TUDOR:The Family Story


“Leanda de Lisle has the gift of reminding us that history is the story of real people; real men, real women, full of rage and ambition and lust and hope and love. The Tudors are already our most vivid dynasty, by quite a long chalk, but these pages render them more vivid still. This was an age when the game was worth the candle, when a chance remark could result in a crown or the axe. Wonderful, passionate, dangerous, fascinating stuff. I couldn't put it down.”
“A wonderfully fluent portrait of five generations... de Lisle brings an entirely fresh feel to the Tudor story, reminding us of the one thing the monarchs themselves wanted us to forget: the sheer improbability of their royal rule.”

The Tudors are a national obsession. But beyond the headlines, and deep into their past, is a family still more extraordinary than the Tudors we thought we knew.

Tudor history typically starts with the Battle of Bosworth and really picks up with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. But the real Tudor story starts earlier, with an ordinary man called Owen Tudor falling into a Queen's lap, and later her bed. It continues with the courage of the pregnant thirteen-year-old Margaret Beaufort, the childhood and painful exile of her son, Henry Tudor, his rivalry with Richard III, and the disappearance of the princes in the Tower which heralded Henry’s rise as the first Tudor king.

Henry VIII, his six wives and wider family are given a fresh perspective in the context of this past, and the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor are revealed in an unexpected light. ‘Tudor’ presents a family struggling at every turn to establish their right to the throne, dominated by remarkable women doing everything possible to secure influence and their line. Packed with new revelations, this is the story of the Tudor family behind the myths.

Tudor: The Family Story (1437-1603)
breaks new ground

  • The first to tell the Tudor family story from before the Wars of the Roses, to the death of Elizabeth I. 
  • Reveals for the first time why the princes in the Tower were ‘disappeared’ in 1483, and stayed that way.
  • A sympathetic portrait of Margaret Beaufort, less successful at plotting than hitherto described, and warmer in character
  • Offers new insights into Henry VII character, motivations, and his treatment of Elizabeth Woodville.
  • Flodden seen from the perspective of two Queens, Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots & Katherine of Aragon.
  • Camelot, Henry VIII, and the death of Anne Boleyn.
  • The life of Henry VIII’ niece Margaret Douglas. A player in key events over four Tudor reigns who plots - ultimately successfully - for her heirs to inherit Elizabeth’s throne.
  • New revelations on Mary Tudor and Lady Jane Grey.
  • The 'Gloriana' in Mary Tudor and the 'Bloody' in Elizabeth Tudor
  • ..and much more!
“Tudor is a gripping account of a family riven by passionate jealousies, murderous ambitions and crippling tragedies. Leanda de Lisle is a master storyteller, and this is her greatest work yet. Immersive and exhaustively researched, Tudor is a triumph.”
“De Lisle's masterful command of the facts – great and small – provides a complete and entertaining overview”

Reader Reviews

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“This is my first time reading the works of Leanda De Lisle and I must say "WOW". ..Lisle caught my attention right from the beginning of the book. This is the first time I read an opening about Owen Tudor, grandfather of Henry Vii. Lisle takes something that dozens of people have wrote about and added something so fresh. Highly Recommended!”

Published in the UK as Tudor: The Family Story
in hardback, e-book & audiobook

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Published in the US as Tudor
in hardback & e-book

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Reader Reviews

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“I can hear you asking the question – do we really need another book about the Tudors? Really. Well, I don’t know about need, but I can say this is a very excellent look at the Tudor family. If you were going to buy one book about the Tudor dynasty, this should be it. It’s not that I didn’t like Meyer’s book about the family, but de Lisle is just better.
In part, this is because she actually focuses on the family instead of the big two – Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, who seem to have been the focus since the BBC programs. While much of the book does deal with them, de Lisle makes sure that the rest of the family gets their time in the spot light...Her description of battle, in particular of Bosworth, is quite frankly very gripping. It is this style, part academic and part almost novelistic in approach that make the book accessible to both long time Tudor fans as well as those who are picking this up due to simply the Showtime series. ...Truly a wonderful study of the Tudors.”

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“Beautifully researched and compellingly constructed, this is the first book on the Tudor family I have read that gives a history of more than just the major players (Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, etc. ) ... While there may be better books that cover just Henry VIII or his wives de Lisle covers the whole family and the factors that contributed to them as a whole, rather than individuals. And she does this brilliantly, making it an easy to read and still authoritative work. ...In short, this really is the best book on the Tudor’s I have read and a good starting point for people interested in the family’s history as well as those who have read other works and want something that looks behind the well worn facts to the factors that caused history.”