Book News June 2019




An Audience with Queen Victoria: The Royal Opinion on 30 Famous Victorians

Paperback – 1 March 2019 (UK) & 1 June 2019 (US)

During her 63-year reign Queen Victoria met everyone from Charlotte Brontë to Buffalo Bill; she had opinions on all those who graced her parlor—and some who didn’t. This book examines the meetings and letters exchanged between the queen and a veritable who’s who of her time. It draws on often brutal character assessments in her journals and letters—Henry “Dr. Livingstone I presume” Stanley was “a determined ugly little Man.” Exploring those she met officially and personally, and her thoughts on figures of the time such as Jack the Ripper, this book unlocks a fascinating aspect of Victoria’s outlook through brand-new archival research, newspapers and interviews with descendants.

Ira: The Life and Times of a Princess 

Hardcover – 17 June 2019 (UK) & 28 May 2019 (US) A breathtakingly beautiful photo-narrative biography of the incredible life of Princess Ira von Fürstenberg – half Austro-Hungarian Princess, half Agnelli: model, actress, princess, socialite, heiress, mother, and jewellery designer. Bursting onto front-page news in 1955 at the age of 15 in a jewel-laden gondola-wedding in the last great assembly of European nobility, Princess Ira von Fürstenberg swung into the spotlight and has never left. Subject for master photographers Cecil Beaton and Helmut Newton, among others, actress alongside Klaus Kinski and Peter Lawford, and model for Vogue’s Diana Vreeland, Princess Ira has been an actress, model, muse, mother, socialite, jewellery designer, and creator of objets d’art. On and off screen, in and out of the flashbulb, Ira’s life – or, more accurately, lives – reads like a history of the jet set. More than just a chronicle of a gorgeously fascinating life, this lavish photographic biography is a truly sumptuous snapshot of the glamour and charm of a lost era, a prism through which to see the world of European royalty, Italian cinema in its heyday, couture at most haute, and parties at their wildest.

Maria Romanov: Third Daughter of the Last Tsar, Diaries and Letters, 1908–1918

Hardcover – 30 May 2019 (US) & 30 June 2019 (UK)

In Maria Romanov: Third Daughter of the Last Tsar, Diaries and Letters, 1908–1918, by translator and researcher Helen Azar with George Hawkins, Mashka’s voice is heard again through her intimate writings, presented for the first time in English. The Grand Duchess was much more than a pretty princess wearing white dresses in hundreds of faded sepia photographs; Maria’s surviving diaries and letters offer a fascinating insight into the private life of a loving family—from festivals and faith, to Rasputin and the coming Revolution; it is clear why this middle child ultimately became a pillar of strength and hope for them all. Maria’s gentle character belied her incredible courage, which emerged in the darkest hours of her brief life. “The incarnation of modesty elevated by suffering,” as Maria was described during the last weeks of her life, she was able to maintain her kindness and optimism, even in the midst of violence and degradation.

Queens of Sicily 1061-1266: The queens consort, regent and regnant of the Norman-Swabian era of the Kingdom of Sicily (Sicilian Medieval Studies)

Paperback – 6 June 2019 (US) & unknown (UK)

Eighteen women. Eighteen stories. Each one unique. Some never told before. They are the semi-forgotten women of European medieval history. This is the first compendium of detailed scholarly biographies of the countesses and queens of the Kingdom of Sicily during the Hauteville and Hohenstaufen reigns, based on original research in medieval charters, chronicles and letters, augmented by extensive on-site research at castles, cathedrals and towns across Europe. The multicultural Kingdom of Sicily described here encompassed the island and nearly half of the Italian peninsula. It was one of the most powerful kingdoms of Europe and the Mediterranean. Its queens came from Italy, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece and elsewhere, constituting a cosmopolitan sisterhood.

The Quest for Queen Mary

Paperback 13 June 2019 (UK) & 17 September 2019 (US)

When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary’s official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, this is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a bygone age. Giving much greater insight into Queen Mary than the official version, and including sharply observed encounters with, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester, and a young Queen Elizabeth, The Quest for Queen Mary is set to be a classic of royal publishing.

Queen of the World

Paperback – 13 June 2019 (UK)

On today’s world stage, one leader stands apart. Queen Elizabeth II has seen more of the planet and its people than any other head of state, and has engaged with them like no other monarch in British history. Since her coronation, she has visited over 130 countries across the ever-changing globe, acting as diplomat, stateswoman, pioneer and peace-broker. She has transformed her father’s old empire into the Commonwealth, her ‘family of nations’, and has come to know its leaders better than anyone. In 2018, they would gather in her own home to endorse her eldest son, the Prince of Wales, as her successor. With extensive access to the Queen’s family and staff, Hardman tells a true story full of drama, intrigue, exotic and even dangerous situations, heroes, rogues, pomp and glamour – and, at the centre of it all, the woman who has genuinely won the hearts of the world.

Elizabeth of Bohemia: A Novel about Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen

Paperback – 4 June 2019 (US) & 6 June 2019 (UK)

October 1612. King James I is looking to expand England’s influence in Europe, especially among the Protestants. He invites Prince Frederic of the Palatinate to London and offers him his 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. The fierce and intelligent Elizabeth moves to Heidelberg Castle, Frederic’s ancestral home, where she is favored with whatever she desires, and the couple begins their family. Amid much turmoil, the Hapsburg emperor is weakened, and with help from Bohemian rebels, Frederic takes over royal duties in Prague. Thus, Elizabeth becomes the Queen of Bohemia. But their reign is brief. Within the year, Catholic Europe unites to take back the Hapsburg throne. Defeated at the Battle of White Mountain, Frederic, Elizabeth, and their children are forced into exile for a much-reduced life in The Hague. Despite tumultuous seasons of separation and heartache, the Winter Queen makes every effort to keep her family intact. Written with cinematic flair, this historical novel brings in key figures such as Shakespeare and Descartes as it recreates the drama and intrigue of 17th-century England and the Continent. Elizabeth’s children included Rupert of the Rhine and Sophia of Hanover, from whom the Hanoverian line descended to the present Queen Elizabeth II.

Royal Women and Dynastic Loyalty (Queenship and Power)

Paperback – 18 June 2019 (UK & US)

Royal women did much more to wield power besides marrying the king and producing the heir. Subverting the dichotomies of public/private and formal/informal that gender public authority as male and informal authority as female, this book examines royal women as agents of influence. With an expansive chronological and geographic scope―from ancient to early modern and covering Egypt, Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Asia Minor―these essays trace patterns of influence often disguised by narrower studies of government studies and officials. Contributors highlight the theme of dynastic loyalty by focusing on the roles and actions of individual royal women, examining patterns within dynasties, and considering what factors generated loyalty and disloyalty to a dynasty or individual ruler. Contributors show that whether serving as the font of dynastic authority or playing informal roles of child-bearer, patron, or religious promoter, royal women have been central to the issue of dynastic loyalty throughout the ancient, medieval, and modern eras.

The King’s Pearl: Henry VIII and His Daughter Mary

Paperback – 15 June 2019 (UK) & 1 November 2019 (US)

Mary Tudor has always been known as ‘Bloody Mary’, the name given to her by later Protestant chroniclers who vilified her for attempting to re-impose Roman Catholicism in England. Although a more nuanced picture of the first queen regnant has since emerged, she is still stereotyped, depicted as a tragic and lonely figure, personally and politically isolated after the annulment of her parents’ marriage and rescued from obscurity only through the good offices of Katherine Parr.

Although Henry doted on Mary as a child and called her his ‘pearl of the world’, her determination to side with her mother over the annulment both hurt him as a father and damaged perceptions of him as a monarch commanding unhesitating obedience. However, once Mary had finally been pressured into compliance, Henry reverted to being a loving father and Mary played an important role in court life.

As Melita Thomas points out, Mary was a gambler – and not just with cards. Later, she would risk all, including her life, to gain the throne. As a young girl of just seventeen she made the first throw of the dice, defiantly maintaining her claim to be Henry’s legitimate daughter against the determined attempts of Anne Boleyn and the king to break her spirit.

Scottish Queens, 1034-1714

Paperback – 9 May 2019 (UK) & 28 June 2019 (US)

The lives of the Scottish queens, both those who ruled in their own right, and also the consorts, have largely been neglected in conventional history books. One of the earliest known Scottish queens was none other than the notorious Lady MacBeth. Was she really the wicked woman depicted in Shakespeare’s famous play? Was St Margaret a demure and obedient wife? Why did Margaret Logie exercise such an influence over her husband, David II, and have we underestimated James VI’s consort, Anne of Denmark, frequently written off as a stupid and wilful woman? These are just a few of the questions addressed by Dr Marshall in her entertaining, impeccably researched book.






About Moniek 1438 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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