Monday, November 13, 2017

So High A Blood (Morgan Ring)

So High A Blood is the story of Margaret Douglas. If you haven’t heard of her before today, that’s ok…I had not either prior to reading Morgan Ring’s book about her life. She played an important political role in 16th Century England. As part of the Tudor royal family, niece of Henry VIII and daughter of Margaret Tudor, Queen of the Scots, Douglas tried in vain through much of her life to unite the Scottish and English crowns. While the unification ultimately happened after the passing of Elizabeth I in 1603, Douglas was one of the key players in English royal and political life.

Being in the royal family in the 16th Century ran the risk of being imprisoned or even executed if you fell out of favor with the monarch. Douglas was sent to the Tower of London three times, twice by Henry VIII and once by Elizabeth. Two of those banishments were for seeking marriage without royal approval and it was this second marriage, of her son to Mary, Queen of the Scots, that paved the way for England and Scotland to ultimately get unified under a common crown. The story of Douglas’s
life also portrayed the struggle of England’s religious sects as the country shifted from Catholic to Protestant to Catholic to Protestant throughout the century, based on the whim of the monarchy. Douglas, a Catholic, did not politicize her religious views.

Ring’s work is solid, scholarly, but not captivating unless you are a fan of family drama that so often has plagued English royal life, especially in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Ring provides a well-researched look at one of the key political players in royal life during this time and how Douglas ultimately set about the path towards England and Scotland being united.