As I’m blogging through the “White Queen” series, it would be unfair to leave out the antagonist character in the series; Lady Margaret Beaufort, the lead character of Phillipa Gregory’s novel “The Red Queen.” When I downloaded the trio of books the cable series is based upon, I skipped and read “The Kingmaker’s Daughter” and saved the Lancaster lunatic for last.
Now I’m happy to say “The Red Queen” is a very entertaining novel, surprisingly so. While the series character is pious beyond reason, obsessed with ambition of having her Tudor son becoming the King of England, the novel brings her to a more personal level that one can appreciate her strength as well as her bizarre outlook on life.
Unlike other young women who wanted to marry gallant men, wear beautiful gowns, and have lots of sons, Margaret Beaufort wanted to become a nun and form her own Christian order. She considered Joan of Arc to be a true inspiration and thought the battles she lead being swarmed with angels instead of flies over bleeding soldiers. Even when she brought her fatally injured husband home, she still believed the battlefield she found him in could not have been like that for Joan.
By watching the series, it’s hard to imagine this character could have any humorous moments. The novel opens her up to a few: Married men are rapists, marriage removes all desire for men, men smell bad, and her second husband looked old enough to be her ancestor. However, she was fond of her older husband and grieved when he died. Her mother accused her of going on about everything in her life as a tragedy, and she said, “Having children and you telling the midwifes to let me die IS a tragedy.” Well, it’s made clear Margaret Beaufort wasn’t exactly a “Babe” to be fought over other than her title and inherited fortune, which her York enemy King allowed her to keep. Of course Margaret doesn’t appreciate that any more than the bad former leadership of the mindless Lancastrian King Henry and his wicked Queen Margaret of Anjou. So what the queen beheaded people, God appointed the Lancasters, so that must be OK, right? Ugh.
So readers or viewers of the series don’t leave “The Red Queen” out if you check out the books. Margaret is a stronger character than Anne “The Kingmaker’s Daughter,” and though delusional by religious zeal, she doesn’t whine and crazy women are definitely something most of us can relate to as acquaintances, friends, or relatives in our lives.