Elizabeth of York and Her Six Daughters-in-Law

Elizabeth of York and Her Six Daughters-in-Law:  Fashioning Tudor Queenship 1485-1547

Retha M. Warnicke

268 pages

Part of the Queenship and Power Series

Warnicke created interesting chapters but rather over promised and underdelivered in an often-confusing narrative.  Covering seven people is difficult (even if the author specifically declares this is not biographical) especially when the sources are more plentiful for some subjects than the others, but could have been more logically discussed.  The author does an excellent job at the end of each chapter and in the “Conclusion” in summarizing what had been covered throughout the entire book.

Warnicke found many comparisons between the queens in their experiences as wives, mothers, ceremonial figureheads, government agents, and household managers. Using the sources available, she draws as many varied examples as possible.     

Devaluing previous theories is all well and good if there is support for debunking them.  It appeared as if Warnicke claimed several traditionally held interpretations were incorrect without complete evidence to prove her point.  This reviewer for one, values alternative views when they accompany facts. 

–historians have surprisingly argued that her {Elizabeth of York} mother-in-law kept her in subjection.
–Mary Boleyn was Anne’s younger sister
–where Erasmus met the Tudor children
–cause of Anne Boleyn’s miscarriage is unsubstantiated
–Anne’s stance on the dissolution of the monasteries
–location of the execution spot on Tower Green
–letter to Culpepper establishing that Katherine Howard was fearful not loving
–reason Princess Elizabeth was removed from Katherine Parr’s care

Although this reviewer does not agree with several points as stated above, Warnicke’s scholarship, research and writing have much to admire. This study with its innovative, comparative approach does provide ample information on the queen consorts’ (Okay, not truly appropriate here but why were peoples’ titles not capitalized throughout the book? Is it the new APA style?) and their importance to the Court.  Readers should realize that everyone at the Tudor Court (any court for that matter) wanted a queen because her household generated a lot of money and jobs.  The list of attendants provided by Warnicke proves that.