John Guy

Marriages of Inconvenience

Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots

By

Macmillan 424pp £20 order from our bookshop

On Elizabeth I’s death on 24 March 1603, King James VI and I united the crowns of Scotland and England, creating what he loved to call his ‘empire of Great Britain’. Two years later, Sir Francis Bacon wrote to Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, urging him to commission a new and ‘worthier’ Anglo-Scottish history to memorialise this event and so liberate Scotland from the ‘partiality and obliquity’ of its most recent historian, George Buchanan, James’s hated former tutor and the chief traducer of his mother. For 400 years Bacon’s appeal fell on deaf ears, but in Crown of Thistles, Linda Porter has finally responded, crafting the national histories into a genuinely ‘British’ interpretation of the long century from the 1450s until Mary Stuart’s flight across the Solway Firth to exile in England in 1568.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,