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Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Alison Weir

Narrated By: Maggie Mash

Publisher: Recorded Books

Date: December 2013

Duration: 22 hours 59 minutes


Many are familiar with the story of the much-married King Henry VIII of England and the celebrated reign of his daughter, Elizabeth I. But it is often forgotten that the life of the first Tudor queen, Elizabeth of York, Henry' s mother and Elizabeth' s grandmother, spanned one of England' s most dramatic and perilous periods. Now New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir presents the first modern biography of this extraordinary woman, whose very existence united the realm and ensured the survival of the Plantagenet bloodline. Her birth was greeted with as much pomp and ceremony as that of a male heir. The first child of King Edward IV, Elizabeth enjoyed all the glittering trappings of royalty. But after the death of her father; the disappearance and probable murder of her brothers-- the Princes in the Tower; and the usurpation of the throne by her calculating uncle Richard III, Elizabeth found her world turned upside-down: She and her siblings were declared bastards. As Richard' s wife, Anne Neville, was dying, there were murmurs that the king sought to marry his niece Elizabeth, knowing that most people believed her to be England' s rightful queen. Weir addresses Elizabeth' s possible role in this and her covert support for Henry Tudor, the exiled pretender who defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth and was crowned Henry VII, first sovereign of the House of Tudor. Elizabeth' s subsequent marriage to Henry united the houses of York and Lancaster and signaled the end of the Wars of the Roses. For centuries historians have asserted that, as queen, she was kept under Henry' s firm grasp, but Weir shows that Elizabeth proved to be a model consort-- pious and generous-- who enjoyed the confidence of her husband, exerted a tangible and beneficial influence, and was revered by her son, the future King Henry VIII.


  • Kelly C

    Another wonderful book by Alison Weir

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Good read for the history lovers.

  • Barbara G.

    I enjoyed this book and the thoroughness of Ms. Weir's research. It was almost as much fun imagining her tracking down obscure sources as it was to imagine the life of a late-medieval queen of England in a time of political, intellectual and social transition. I think I would have liked to read the book more in hard copy rather than listening to it, as it sometimes bogs down into lists of the queen's attendants, catalogues of her spending, etc. These could be skimmed over when reading hard copy; listening to them being read aloud is not always riveting. But a solid book about a fascinating life and time.

  • SilentMovieFan

    I’ve read Ms. Weir’s historic books as well as her fictional accounts, and she remains a favorite of mine. When it comes to a subject like Elizabeth if York, it can become difficult to write a complete biography as a historian can run into problems if all the information isn’t there, whether because it’s nonexistent or has been lost to time. Despite being the daughter of a king, a sister to one, a niece to one, the wife of one, and the mother and grandmother to two kings and two queens (and two queens by marriage to foreign queens), a researcher has to dig deep to find the resources on Elizabeth because we don’t always have what we do on the likes of an Elizabeth I or a Henry VIII. This is where Ms. Weir has a few issues. She might have found information on Edward IV making arrangements to marry his daughter to a dauphin...there may have been poetry written...a letter or two is discovered...we can track her movements based on others (like her mother Elizabeth Wydville taking sanctuary). We might also have historic facts such as a pilgrimage, her wedding or coronation, an appearance at Christmas, mourning the loss of her eldest son...her death and funeral. But then you have a lot of gaps and while accounts aren’t fictionalized, you get “possibly,” and “maybe,” and “likely” or “we imagine” at the start of sentences because now Ms. Weir is required to fill in the blanks with Elizabeth of York’s world as she might have known it, or what happened outside her private life, be it the lives of Londoners, or the machinations of others. And we have loads of accounting records, which for me as a history buff is fascinating because it shows their lives on one level (what was spent on clothing, a gift, a donation), but for others will be an utter bore depending on how it’s approached. I found the biography interesting, because I did get some new information on Elizabeth that I was unaware of despite having studied the Plantagenets and Tudors for years. I could mentally visualize her world and imagine the happy times and the low moments, approaching it not from my 21st century perspective but that of her time frame and the tumultuous events around it. I was even able to recall previous biographies I’ve read - such as Starkey’s biography on a young Henry VIII - and better comprehend Elizabeth’s early effect on the young prince’s romanticism and chivalrous nature. I appreciated that Ms. Weir gave a new perspective on Elizabeth’s marriage and relationship to Henry VII and to her mother-in-law, the formidable Margaret Beaufort. It may have put to rest a few past suppositions, and that was refreshing. If one goes into this book expecting another over-the-top Philippa Gregory novel, you will be disappointed. I think for students of the era who are seeking facts interspersed with the world at the time, it may be a good read (or listen) and a decent addition to your English history/Tudor library. The narration was fine. She tends to take on accents or various vocal inflections depending on the person she is quoting or portraying, and for me personally, it took a bit of getting used to. In the end, at least it gave it some variety, especially when it comes to a historic book and did away with any dryness.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the book was very interesting. It's nice to read about this time with the Queen being the focus, and not the kings during this fascinating and tumultuous times. The narrator I found difficult to listen to at times, because she would lapse into a strange gruff, Italian-French accent when she was narrating, which i determined was when she was reading a quotation. I found it jarring to listen to and disruptive to the flow of the subject, because she would switch in and out of that accent multiple times in the course of a few minutes.

  • emanu c

    good book!


    Great book. Very informative but easy to follow. Great read!!

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by Alison Weir

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