Scourge of Henry VIII

The Life of Marie de Guise

Melanie Clegg

Date Published :
June 2021
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
32 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473848382

Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : Out of stockPages : 224
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781399013123

Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 224
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Although Mary, Queen of Scots continues to fascinate both historians and the general public alike, the story of her mother, Marie de Guise, is much less well known. A political power in her own right, she was born into the powerful and ambitious Lorraine family, spending her formative years at the dazzling and licentious court of François I. Although briefly courted by Henry VIII, she instead married his nephew, James V of Scotland, in 1538.

James' premature death four years later left their six day old daughter, Mary, as Queen and presented Marie with the formidable challenge of winning the support of the Scottish people and protecting her daughter’s threatened birthright. Content until now to remain in the background and play the part of the obedient wife, Marie spent the next eighteen years effectively governing Scotland, devoting her considerable intellect, courage and energy to safeguarding her daughter’s inheritance by using a deft mixture of cunning, charm, determination and tolerance.

The last serious biography of Marie de Guise was published in 1977 and whereas plenty of attention has been paid to the mistakes of her daughter’s eventful but brief reign, the time has come for a fresh assessment of this most fascinating and under appreciated of sixteenth century female rulers.

About The Author

Fascinated by history from a very early age, Melanie Clegg graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in History of Art. She originally turned to writing historical fiction and her women's history blog, Madame Guillotine, as a means of escaping from the dull admin jobs that she found herself doing, before becoming a full time writer and historian.


"...brings this remarkable woman vividly back to life. Her passion for the era is evident and her investigation into the blazing feud between Marie and the Tudors shows a keen and evocative eye for drama. This is not just a biographical account of Marie de Guise's life, however, as Clegg also includes a fascinating look at how the queen regnant influenced Renaissance art and architecture. A selection of photographs from the author's own collection and other sources illustrate not only this influence, but also the players in this remarkable tale. The book is opened by a dramatis personae that will prove handy to those who might be new to some of the characters, and Clegg writes with an informative, entertaining and enthusiastic tone that draws her readers straight into the heart of the story. Marie de Guise has not been the subject of a complete biography in almost 30 years, and Melanie Clegg has more than made up for lost time with Scourge of Henry VIII. This is a book that will fascinate anyone who loves a simmering, twisting tale; it's a pleasure to see Marie finally heading the bill."

- All About HIstory

"Whilst Mary, Queen of Scots is a familiar historical figure her mother, Marie de Guise, is relatively unknown. The historian and blogger Melanie Clegg delves into the relationship de Guide had with her French family, The Lorraines, with imaginative fervour which sees this lively biography often stray into the realms of fiction."

- Scottish Field

"Despite the title, Clegg's book is in fact a fairly conventional biography - and as biographies of de Guise are in rather short supply, it's one that's most welcome."

- History of Royals, January 2017

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