Three Sisters, Three Queens

Part of The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels


'There is only one bond that I trust and that is between a woman and her sisters. Only the three of us are indissoluble. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and rivalry, we always think of each other.'

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister Mary – to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

Behind the book

Released in 2016

'Three Sisters, Three Queens': the title of my new book featuring Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII's older sister, only came to me when I realised that the book was not just about this extraordinary woman who married three times, twice against the wishes of her family for love, ruled Scotland and raised a king; but also about her equally formidable sister-in-law, Katherine of Aragon, and her sister Mary Tudor. It was extraordinary to see how the fortunes of one woman rose coincidentally with the failure of another, and how the issues of arranged marriage, widowhood, divorce and re-marriage dominated the lives of all three. I was also writing very much to the idea of sisterhood – the rivalry, love, pride and jealousy that sisters often bring to each other. I wanted this book to go to the very heart of being a sister, a queen, and sister to a great queen.

Book opens in 1501

Katherine of Aragon, Infanta of Spain, has arrived in England to marry Arthur Prince of Wales. King Henry VII’s hugely expensive celebrations are attended by ambassadors negotiating his next diplomatic success – the marriage of Princess Margaret and James IV of Scotland. With her brother on the throne of England and herself on the throne of Scotland Margaret is to ensure a Perpetual Peace between the two endlessly warring countries – a strategy far more easily planned than enacted.

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For winter nights

"I was utterly captivated by Three Sisters, Three Queens....Margaret more than deserves a novel in her own right, as Philippa Gregory demonstrates so wonderfully....the novel is packed full with drama, intrigue, action and peril as well as intimate moments of love and’s books like this, a marvellous book, that reveal that there is so much more to explore in this most extraordinary, larger than life period of history."

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Sunday Express – 'As time goes by: Our pick of new historical reads'

"Gregory populates this engrossing novel, told in Margaret’s own words, with memorable figures, particularly in the Scottish court, while events are moved along by politics at their most treacherous. "

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BookTrib – 'The Top 10 August Books to Read as Summer Winds Down'

"No one writes dense, juicy historical novels quite like Gregory"

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iBooks (Best Books of August)

"Gregory again proves her mastery of historical fiction, catapulting us into a world of lavish courts, lethal rulers, betrayal, and loss. " – 'Getting lost in powerful stories of powerful women'

"Gregory has outdone herself with this one."

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Morpeth Herald

"Philippa Gregory has been captivating....with her Tudor novels for years, and her latest foray into the reign of King Henry VIII is no exception."

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"a fictional tale as steeped in history as it is in intrigue and family dysfunction....Gregory excels in plucking real-life women out of their secondary places in the historical chorus and placing them stage center in starring roles."

RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

"Mesmerizing, intimate....Gregory defines what it means to be a writer of historical fiction. She lures readers straight into the hearts and minds of her characters by masterful storytelling and brilliant reimagination blended with historical fact. She brings history to life."

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Library Journal

"The ultimate job in centuries past was ruling. Historical fiction maven Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl) takes on three women, all part of King Henry VIII’s world, who serve as queens of England, France, and Scotland."

Shelf Awareness

"Philippa Gregory delves into the affections and rivalries of Margaret, Queen of Scots, in another spellbinding novel about the Tudor court."

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Book Reporter

"By the time I had read the first few pages of THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS, I knew that once again Gregory had grabbed me by the collar and simply wouldn't let me go....Although the urge to race through the novel to see what happens next is strong, smart readers will read slowly and savor the chance to travel back in time and live in an era that can now be found only in the pages of such a magical book."

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More Than Just Books

"Philippa Gregory is one of the best historical fiction writers around....enthralling"

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Daily Mail

"At the heart of Gregory’s vibrant, vivid new novel is Margaret…Gregory rescues her from obscurity and puts her centre stage in a world of plots, switched allegiances, political machinations and the drama of royal succession."

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Dab of Darkness

"a fascinating take of an often over-looked historical figure"

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"this is a very sympathetic portrait of a country I love. It’s a nice change to see sixteenth-century Scotland shown not as barbaric, but politically complicated, not to mention gorgeous."

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Woman Magazine (This Week's Hot Read)

"A compelling read for history buffs. "

Bustle – '9 Historical Fiction Books About Incredible Women'

"Compelling, intriguing, and intimate, this book proves historically-based stories can still be page-turners."

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Love London Love Culture

"With any Philippa Gregory novel, there is a vividness in detail and it is clear a lot of thought has gone into getting the historical details just right...A fascinating read."

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