Book News June 2023

first royal media war

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Rasputin’s Killer and his Romanov Princess 

Hardcover – 15 March 2023 (UK) & 23 June 2023 (US)

When the Tsar’s eighteen-year-old niece Princess Irina Romanov announced her marriage to Prince Felix Youssoupov, heir to the richest fortune in Russia, the Imperial family were shocked. Prince Felix and his wife Princess Irina had it all. When they married in St Petersburg in 1914 immense wealth and social standing were theirs. But fate had other ideas. In 1916 Felix was involved in one of the most famous crimes of the twentieth century – the murder of Gregory Rasputin, evil genius of Empress Alexandra. It was Irina’s royal blood that ensured Felix was never prosecuted for what many saw as a patriotic act. The following year revolution swept the country and in 1919 Felix and Irina were forced into exile for the rest of their lives. How did they survive in the real world when the money began to run out? Why did they live their lives in the shadow of Rasputin? How did Rasputin save them? And how did Felix redeem himself for Rasputin’s murder? No joint biography of Irina and Felix has ever been written. This book utilises little-known Russian sources, as well as documents recently purchased at auction to reveal new facts, throwing fresh light on the couple’s lives, their relationship and how they never quite escaped from the shadow of Rasputin.

Katherine Parr: Opportunist, Queen, Reformer: A Theological Perspective

Paperback – 15 March 2023 (UK) & 13 June 2023 (US)

Don Matzat here provides a new perspective on the life of Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of the infamous Henry VIII. While most biographers suggest that Katherine chose to marry the obese, irascible monarch in order to further some reformation or obey a divine imperative, the author goes against the tide and concludes that Katherine was an opportunist who married the king in order to enjoy the comforts of being the Queen of England, proven by her sumptuous lifestyle. But everything changed for Katherine when she had a dramatic conversion experience, embracing the primary tenets of the Protestant Reformation as described in her seminal work, The Lamentation of a Sinner. Her newly found belief placed her in a precarious position, not only with her husband but with the heresy hunters who, with the king’s blessing, beheaded those who held such beliefs. Yet Katherine had the courage to discuss her faith with her dangerous husband during the final months of his life. The life of Katherine Parr was one of drama, intrigue, danger, deceit, clandestine romance, scandal, tragedy and mystery. She came to a tragic end, and for three hundred years her burial site remained unknown. Katherine ruled England while Henry went to war against France. She was the first woman published in England under her own name. Her Lamentation of a Sinner is a little-known gem of the Protestant Reformation. Her influence upon the children of Henry, the future monarchs Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, would affect English history for many years to come.

Messalina: Empress, Adulteress, Libertine: The Story of the Most Notorious Woman of the Roman World 

Hardcover – 6 June 2023 (US)

The lubricious image of the Empress Messalina as a ruthless, predatory, and sexually insatiable schemer—derived from the work of male historians such as Tacitus and Suetonius—has taken deep root in the Western imagination.

Here, the classicist Honor Cargill-Martin puts this traditional narrative of Messalina to the test. She looks first at Messalina’s life as it is recounted in the primary sources, before using material and circumstantial evidence to reconstruct each aspect of Messalina’s character: politician, wife, adulteress, and prostitute. Finally, she explores how posterity has memorialized Messalina, whether as artist’s muse, epitome of depraved pagan womanhood, or as libertine icon portrayed in literature and film.

Cargill-Martin sets out not to entirely rewrite Messalina’s history, or to salvage her reputation, but to look at her life in the context of her time and to reclaim the humanity of a life story previously defined by currents of high politics and patriarchy.

The First Royal Media War: Edward VIII, The Abdication and the Press 

Hardcover – 6 April 2023 (UK) & 30 June 2023 (US)

The British press remained tactfully silent almost until the end of the crisis, but behind the scenes, a cold war was being fought. For the rest of his life, Edward fought to air his grievances against the ill-treatment to which he thought that he had been subjected. He believed that he had been forced to abdicate by a coalition of reactionaries grouped behind the Archbishop of Canterbury. Edward resented bitterly the ostracism to which he and Wallis were subjected by his brother and sister-in-law, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, especially the refusal to grant his wife royal status. With sometimes farcical results, Edward tried to find authors who put over his side of the story. Beaverbrook supported Edward but tried to bend Edward’s quest to fit his own agenda. The establishment did its utmost to restrain Edward and maintain a discreet silence over the crisis, but gradually members of the royal court abandoned reticence and fought back.

A Queen for All Seasons: A Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II 

Paperback – 27 June 2023 (US) & 6 April 2023 (UK)

A Queen for All Seasons is a perceptive, touching and engaging tribute to this unique woman: a treasure chest of first-hand writings, insights and snapshots of The Queen during key moments of her reign.

Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I: The Mother and Daughter Who Forever Changed British History 

Hardcover –  20 June 2023 (US)

In its originality, Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I sheds new light on two of history’s most famous women—the private desires, hopes, and fears that lay behind their dazzling public personas, and the surprising influence each had on the other during and after their lifetimes. In the process, Tracy Borman reframes our understanding of the entire Tudor era.

Princesses on the Wards: Royal Women in Nursing Through Wars and Revolutions

Paperback – 20 June 2023 (US) & 29 September 2022 (UK)

Beginning with two daughters of Queen Victoria – Princess Alice and Princess Helena – this book looks at the difficulties these royals faced while carving a worthwhile role in an age when the place of a well-born woman was considered to be in the home. Empress Alexandra of Russia, Queen Marie of Romania, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, and Princess Alice of Greece (mother of the Duke of Edinburgh) were just a few of Queen Victoria’s relatives who set an example of service well beyond that considered necessary for their rank. Not all of them were fully trained nurses, but each made a positive contribution towards alleviating suffering which cannot be overestimated.

Children of the House of Cleves: Anna and Her Siblings 

Hardcover – 15 June 2023 (UK) & 12 September 2023 (US)

Children of the House of Cleves describes and analyses the lives of Sybylla, Anna, Wilhelm and Amalia, the children of Johann III, Duke of Cleves. Though their parents were staunch Catholics, Wilhelm of Jülich‑Cleves‑Berg was a Lutheran – when it suited him. He challenged the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, over the strategically important Duchy of Guelders. He believed that France would support him, but Francis I left him defenceless and Guelders became part of the Habsburg Netherlands.

Matilda II: The Forgotten Queen 

Hardcover – 30 June 2023 (UK) & 30 August 2023 (US)

The wife of King Henry I and the mother of the Empress Maud is a woman and a Queen forgotten to history. She is frequently conflated with her daughter or her mother-in-law. She was born the daughter of the King of Scotland and an Anglo-Saxon princess. Her name was Edith, but her name was changed to Matilda at the time of her marriage. The Queen who united the line of William the Conqueror with the House of Wessex lived during an age marked by transition and turbulence.

The Hats of the Queen 

Hardcover – 11 July 2023 (US) & 8 June 2023 (UK)

The Hats of the Queen examines 50 iconic headpieces adorned by the Queen during her reign, uncovering the royal, political, and fashion landscape of the time.  In her 70 years in power, Queen Elizabeth II has made her mark on history, navigating the ups and downs of the past century, and wearing many hats – literally and figuratively.  In 1933, little Elizabeth, sits in a carriage alongside her grandfather King George V, wearing a round, pink hat hemmed with flowers. In 2020, the year the world fell into crisis with the covid pandemic, the sovereign dons a very similar hat. Nearly 100 years have passed between these two images, a century of politics, diplomacy, and fashion, which is told, in these pages, through the little-known story of the Queen’s hats.  With a foreword by royal correspondent Alastair Bruce, The Hats of the Queen is a beautiful and informative look back on the life and times of her majesty through these iconic accessories.

About Moniek Bloks 2732 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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