculation. I’ve followed a new line of research on Anne Boleyn’s ‘lost’ years in France, and come up with something startling, and I’ve spun a tale based on a local tradition. I have new angles on Henry VIII’s love letters, on Anne’s feelings for Henry, and on her daughter Elizabeth. I’m also looking at the implications of Anne’s last confession. So far it’s unlike any novel I’ve read on Anne Boleyn – I’ve been led down paths I never expected to tread.


Mary Queen of Scots (Artist: François Clouet)
Mary Queen of Scots
(Artist: François Clouet)

10. @DawnCorleone, twitter follower of Queen Anne Boleyn, has the following question: What subject (person or situation) has been the most challenging for you to write about?

Mary, Queen of Scots, and the murder of Lord Darnley – the most challenging book I’ve ever had to write! A cast of hundreds and reams of conflicting evidence.


Alison Weir
Alison Weir

11. Alison Weir Tours is at it again! I am told your King Richard III Tour set for April 2016 is already sold out, and plans for 2017 include a “Tudor Tour”. How exciting is that??? Is the itinerary for the Tudor Tour set? What exciting historical sites and events are included?

We are planning a Tudor tour for 2017, but I haven’t finalised the itinerary yet. I’ve been too busy!

QAB Editor Note: Alison Weir Tours are extremely popular and fill quickly. If you are interested in joining the 2017 Tudor Tour, you can request to be placed on a wait list for priority booking by emailing When the tour is announced, places will be filled first to those on the waiting list on a “first-come, first-served” basis. For more more information about Alison Weir Tours, visit the Alison Weir Tours official website.


12. Do you have any additional exciting news that you want to share with QAB members and browsers?

Watch for new announcements about the Six Tudor Queens series. More than that I cannot say!


alison weir flowers (550x534)

Alison Weir is the United Kingdom’s most popular and best selling female historian. Alison’s first published work, Britain’s Royal Families, introduced the world to the now recognized genre of  “popular history”, and her sales tell the story. Readers purchased more than 2.3 million books, over 1,000,000 in the United Kingdom, and more than 1,300,000 books in the United States. Rich in detailed research, Alison’s engaging prose captured the interest and imaginations of countless people, instilling a love of history that influenced the career paths of historical fiction writers, historians and teachers, while also greatly increasing knowledge of medieval and early modern English and Welsh history among people throughout the world. For more information on Alison Weir, visit her website at the Official Website of the British Author and Historian Alison Weir.








Coming to QAB in 2016!!

Alison Weir, Author Highlight

Six Tudor Queens!

The Six Tudor Queens


Beth von Staats

is the owner and administrator of Blogger of "The Tudor Thomases", Beth specializes in writing magazine articles, online historical articles, short stories, and flash fiction.

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