Book News April 2020




Marie Antoinette’s Confidante: The Rise and Fall of the Princesse de Lamballe

Paperback – 30 April 2020 (UK) & 2 August 2020 (US)

Marie Antoinette has always fascinated readers worldwide. Yet perhaps no one knew her better than one of her closest confidantes, Marie Thrse, the Princess de Lamballe. The Princess became superintendent of the Queens household in 1774, and through her relationship with Marie Antoinette, a unique perspective of the lavishness and daily intrigue at Versailles is exposed. Born into the famous House of Savoy in Turin, Italy, Marie Thrse was married at the age of seventeen to the Prince de Lamballe; heir to one of the richest fortunes in France. He transported her to the gold-leafed and glittering chandeliered halls of the Chteau de Versailles, where she soon found herself immersed in the political and sexual scandals that surrounded the royal court. As the plotters and planners of Versailles sought, at all costs, to gain the favour of Louis XVI and his Queen, the Princess de Lamballe was there to witness it all. This book reveals the Princess de Lamballes version of these events and is based on a wide variety of historical sources, helping to capture the waning days and grisly demise of the French monarchy. The story immerses you in a world of titillating sexual rumours, blood-thirsty revolutionaries, and hair-raising escape attempts and is a must read for anyone interested in Marie Antoinette, the origins of the French Revolution, or life in the late 18th Century.

Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen

Hardcover – 30 April 2020 (UK) & 2 August 2020 (US)

Elizabeth I is arguably one of the greatest monarchs and women of English history. Against an uncertain political and religious backdrop of post-reformation Europe she ruled at the conception of social modernisation, living in the shadow of the infamy of her parents reputations and striving to prove herself an equal to the monarchs who had gone before her. This book seeks to explore some of the key events of her life both before and after she ascended to the English throne in late 1558\. By looking at the history of these selected events, as well as investigating the influence of various people in her life, this book sets out to explain Elizabeth’s decisions, both as a queen and as a woman. Amongst the events examined are the death of her mother, the role and fates of her subsequent step-mothers, the fate of Lady Jane Grey and the subsequent behaviour and reign of her half sister Mary Tudor, along with the death of Amy Dudley, the return of Mary Queen of Scots to Scotland, the Papal Bull and the Spanish Amanda.

Queen, Mother, and Stateswoman: Mariana of Austria and the Government of Spain

Paperback – 15 April 2020 (US & UK)

When Philip IV of Spain died in 1665, his heir, Carlos II, was three years old. In addition to this looming dynastic crisis, decades of enormous military commitments had left Spain a virtually bankrupt state with vulnerable frontiers and a depleted army. In Silvia Z. Mitchell’s revisionist account, Queen, Mother, and Stateswoman, Queen Regent Mariana of Austria emerges as a towering figure at court and on the international stage, while her key collaborators—the secretaries, ministers, and diplomats who have previously been ignored or undervalued—take their rightful place in history.

Mitchell provides a nuanced account of Mariana of Austria’s ten-year regency (1665–75) of the global Spanish Empire and examines her subsequent role as queen mother. Drawing from previously unmined primary sources, including Council of State deliberations, diplomatic correspondence, Mariana’s and Carlos’s letters, royal household papers, manuscripts, and legal documents, Mitchell describes how, over the course of her regency, Mariana led the monarchy out of danger and helped redefine the military and diplomatic blocs of Europe in Spain’s favor. She follows Mariana’s exile from court and recounts how the dowager queen used her extensive connections and diplomatic experience to move the negotiations for her son’s marriage forward, effectively exploiting the process to regain her position.

A new narrative of the Spanish Habsburg monarchy in the later seventeenth century, this volume advances our knowledge of women’s legitimate political entitlement in the early modern period. It will be welcomed by scholars and students of queenship, women’s studies, and early modern Spain.

A Luang Prabang Love Story

Paperback – 15 April 2020 (US) & 26 March 2020 (UK)

In 1930s Luang Prabang, the beautiful and demure Kham-Phiou was much admired. On a New Year’s Day, the life of the aristocratic young woman changed when she caught the eye of a sophisticated older man – Prince Souvanna Phouma. The prince fell madly in love with Kham-Phiou and was determined to marry her against all odds. His family wanted a marriage within the dynasty, while her widowed mother feared Palace intrigues. After the wedding, life in the prince’s family home was difficult, but Kham-Phiou began to adapt until the prince decided they should move to Vientiane for the sake of his career. The tale of the tragic love story spans over half a century and is set against the little-known backdrop of old-world Laos where ancient customs and superstitions still held sway.

In this charming and moving personal account incorporating the social history of Laos, Manisamouth, granddaughter of Kham-Phiou, brings her grandmother’s untold story to life, accompanied by evocative black and white photographs, family trees of the Luang Prabang Royals and Kham-Phiou’s lineage, and includes a section on Lao history.

Japan’s Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945–2019 (Harvard East Asian Monographs)

Hardcover and Paperback – 18 February 2020 (US) & 28 April 2020 (UK)

Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen

Paperback – 15 January 2020 (UK) & 1 April 2020 (US)

Isabella of France married Edward II in January 1308, and afterwards became one of the most notorious women in English history. In 1325, she was sent to her homeland to negotiate a peace settlement between her husband and her brother Charles IV, king of France. She refused to return. Instead, she began a relationship with her husband s deadliest enemy, the English baron Roger Mortimer. With the king s son and heir, the future Edward III, under their control, the pair led an invasion of England which ultimately resulted in Edward II s forced abdication in January 1327. Isabella and Mortimer ruled England during Edward III s minority until he overthrew them in October 1330.

A rebel against her own husband and king, and regent for her son, Isabella was a powerful, capable and intelligent woman. She forced the first ever abdication of a king in England, and thus changed the course of English history. Examining Isabella s life with particular focus on her revolutionary actions in the 1320s, this book corrects the many myths surrounding her and provides a vivid account of this most fascinating and influential of women.

The Royal Family Operations Manual: From 1066 to the present. The history, dominions, protocol, residences, households, pomp and circumstance of the British Royals

Hardcover –24 March 2020 (US) & 6 April 2020 (UK)

The Queen’s Sisters: The lives of the sisters of Elizabeth Woodville

Paperback – 27 March 2020 (UK) &1 April 2020 (US)

Whether Queen or commoner, the lives of women throughout history is a fascinating study. Elizabeth Woodville, ‘The White Queen’, managed to make the transition from commoner to Queen and became the epitome of medieval heroines the commoner who married a King. When she became the wife of Edward IV her actions changed the life of her entire family. Vilified both by their contemporaries and by many historians since, the Woodville family were centre stage during the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III. Elizabeth Woodville became the ancestress of future Kings and Queens. This book takes a fresh look at the lives of Elizabeth’s sisters. Although information on them is scarce, by looking at the men they married, their families, the places they lived and the events that they lived through we can catch a glimpse of their lives. Each sister has their own story to tell and they may not have achieved the dizzying heights that their sister did, but they are all fascinating women.

The Betrayal of the Duchess: The Scandal That Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern

Hardcover – 14 April 2020 (US & UK)

The year was 1832 and the French royal family was in exile, driven out by yet another revolution. From a drafty Scottish castle, the duchesse de Berry — the mother of the eleven-year-old heir to the throne — hatched a plot to restore the Bourbon dynasty. For months, she commanded a guerilla army and evaded capture by disguising herself as a man. But soon she was betrayed by her trusted advisor, Simon Deutz, the son of France’s Chief Rabbi. The betrayal became a cause célèbre for Bourbon loyalists and ignited a firestorm of hate against France’s Jews. By blaming an entire people for the actions of a single man, the duchess’s supporters set the terms for the century of antisemitism that followed.
Brimming with intrigue and lush detail, The Betrayal of the Duchess is the riveting story of a high-spirited woman, the charming but volatile young man who double-crossed her, and the birth of one of the modern world’s most deadly forms of hatred.

Tudor Roses: From Margaret Beaufort to Elizabeth I

Hardcover – 1 April 2020 (US) & 15 March 2021 (UK)

All too often, a dynasty is defined by its men, with the women depicted as shadowy figures whose value lies in the inheritance they brought, or the children they produced. Yet the Tudor dynasty is full of fascinating women, from Margaret Beaufort, who emerged triumphant after years of turmoil; Elizabeth of York’s steadying influence; Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, whose rivalry was played out against the backdrop of the Reformation; to Mary I and Elizabeth, England’s first reigning Queens. Many more women danced the Pavane under Henry VIII’s watchful eye or helped adjust Elizabeth’s ruff. These were strong, powerful women, whether that was behind the scenes or on the international stage. Their contribution took England from the medieval era into the modern. It is time for a new narrative of the Tudor women: one that prioritizes their experiences and their voices.

Celtic Queen: The World of Cartimandua

Hardcover – 15 January 2020 (UK) & 1 April 2020 (US)

The British queens Cartimandua and Boudicea were two Celtic noblewomen, recorded by classical writers as part of a tradition of women who showed particular courage, ambition, and political skill, and who were just as formidable in war as their husbands. They took on the status of Celtic Goddesses and were central players in the struggle against the Roman annexation of Britain. Boudicea led the rebellion against the Romans, but her reputation may be largely symbolic: to Britons and Romans alike, she came to represent matronly honor and heroic resistance, fighting on behalf of her defiled daughters. But using historical and archaeological evidence, this book uncovers the much weightier story of the Celtic Queen Cartimandua, the independent ruler of the powerful Brigante tribe whose territory was the single largest Celtic kingdom in Britain. Cartimandua’s leadership in battle and political influence were probably much greater than Boudiceas, yet her life has since been written out of history. Unlike Boudica, wife of King Prasutagus of the Iceni tribe, Cartimandua was the regent of the Brigante tribe in her own right. Her tribe prospered in the new Imperial world and she held her position as queen until AD69. But she was seen as a shameless adulteress after an open affair with her husband’s arms-bearer. Such sexual liberation was normal for powerful Celtic women but it scandalized Roman society. With many references to popular Celtic culture, their gods, beliefs, art and symbolism, as well as living conditions and the hillforts that would have been Cartimandua’s headquarters, this book offers an insight into the life of this fascinating woman and the Celtic/Romano world in which she lived.

The Sister Queens: Isabella & Catherine de Valois

Paperback – 30 September 2019 (UK) & 1 April 2020 (US)

Isabella de Valois was three years old in 1392 when her father suddenly went mad. Less than four years later, she was married by proxy to King Richard II and arrived in England with a French retinue and her doll’s house. Richard’s brutal murder by his cousin, the future Henry IV, forced Isabella’s desperate return to France where she found her country fatally divided. Isabella’s sister, Catherine de Valois, became the bride of Henry V and is unique in history for being the daughter of a king, the wife of a king, the mother of a king and the grandmother of a king. Like her sister, Catherine was viewed as a bargaining chip in times of political turmoil, yet her passionate love affair with the young Owain Tudor established the entire Tudor dynasty and set in motion one of the most fascinating periods of British history.

Mistresses: Sex and Scandal at the Court of Charles II

Hardcover – 16 April 2020 (UK) & Unknown (US)

According to the great diarist, John Evelyn, Charles II was ‘addicted to women’, and throughout his long reign a great many succumbed to his charms. Clever, urbane and handsome, Charles presided over a hedonistic court, in which licence and licentiousness prevailed.

Mistresses is the story of the women who shared Charles’s bed, each of whom wielded influence on both the politics and cultural life of the country. From the young king-in-exile’s first mistress and mother to his first child, Lucy Walter, to the promiscuous and ill-tempered courtier, Barbara Villiers. From Frances Teresa Stuart, ‘the prettiest girl in the world’ to history’s most famous orange-seller, ‘pretty, witty’ Nell Gwynn and to her fellow-actress, Moll Davis, who bore the last of the king’s fifteen illegitimate children. From Louise de Kéroualle, the French aristocrat – and spy for Louis XIV – to the sexually ambiguous Hortense Mancini. Here, too, is the forlorn and humiliated Queen Catherine, the Portuguese princess who was Charles’s childless queen.

Drawing on a wide variety of original sources, including material in private archives, Linda Porter paints a vivid picture of these women and of Restoration England, an era that was both glamorous and sordid.

To Free the Romanovs: Royal Kinship and Betrayal in Europe 1917-1919

Paperback – 15 April 2020 (UK) & 1 August 2020 (US)

King George V s role in the withdrawal of an asylum offer was covered up. Britain refused to allow any Grand Dukes to come to England, a fact that is rarely explored.

When Russia erupted into revolution, almost overnight the pampered lifestyle of the Imperial family vanished. Within months many of them were under arrest and they became enemies of the Revolution and the Russian people . All showed great fortitude and courage during adversity. None of them wanted to leave Russia; they expected to be back on their estates soon and to live as before. When it became obvious that this was not going to happen a few managed to flee but others became dependent on their foreign relatives for help.

For those who failed to escape, the questions remain. Why did they fail? What did their relatives do to help them? Were lives sacrificed to save other European thrones? After thirty-five years researching and writing about the Romanovs, Coryne Hall considers the end of the 300-year-old dynasty and the guilt of the royal families in Europe over the Romanovs bloody end. Did the Kaiser do enough? Did George V? When the Tsar s cousins King Haakon of Norway and King Christian of Denmark heard of Nicholas s abdication, what did they do? Unpublished diaries of the Tsar s cousin Grand Duke Dmitri give a new insight to the Romanovs feelings about George V s involvement.

Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II

Paperback – 1 April 2020 (UK) & 1 February 2020 (US)

In November 2017 the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. As a 13-year-old Princess, she fell in love with Prince Philip of Greece, an ambitious naval cadet, and they married when she was 21; when she suddenly became Queen at 25, their lives changed forever. Philip has been her great support, but fortunately she also had a solid foundation that helped prepare her for a life dedicated to duty. With previously unpublished material and unique memories from friends and relatives who have known her since childhood, this book looks afresh and in richer depth at her life as Princess, glittering yet isolating. Vivid detail and anecdotes reveal more about her, the era in which she grew up and the people who shaped her life. The archives of royal confidante Lady Desborough and Private Secretary Sir Alec Hardinge reveal unseen letters from the Princess and the royal family, giving intimate insights into their lives and minds.

Diaries of an Egyptian Princess

Hardcover – 15 November 2019 (UK) & 10 April 2020 (US)

Princess Nevine Halim is a direct descendant of the dynasty that ruled Egypt from 1805 until the abdication of King Farouk in the wake of the Free Officers coup in 1952. The eldest of three children, she was born in Alexandria on 30 June 1930, the great-great-granddaughter of Muhammad Ali Pasha on her father’s side and the great-granddaughter of Khedive Ismail on her mother’s side. Drawing on her own diary, as well as those of her mother and grandmother, she takes us on a journey from the First to the Second World War, from Egypt to Europe and the United States, from a world of glamor, wealth, and privilege to the fugitive existence of the exile and social outcast after 1952. We also meet her father, Abbas Halim, the charming rebel prince who clashed with King Fuad for championing the rights of workers, as well as many other members of the Egyptian royal family and a glittering host of international royals, politicians, and film stars. Packed with royal gossip and political intrigue, with tales of young love and fashionable society, and of princes and princesses dancing perilously close to the edge of a way of life that would one day fall apart and then vanish, Diaries of an Egyptian Princess is an event-filled account of an endlessly fascinating epoch in modern Egyptian history.

Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

Paperback – 29 May 2020 (UK) & 28 April 2020 (US)

In 1611, thirty-four-year-old Nur Jahan, daughter of a Persian noble and widow of a subversive official, became the twentieth and favourite wife of the Emperor Jahangir who ruled the Mughal Empire. An astute politician as well as a devoted partner, she issued imperial orders; coins of the realm bore her name. When Jahangir was imprisoned by a rebellious nobleman, the Empress led troops into battle and rescued him. The only woman to acquire the stature of empress in her male-dominated world, Nur was also a talented dress designer and innovative architect whose work inspired her stepson’s Taj Mahal. Nur’s confident assertion of talent and power is revelatory; it far exceeded the authority of her female contemporaries, including Elizabeth I. Here, she finally receives her due in a deeply researched and evocative biography.

The Child of the Sun: Royal Fairy Tales and Essays by the Queens of Romania, Elisabeth (Carmen Sylva, 1843–1916) and Marie (1875–1938)

Paperback – 22 April 2020 (US & UK)

The history of the monarchy in Romania and of its four kings would be incomplete without the story of the queen consorts, who seem to have been even more fascinating personalities than the kings were. Especially the first two queen consorts, Elisabeth (Carmen Sylva) and Marie of Romania, became famous as writers during their lifetime. They both wrote in their mother tongues, Elisabeth in German and Marie in English, and published many of their books, not only in Romania, but also abroad, thus reaching a widespread readership, worldwide publicity, and literary recognition.

This affectionately collected, critically edited volume comprises the most precious tales and essays by the queen consorts, either translated into English (Carmen Sylva) or in the original English version (Marie of Romania).






About Moniek 1778 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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