Friday, 16 August 2013

Superb article by Leanda de Lisle

I've been on holiday the last few weeks and have once again neglected this blog.  I've been stung into action today after reading a superb article by Leanda de Lisle in today's Daily Express newspaper.  I read de Lisle's book on Lady Jane Grey, which dealt with many of the myths that grew up surrounding Jane's short life, which I'd highly recommend.  I'm looking forward to her new book 'Tudor: The Family Story'. The article concerns the portrayal of Margaret Beaufort in the BBC's 'historical drama' (hmmm) 'The White Queen', which has certainly made me very angry.  Leanda de Lisle encapsulates exactly how I feel and has written fantastic article in defence of Margaret and the prejudices she has faced over the centuries.  Here's part of the article -

Don't always blame the mothers

WITH the kitsch BBC drama The White Queen moving to its conclusion Margaret Beaufort is the villainess viewers love to hate.

A frigid fanatic in high necklines she is the ultimate tiger mother. A woman willing even to commit child murder as she plots her son Henry Tudor's path to the throne.
But this is a depiction shaped by centuries of sexual and religious bigotry and by our still ambivalent attitudes to powerful women.

Female historians and novelists may claim a sisterly empathy for historical women but all too many of them are willing to plunder misogynistic myths to write their lives. And Margaret Beaufort is not their only victim.

In the Tudor period and for centuries afterwards it was considered wrong and unnatural for women to wield power. It followed that the kind of woman who sought power was also unnatural - so how to depict them? Well what could be more unnatural, more against a woman's proper nature than the abuse of children?

It seems no coincidence that Margaret Beaufort stands accused of planning the deaths of the White Queen's young sons, the so-called princes in the Tower, to clear the path for Henry Tudor to be king. The irony is that the real Margaret Beaufort was what we would consider to be an abused child. She was married at 12 and was so small and slight that her son's birth when she was 13 nearly killed her. She was unable to have further children and for the next 25 years Margaret was a pawn and victim of vicious power politics.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking on the following link -

Don't always blame the mothers....


Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Anerje, it was enough for me to watch the first episode of the White Queen... The series must have outraged both the Lancastrians and the Yorksists... unexpectedly united after so many centuries :-)

But seriously, I do hate historical inaccuracies in both novels and TV productions.

Kathryn Warner said...

That's a great article, which I enjoyed reading a lot. I've been so hacked with The White Queen. It's not only really bad history, it's really bad drama that I found dull and confusing a lot of the time.

Kathryn Warner said...

*hacked off, I meant to write :)

Gabriele C. said...

I've read the summaries on the Nevill blog so I've been warned not to watch that crap when it comes to German TV. And it will, crap always does. ;-)

Anerje said...

LOL Gabriele - you do make me laugh! I read the comments on 'A Neville Feast' as well. And yes, Kasia, it did unite Lancaster and York!

Kathryn - it was confusing, which is why I'm sure they kept using the characters full names as if they knew viewers didn't have a clue who some of them were!

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Gebriele, you make me laugh too! Truer words were never written. Crap always does come!