Helen Newsome: Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-20)

Dr Helen Newsome holds a PhD from the University of Sheffield. For her postdoctoral research, Helen will be working on a scholarly edition of the holograph letters of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots (1489-1541)


As Queen of Scots and Princess of England, Margaret Tudor (1489-1541) was pivotal in Anglo-Scottish relations in the early sixteenth century. Actively involved in Scottish government, she served as regent of Scotland for her son, James V, after the death of her husband James IV at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Despite being sister to one of the most notorious kings in English history (Henry VIII), Margaret has been largely omitted from historical narratives and little attention has been paid to her epistolary communication (with the exception of Williams 2016). My research to date has identified 110 surviving letters written in Margaret’s own hand (also known as holograph letters); a collection which forms one of the largest archives of holograph correspondence written in English or Scots of any British medieval or early modern queen hitherto discovered. My project will collate this material and produce the first printed edition of Margaret Tudor’s holograph letters. The edition will make this unique archive available to others, as well as providing new insights into the character, letter-writing practices, and diplomatic activities of Margaret Tudor. Such a resource also has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of Anglo-Scots politics, medieval and early modern queenship, epistolary genres, women’s writing, and royal language more widely.