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Princess Margaret Tudor, portrayed by Gabrielle Anwar, was King Henry VIII's favorite sister who first wed to King of Portugal. She later marries (in secret) Charles Brandon, earning her brother Henry's wrath.

Season One[]

Margaret kissing Charles Brandon, her lover and later husband

At court, Henry is seen dancing with a young woman, which is not surprising considering that he is known to enjoy the company of beautiful women. However, it is quickly revealed that this woman is his sister, Margaret. Margaret has been betrothed to the aged King of Portugal; she begs the King not to force her to marry him, but Henry will have none of it. Margaret attempts to gain a promise from Henry that she may marry whomever she chooses once the King dies (which she thinks will not be long, due to his crippled state); Henry gives her an ambiguous response.

During the trip to Portugal, Charles Brandon, who was sent with her, constantly teases her about how old her new husband is. The teasing eventually turns into passionate love-making against a window seat on the ship. Unfortunately for Margaret, she is still forced to marry the King who is quite old and perverted, licking his lips at the thought of their upcoming wedding night. Margaret is disgusted at the thought and faints.

The wedding proceeds as planned and Margaret is forced to endure his short and rather labored sex. The King wheezes and coughs before falling asleep, leaving poor Margaret in shock. Disgusted and much more interested in Brandon, Margaret kills the King of Portugal by smothering him with a pillow after only a short time of marriage. Margaret and Brandon return home where Henry demands that Margaret's every whim be answered whilst she is in mourning. Little does Henry know that Margaret could care less about the death of her husband as she has secretly married Brandon after he proposed to her.

Henry is alarmed to find that Margaret is not wearing proper mourning clothes and informs her that her husband is dead. She retorts, saying that her husband is not dead. Annoyed, Henry banishes them both from court along with the threat of executing Brandon.

After a certain period of time, Henry forgives Margaret and Brandon and requests Margaret's presence at court. Margaret refuses to return, telling Brandon that she will not return to court while Henry is with Anne Boleyn, calling her brother's lover a whore and a slut. However, when she outright tells Henry to cease flaunting his relationship with Anne, he scornfully tells her to look on her own impulsive marriage to Charles, humiliating Margaret into silence.

Unfortunately for the newlyweds, their passion has died and the two often fight with each other. Margaret is unhappy and often depressed; Brandon carries on several affairs. Early one morning, Margaret remains up by the window until Brandon tells her to come back to bed, as it's "cold". Margaret declines, kissing Brandon after he goes back to sleep. She tells him goodbye, and leaves to the bathroom where she begins coughing up blood.

Margaret's illness eventually takes hold and she weakly attempts to get help. Her frightened maid sees Margaret's nightgown and face covered in blood; Margaret crashes to the floor, dead. Elsewhere, Brandon is engaging in sex with another woman.

The next day, Brandon gloomily brings news of Margaret's death to court, and an enraged and grief-stricken Henry coldly tells Brandon, "You never even told me she was sick." Margaret's funeral is held soon after, though Henry cannot attend, as it supposedly brings bad luck to the King if he attends a funeral. Later on, we see Brandon standing by Margaret's body in her casket; weeping, he quietly tells her "Forgive me.  I'm sorry."


Margaret had a rather negative outlook on things, though this may be due to Henry's control over her life. As the King's sister, she was in a difficult position and Margaret's choice of husband was more of a strategic alliance than a love-match. Margaret was a strong woman, going so far as to (secretly) kill the King of Portugal and marry (without permission) the King's best friend, Charles Brandon. It is unknown if she was aware of Charles Brandon's infidelity, though she remained loyal if not hot-tempered. Margaret and Henry had a very cold love for each other, and Henry didn't grieve for long over his sister's death. As King, Henry could control his sister's life and she had no choice in it.

Physical appearance[]

Margaret at Hampton Court Palace

Margaret was considered an attractive young woman, with long auburn hair and greenish-blue eyes, though she often wore unfashionable and informal clothes for women of the sixteenth century (a luxury most women in court could not afford). Margaret's beauty may have had something to do with Brandon's proposal to her, since they quickly learned they had little in common. The King of Portugal was also thrilled to have a young bride whom he considered beautiful.

The real Margaret Tudor[]

Anwar's character in The Tudors is an amalgamation of two of Henry's sisters: Mary and Margaret Tudor. This was done so viewers would not confuse Princess Mary (Henry's daughter) with his sister, also called Princess Mary.

The real Margaret was older than Henry and married off to the elderly king of Scotland - making her the grandmother of the future Mary Queen of Scots and great grandmother to King James of Scotland and England. She was buried in the Carthusian Priory of St. John in Perth (which was later demolished in 1559).

Henry's favorite sister was Mary whom he married off to the older king of France, who died a few months after their wedding. Mary secretly married his friend, Charles Brandon, infuriating Henry, though he later forgave them. Henry’s council had wanted Henry to execute Brandon and Mary, but he didn't, instead fining them a heavy fee. The King attended their second, public wedding. They were married for seventeen years before Mary's death.