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Philippa Gregory in Chronological Order

Update 10/14/2010: I originally wrote this post because I had some difficulty putting Philippa Gregory’s Tudor books together in chronological order.  At the time, I was new to my love of all things Tudor and didn’t have any real knowledge of the family’s history on my own.  By far, this is my most popular post and I’m happy to have provided others with this information.

Since it’s initial publication, Gregory has started writing a series on the Plantagenets, who predate the Tudors. Others have also asked how her other works of historical fiction might fit in with this history.  I decided it was high time to revamp this post.  I hope that this proves to be even more helpful to you.

~ Jennifer

______

Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Novels

I thought that it might be helpful to list the books Philippa Gregory has written around the history of Henry VIII and his immediate descendants in chronological order for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of reading them for yourself.

1. The Constant Princess
2. The Other Boleyn Girl
3. The Boleyn Inheritance
4. The Queen’s Fool
5. The Virgin’s Lover
6. The Other Queen

Filling In the Gaps

Philippa’s books do not cover everything or everyone. After reading The Boleyn Inheritance, I wanted to know more about Henry’s last wife. I found The Last Wife of Henry VIII, which answered my questions and was a great read. Around that time, Alison Weir‘s first “go-round” in fiction came out, entitled Innocent Traitor . It tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, otherwise known as the Nine Day’s Queen. I would suggest reading this book after The Last Wife of Henry VIII and The Lady Elizabeth before The Queen’s Fool.  I just finished up another Tudor novel called The Virgin’s Daughters by Jeane Westin that covers the early portion of Elizabeth I’s reign as well as the very end.  It tells the story of two of her ladies-in-waiting and their lives at court.  It would be a great book to read along with The Virgin’s Lover and The Other Queen.

I have also read Portrait of an Unknown Woman, which is about an adopted daughter of Sir Thomas More. This book is no where near as directly related to Henry VIII as the others. What it does, however, is give the reader the feeling of living in Tudor England at the time of Henry’s affair with and marriage to Anne Boleyn. It’s very interesting to read a book where Henry is rearing his head in the book indirectly.  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (although it requires much more concentration and a greater reading  commitment) would be an interesting be an interesting counterpart to this novel as it tells the story of Thomas Cromwell in such a way that I actually liked him.

The Plantagenet Years

Thus far, Philippa Gregory has published four of perhaps five novels about the Plantagenets, making it pretty easy to place these in chronological order.  I have not yet read anything else (that I can recall anyway) about this time period.  As and when I do, I’ll fill in the Plantagenet blanks as well.  I do know that most everyone raves about the works of Sharon Kay Penman. Susan Higginbotham published a novel about Kate Woodville this year entitled The Stolen Crown that I have on my shelves calling out to me.  She  is also coming out with a novel about Margaret of Anjou in January of 2011.

Gregory’s first two novels about the War of the Roses really take place around the same time in history.  The White Queen is about Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV.  The Red Queen is about Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII and grandmother of Henry VIII. Although I don’t believe there is any “best” order in which to read these books, I would suggest reading them in the order in which they were published – White and then Red. The reason I say this is because there are things that occur in The White Queen that are referred to by Margaret Beaufort.  I enjoyed picking up on those cross references that way. I don’t believe there would be as many if the books were read in the opposite order. The Lady of the Rivers preceeds The White Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter should be read after the White and Red Queen novels.

Suggested Reading Order

So, using the books I’ve read to fill in the gaps, my suggested order for reading Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series with other Tudor-related and pre-Tudor fiction would look something like this (if not mentioned above, I’ve included a link to my review for more information):

Update 2/7/2013: I have updated the list to include The Lady of the Rivers, The Kingmaker’s Daughter, and Bring Up the Bodies. I have also rearranged the order of Hilary Mantel’s novels.

Update 8/13/2013: Since the publication of The White Princess, there have been many questions about where Philippa’s latest novel fits into the chronological reading order. I haven’t yet read The White Princess, but I would place it before The Tudor Rose. It is possible that those two are interchangeable in order. Also, one of my readers pointed out that she believes that The Red Queen should be read before The White Queen because Margaret Beaufort’s story begins earlier in time than Elizabeth Woodville. It personally didn’t bother me to read them in the order in which they were published, but I can’t disagree with Mary’s assessment, so I’ve changed the order in which those two books are listed here. Finally, I’ve added The Crown, a book that I just finished reading. Although Henry VIII and his court do not feature prominently in the story, it was an interesting book about life as a faithful Catholic around the time of Prince Edward’s birth.

I would like to thank everyone who has visited this page and has left such nice comments about how they are enjoying this reading list.

1. The Lady of the Rivers
2. The Red Queen
3. The White Queen
4. The Kingmaker’s Daughter
5. The White Princess
6. The Tudor Rose
7. The Constant Princess
8. Wolf Hall
9. The Other Boleyn Girl
10. Bring Up the Bodies
11. Portrait of an Unknown Woman
12. The Wise Woman ~ I’ve not read this yet, but based on my research, I would place it in this order.
13. The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau
14. The Boleyn Inheritance
15. My Lady of Cleves
16. The Last Wife of Henry VIII
17. The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers
18. Her Mother’s Daughter
19. The Lady Elizabeth
20. Innocent Traitor
21. The Queen’s Fool
22. The Virgin’s Lover
23. The Virgin’s Daughters
24. The Other Queen

212 Comments

  • At 2013.09.16 12:33, Brandy said:

    Thanks you so much for making this page! I have wanted to read her books for years and am just now going in search of them at the library and could not make heads or tails of her website in trying to figure out what order to read in. Now I have a GIANT list to get through! :)

    • At 2013.09.16 19:44, Elsa said:

      Thank you for putting these wonderful historical novels in order! I came across your site while trying to figure Philippa Gregory’s books historical timeline. This has been a huge help! Plus the additional reading you have recommended. I can hardly wait to start!

      • At 2013.09.16 19:46, Elsa said:

        Thank you for putting these books in chronological order! Was in the process of trying to figure it out and came across your site. You have been a huge help! Now I can hardly wait to start!

        • At 2013.09.16 19:52, Elsa said:

          Anya Seton is one of my favorite authors! I’ve read Katherine, and thought it was excellent as well. I was surprised to find someone mention her. Hardly anyone I know has heard of her.
          I highly recommend her books, but I have been enjoying Philippa Gregory’s books as well.

          • At 2013.09.18 16:40, Leigh Morganti said:

            Jane, I’m notoriously bad at names. If you’d like to google a list of non-fiction on the subject, I’d be happy to offer you my opinion on which are best. Alternatively, you can check out “The Richard III Society”. If you’re loking for one of the best novels set exactly at that time, try Sharon K. Penman’s “The Sunne in Splendour.” There’s also a wonderful novel I read ages ago, and I do remember the title, but not the author (and I’ve never been able to find it since, so if you do, please let me know), “The Whyte Boar” (This was Richard’s standard when he was Duke of Gloucester.)

            Good luck. When you’ve got this period down, you’ll have to make a decision to go back and work your way forward, or head straight into the Tudor descendants and then the Stuarts, which of course is interrupted by the Civil War and the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth. Ordinarily I’d recommend getting the backstory, as it were, out of the way. But not only are there a number of great novels (and some pretty terrific old movies made from them, like “Forever Amber”) set then, but if anyone here has not yet read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, they are missing out on a world of pleasure! It’s a series like no other, and while there’s a little of literally everything (including time travel, for fans of Doctor Who and believers in ley lines and what the stone circles mean), Diana has absolutely done her historical research about the Scottish Rising of 1745 and Bonnie Prince Charlie, plus so much more! Starz is presently casting for next year’s series based on her books, and there are blogs galore by her many fans. I’m definitely one!

            • At 2013.09.22 10:28, jane moore said:

              thank you eileen i am reading alison weirs princes in the tower and lancaster and york by the same author. unfortunately i was hoping that she may have found richard not guilty of the murder of the princes but alas it was not to be, i did wonder if someone else could have got to them but accoring to alison there was only richard with access to the tower. i still wonder in my own mind that with all the treachery that went on at that time someone could have bribed one of the guards like margaret beaufort etc.oh well i shall certainly read the sunne in splendour and will let you know if i find the author for the white boar, many thanks again for your help

              • At 2013.09.22 15:46, Judith McCullough said:

                Actually, it is The Sun in Splendour by Jean Plaidy. The White Boar by Marian Palmer is available at Amazon.com.

                I wish you’d arrange the latest post first, so we didn’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom! But enjoy your site.

                • At 2013.09.23 01:49, Leigh Morganti said:

                  Dear Judith,

                  I had no idea that Jean Plaidy used that title for a book. I stopped reading her a long time ago. But I assure you, “The Sunne in Splendour” was definitely written by Sharon K. Penman. And thsnk you sooo much for the tip on “The Whyte Boar”! Let’s hope it’s the right one, since it seems authorsuse the same titles.

                  • At 2013.09.23 19:07, Judith McCullough said:

                    Yes, and both the books are about King Richard. My library doesn’t have either.

              • At 2013.09.23 01:45, Leigh Morganti said:

                Dear Jane,

                I think your last remark was intended for me. I fully agree with Eileen in that you should expand your horizons, and Alison Weir is certainly a good author. Just keep in mind that she writes both fiction and biographies/history. From what you wrote about Richard being the only one with access to the Tower, that must be a novel, because it’s totally untrue. Do you really think medieval kings walked around with the keys to all their castles, like we do with our house keys? Even when the monarch was absent, each castle was always staffed (at least minimally). And the Tower of London is and always has been a speical case. They have a Lord-Lieutenant and a full complement of troops (which in Henry VIII’s time began wearing their present red uniforms, and eventually were/are referred to as Beefeaters.

                Besides that, just about any one connected to the royal court had access to the Tower; for instance, the Duke of Buckingham. Just don’t convict Richard without all the facts. And if you’re seriously opposed to reading any non-fiction, try one of the classic novels about the issue, “The Daughters of Time”, by Josephine Tey.

                • At 2013.09.23 16:10, jane moore said:

                  hi leigh, yes the comment regarding richard being the only one with acess to the tower was written in ailson weirs, princes in the tower, i felt the book was a bit one sided as she definately said richard was guilty no iffs ands or buts. was very sad as was hoping for an impartial view from alison, thank you anyway for all your help.

                • At 2013.09.28 10:56, Maria Heffernan said:

                  I have been a long time lover of all the Historical Writers, especially Jean Plady and I love any of the books regarding Henry VIII but one of my favourite books ever would have to be “Portrait of the Unknown Women”. The artist in the book is Hans Holbien who became Portrait Artist to King Henry VIII and the book details his painting of some of his other greater known works. It was one of my most memorable moments of a lifetime of reading to read about Holbien painting “the Ambassadors” and the minute detail the Author, Vanora Bennett writes about that painting, only to find the painting online and see all her descriptions come to life before my eyes. Even to this day, I can remember the feeling of “almost being there” that that book bought to me. I hope you all enjoy it and the other wonderful books that Jennifer has listed as much as I do. Thanks so much Jennifer for your great website. I will be visiting regularly from now on. Maria, South Australia.

                  • At 2013.10.12 22:08, Kerry Etheridge said:

                    I am so glad to have discovered your blog! What got me interested in the novels of Philippa Gregory was while watching the new Starz miniseries The White Queen. I was getting so confused with all of the Richards and Henrys and Thomases, etc. Thank goodness Jacquetta named one of her sons Anthony!

                    After reading the first four in The Cousins War series (and I’m almost finished with The White Princess), I am completely hooked and looking forward to starting on The Tudors series, especially the one about Katherine of Aragon, who seems to get somewhat glossed over in any depictions of Henry VIII.

                    Like Maria from South Australia, I thank you and hope to become a regular visitor to your site.

                    Kerry

                    • At 2013.11.01 20:20, Sarah said:

                      Hello,

                      This list has proven very helpful for me. I wanted to suggest that you consider C. W. Gortner’s “The Last Queen” and “The Queen’s Vow.” These books are about the Spanish court at about the same time period as Gregory’s Plantagenet books. The first one is about the parents of Catherine, the first wife of Henry VIII. The second is about Isabella and Ferdinand– almost all of today’s European royalty can trace their lineage back to that couple. Isabella was Catherine’s sister. They had other sisters as well, and the books touch on marriages to other parts of Europe. It’s interesting to see what is happening in other parts of Europe at the same time, and how alliances are formed from the other perspective. Well written books; fun reads.

                      • At 2013.12.27 22:20, Rachel said:

                        I’m just wondering if you recommend reading “The Women of the Cousins War” and if so, should it be read before starting the Plantagenet series?

                        • At 2014.01.25 00:25, lexiecoupe said:

                          i dunno what all the rest of this stuff says ;P but if you’re just starting the series and want to follow the story in order that time progresses i’d start with #1 the lady of the rivers (jacquetta, mother of the white queen) #2 the white queen, #3 the red queen. The red queen is actually going to be margaret beaufort’s story so you’ll be in the reign of king richard w a lead in to tudor with it.

                          • At 2014.01.25 14:06, rose wimsatt said:

                            Hello, historical fiction fan. I agree with most of your assessments here. But I think it’s really not necessary to know whether or not Shakespeare the man was real. Whoever wrote all that gorgeous, poetic, philosophically and psychologically true stuff, was everything a literary artist should be. “TO BE OR NOT TO BE,” really IS the only question. Would that Phillippa Gregory had a shred of his talent.

                            • At 2014.02.07 12:34, tboz17586 said:

                              Love the blog! Thank you so much for the reading list too, I’m currently reading the Tudor series By P. Gregory and so thoroughly enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl that I was wondering if anyone knows of any more Historical Novels about her life or time in the Tudor Court? I have a good few fiction/non books piling up but from diff eras etc but I’d love a bit more of Anne :) I am an avid fan of Mary Queen of Scots and would love some historical fiction on her too as I have read most of the non fiction on her. Thanks guys :)

                              • At 2014.02.07 15:56, janine starch said:

                                thank you for this! I have always hovered around the tudor era with various novels…and for some reason, i DID indeed read “the other boleyn girl” several years ago, but found it not quite up to my high literature standard! (goodness, how snobby does that sound?) One of my favourite novels of all time (and i devour books) would be Hilary Mantel’s “wolf hall” and “bring up the bodies”. She writes from a perspective not normally taken (that I know of) through thomas cromwell, with such intelligence and wit, soooo brilliant! I am now absolutely ADORING Philipa’s novels, and have gotten through the first six….I now fully appreciate the way she captures the mood of the time through feminine eyes. LOVELOVELOVE!

                                • At 2014.02.21 12:32, Brunella Brunet said:

                                  I too loved your blog. I love reading these novels and from reading the comments section I have found other books to read.

                                  • At 2014.03.12 13:20, Kat said:

                                    OMG I LOVE the first book and I am chomping at the bit to read the rest! A little history, a little fantasy, a little love and a little war!

                                    • At 2014.03.30 03:54, Marian said:

                                      Hello

                                      thanks so much for putting these books in reading order. Makes it a lot easier. I have just finished reading the Cousins’War Series, marvelous!

                                      • At 2014.03.31 10:38, Gloria said:

                                        I have read most of the books discussed here just got the W hits Princess to read .
                                        I started read her way back with the Wild Child been a fan ever since

                                        • At 2014.04.11 14:50, lynn said:

                                          In your larger list why are some titles in red?? Thanks

                                          • At 2014.04.21 11:51, Kelly Randell said:

                                            Red highlights, when clicked (or double clicked) lead you to one of Jennifer’s posts about that particular book, with a more detailed review of it :)

                                          • At 2014.04.21 11:52, Kelly Randell said:

                                            Love this blog Jennifer, and the Philippa Gregory list was very helpful!

                                            • At 2014.04.23 14:30, Tammie said:

                                              I am confused – Portait of an Unknown Woman is not written by Philippa Gregory.

                                              • At 2014.04.28 16:19, Stephen Peszel said:

                                                Are there no men subscribing to this forum?
                                                Nothing about these books attracted me to her writings.
                                                I have no idea why I read the first one.
                                                Now I have read most of them and so glad that I did.
                                                An easy style to read but I did have to keep referring to the Wiki-chronology to remember where in time I was and which Edward, Richard, Anne, or Elizabeth I was reading about.
                                                This chronology is a big help.
                                                Currently reading Katherine.

                                                • At 2014.05.26 23:00, MarvelGirl81 said:

                                                  What did you think of Katherine? It is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE novels! :)

                                                • At 2014.04.29 18:26, anita said:

                                                  Love this list, will help me very much.

                                                  • At 2014.05.04 18:36, L Kat said:

                                                    THANK YOU for your lists! I have many of Ms. Gregory’s books on my Nook but have been reading them out of order :(
                                                    Starting again, with the help of your list, and will enjoy them even more!

                                                    • At 2014.05.11 09:34, Shelley said:

                                                      My first book about this period was the Autobiography of Henery VIII by Margaret George that I found in a used bookstore. It is a fabulous book of fiction written as though it was an autobiographical novel. My interest peaked, I read another of George’s books called Mary, Queen of Scots. It was so very rich that I first fell in love with Mary. (I have seen no reference to George’s novels here and perhaps it is because none of her few following novels lived up to the excellence of these two.) I followed by reading Antonina Fraser’s Mary, Queen of Scots, a fabulous non-fiction account of Mary. (My view of Mary has changed over the years from romantic heroine to a woman lead entirely by emotion. She fell from her pedestal as I discovered more and more about this tragic flaw in her, especially when compared to a growing knowledge of the intelligence of Elizabeth.) Then came many other non-fictions before I found my way to the novels of Jean Plaidy, who though her books are fiction could almost be read as fact they are so well researched.
                                                      As I have read through the years, non-fiction and fiction alike, I have fleshed out the characters of these times into full personages in my mind and I always love to see a writer’s take on their personalities. Some may say enough has been written about these individuals, but there can never be enough to learn about the princes and princesses, and kings and queens, whose lives I escape to in my reading.

                                                      • At 2014.05.11 15:20, SB said:

                                                        Thank you for publishing this list with the additional books to fill in the spaces. I’m glad I stumbled upon it!

                                                        • At 2014.05.25 12:56, Sarah said:

                                                          Hello – thank you so much for publishing this list. I have almost finished The Constant Princess and am planning to read Wolf Hall next. I just saw that Philippa Gregory has a new book coming in Sept, The King’s Curse. Where would you put that in order? Probably before Wolf Hall, correct? I won’t wait to read Wolf Hall until Sept though! Thanks!

                                                          • At 2014.05.26 22:57, MarvelGirl81 said:

                                                            If you would like to read an EXCELENT book about the early Plantagnets I would suggest “Katherine” by Ana Seyton. It takes place in the Thirteenth or Fourteenth Century (apologies, I haven’t read it in a few months) It revolves around Katherine Swinford and her decades long love affair with John of Gaunt. This is one of the great love stories in English history,, but it also shows just how harsh life in this time period was. She is the Grandmother of Margret Beaufort and it is through Katherine that the Tudor Line got it’s red hair. :)

                                                            • At 2014.05.27 11:36, Stephen Peszel said:

                                                              I concur, the Katherine book is an excellent read and filled in many gaps in my knowledge. I felt that I knew her after reading this.

                                                              • At 2014.06.18 15:07, Rachel said:

                                                                based on the list that was provided in the blog above where would Katherine be read?

                                                                • At 2014.06.18 16:03, Jennifer said:

                                                                  Katherine would fall before all of the other books in this list.

                                                              • At 2014.06.18 14:54, Rachel said:

                                                                Is this list still up to date as of today? Thank you so much for this chronological breakdown, I am so excited to get started!!!!

                                                                • At 2014.06.18 16:04, Jennifer said:

                                                                  I will have to take a look at it, but I’ve not read too much from the Tudor time period recently, so it’s still good. I hope you enjoy it!

                                                                • At 2014.06.18 15:00, Rachel said:

                                                                  Where would “The King’s Curse” fall into this list?

                                                                  • At 2014.06.18 16:07, Jennifer said:

                                                                    That book overlaps with The Constant Princess, but it told from Margaret Pole. I haven’t read The King’s Curse yet, but I my gut reaction would be to read The Constant Princess first.

                                                                  • At 2014.06.19 13:43, Judith McCullough said:

                                                                    PLEASE LET US KNOW IF IT EVER IS UPDATED. I’VE READ EVERYTHING LISTED.

                                                                    THANKS

                                                                    • At 2014.08.14 01:52, Tania Shalders said:

                                                                      Please do not forget the massive amount of books on these historical figures that were written by Jean Plaidy. She has covered the whole royal historical line. If you read them in conjunction with all the books listed above, many of the gaps in either will be filled. Enjoy

                                                                      • At 2014.08.15 09:45, Judith McCullough said:

                                                                        I wish you’d arrange the latest post first, so we didn’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom! But enjoy your site.

                                                                        • At 2014.08.24 06:16, BlueMoon said:

                                                                          I read two books in the Tudor saga by Philippa Gregory (they were excellent!) and I would like to read all the books you spoke about in this article!
                                                                          Good readings!

                                                                          Read more from BlueMoon

                                                                          Graziella de Lamartine

                                                                          Genre : Classique Editeur : Librio Année de sortie : 2013 Nombre de pages : 111 Synopsis : « Ses yeux étaient de cette couleur indécise entre le noir foncé et le bleu de la mer, qui mêl[…]

                                                                          • […] P.S. If you are interested in reading the novels in chronological order (of events not publication), I found this great list that shows the order: http://literatehousewife.com/2007/08/philippa-gregory-in-chronological-order/ […]

                                                                            • At 2014.11.20 13:08, Braegan A. said:

                                                                              Where would you place her newest novel The King’s Curse?

                                                                              • At 2014.12.06 08:29, Alice said:

                                                                                First of all, I agree with a previous post that asked for comments to be arranged in most recent order first. I originally thought this was an old blog when I saw 2010 at top. Other than that I am excited to have found your blog for many reasons, most importantly to get the chronological order of books. I am fairly new to this period, and while interested in history, I am also rather ignorant. As a lover of reading, I have found historical fiction is a great way to learn more and it actually holds my interest. I am concerned, however, about the accuracy. Obviously, being fiction, I realize liberty is taken with dialogue and some characters, but how much can I depend on significant events? Thanks so much for this blog!

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