Book News March 2021

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

Hardcover –15 March 2021 (US) & 15 December 2020 (UK)

Unlike other biographies, which have focused on the court politics of the Tudor era, the romantic desires of Henry VIII that drove his serial marriages, and the military and economic challenges to England at the time, this biography remembers the central influence of religious belief on the king and queen, and explains how Katherine’s devotion to the self-questioning protestant ethos had a directing influence on her actions. In particular, the author identifies her seminal work, “The Lamentation of a Sinner,” as the key to unlocking Katherine’s personality. These were more religious times than secular readers today might at first appreciate, but this book shows it is crucial to our understanding of why the last years of Henry VIII’s reign played out as they did, and how his last queen survived when her predecessors suffered divorce and execution.

Americans and Queen Marie of Romania: A Selection of Documents 

Paperback – 16 March 2021 (US & UK)

This collection of documents, comprised of three parts, illustrates the queen’s relationships with two remarkable Americans. The first selection is the diary of George Huntington, an American professor who visited Queen Marie, together with his family, in 1925. The second part, compiled by the British writer Hector Bolitho, presents the correspondence between Queen Marie and an American admirer, Ray Baker Harris. This text contains extensive quotes from the queen’s letters to the young American. The final section is a selection of letters written by Ray Baker Harris to the queen. Ray Baker Harris, later a librarian at the Library of Congress, compiled an extensive collection of materials relating to the Romanian queen and later donated them to the archives of Kent State University in Ohio.

Empress: Queen Victoria and India 

Paperback – 9 March 2021 (US) & 9 February 2021 (UK)

In this engaging and controversial book, Miles Taylor shows how both Victoria and Albert were spellbound by India, and argues that the Queen was humanely, intelligently, and passionately involved with the country throughout her reign and not just in the last decades. Taylor also reveals the way in which Victoria’s influence as empress contributed significantly to India’s modernization, both political and economic. This is, in a number of respects, a fresh account of imperial rule in India, suggesting that it was one of Victoria’s successes.


Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters 

Hardcover – 30 March 2021 (US & UK)

From the idyll of their cloistered early life, through their hidden war-time lives, into the divergent paths they took following their father’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, this book explores their relationship over the years. Andrew Morton’s latest biography offers unique insight into these two drastically different sisters—one resigned to duty and responsibility, the other resistant to it—and the lasting impact they have had on the Crown, the royal family, and the ways it adapted to the changing mores of the 20th century.

Cleopatra: The Queen Who Challenged Rome and Conquered Eternity 

Hardcover – 23 March 2021 (US) & 29 April 2021 (UK)

Cleopatra focuses on a twenty-year period that marked a sweeping change in Roman history, beginning with the assassination of Julius Caesar that led to the end of the Republic, and ending with the suicides of Antony and Cleopatra and the birth of the Augustan Empire. Angela brings the people, stories, customs, and traditions of this fascinating period alive as he transports us to the chaotic streets of the capital of the ancient world, the exotic port of Alexandria in Egypt, and to the bloody battlefields where an empire was won and lost.

Meticulously researched and rich with vivid detail, this sweeping history, reminiscent of the works of Simon Schama, Mary Beard’s SPQR, and Tom Holland’s Rubicon, recreates this remarkable era and the woman at its turbulent center.

Diana: Style Icon: A Celebration of the fashion of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales 

Hardcover – 23 March 2021 (US) & 29 October 2020 (UK)

Diana: Style Icon charts her fashion evolution through fifty looks – from ruffles to polka dots, from dreamy red-carpet classics to off-duty looks (including the now iconic pink Converse), and her confident, considered “revenge look”, emerged after the break-up of her marriage.

The books showcases legendary designers such as Chanel, Dior, Versace, Ferragamo, and Conran, and includes more exclusive ones, such as Bruce Oldfield, Catherine Walker, Christina Stambolian, Atelier Emanuel, who designed the unforgettable wedding dress.

Tastefully and elegantly illustrated throughout, this volume is a must-have for admirers of Lady Diana, fashion historians and fans of fashion illustration.

St James’s Palace: From Leper Hospital to Royal Court 

Hardcover – 15 March 2021 (US) & 24 June 2021 (UK)

In this first modern history of St James’s Palace, authors Simon Thurley, Rufus Bird, and Michael Turner shed new light on a remarkable building that, despite serving as the official residence of the British monarchy from 1698 to 1837, is by far the least known of the royal residences. The book explores the role of the palace as home to the heir to the throne before 1714, its impact on the development of London and the West End during the late Stuart period, and how, following the fire at the palace of Whitehall, St James’s became the principal seat of the British monarchy in 1698. The book also chronicles the arrangement and display of the paintings and furnishings making up the royal collection at St James’s, following the fortunes of the palace through the Victorian, Edwardian, and Elizabethan periods up to the present day. Today, the Palace is still a royal residence and often used for charitable functions, state visits, and other important ceremonies.

Royal Greenwich: A History in Kings and Queens 

Hardcover – 18 March 2021 (US) & 18 September 2020 (UK)

The royal history of Greenwich stretches back to the mid-fifteenth century, when it was the site of a major royal palace. The beautiful Queen’s House, completed in the 1630s, is the last remnant of this sprawling Tudor palace. From 1676 on, King Charles II’s Royal Observatory was a center of pioneering work for the improvement of navigation and global timekeeping, and the Royal Hospital for Seamen, opened in 1696, was a national institution for maritime welfare before it became the home of the Royal Naval College (1873–1998).

Written by a leading expert in British maritime history and Greenwich royal heritage, Royal Greenwich: A History in Kings and Queens showcases the National Maritime Museum’s exceptional royal portrait collection and presents centuries of fascinating history in one succinct volume.

Succession to the Throne in Early Modern Russia: The Transfer of Power 1450–1725

Hardcover – 18 March 2021 (US & UK)

This revisionist history of succession to the throne in early modern Russia, from the Moscow princes of the fifteenth century to Peter the Great, argues that legal primogeniture never existed: the monarch designated an heir that was usually the eldest son only by custom, not by law. Overturning generations of scholarship, Paul Bushkovitch persuasively demonstrates the many paths to succession to the throne, where designation of the heir and occasional elections were part of the relations of the monarch with the ruling elite, and to some extent the larger population. Exploring how the forms of designation evolved over the centuries as Russian culture changed, and in the later seventeenth century made use of Western practices, this study shows how, when Peter the Great finally formalized the custom in 1722 by enshrining the power of the tsar to designate in law, this was not a radical innovation but was in fact consistent with the experience of the previous centuries.

The Comedians of the King: “Opéra Comique” and the Bourbon Monarchy on the Eve of Revolution 

Hardcover – 12 March 2021 (US) & 23 November 2020 (UK)

In The Comedians of the King, Julia Doe traces the impact of Bourbon patronage on the development of opéra comique in the turbulent prerevolutionary years. Drawing on both musical and archival evidence, the book presents the history of this understudied genre and unpacks the material structures that supported its rapid evolution at the royally sponsored Comédie-Italienne. Doe demonstrates how comic theater was exploited in, and worked against, the monarchy’s carefully cultivated public image—a negotiation that became especially fraught after the accession of the music-loving queen, Marie Antoinette. The Comedians of the King examines the aesthetic and political tensions that arose when a genre with popular foundations was folded into the Bourbon propaganda machine, and when a group of actors trained at the Parisian fairs became official representatives of the sovereign, or comédiens ordinaires du roi.

The Making of the Tudor Dynasty

Paperback – 1 June 2021 (US) & 22 March 2021 (UK)

The peculiar origins of the Tudor family and the improbable saga of their rise and fall and rise again in the centuries before the Battle of Bosworth have been largely overlooked. Based on both published and manuscript sources from Britain and France, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty sets the record straight by providing the only coherant and authoritative account of the ancestors of the Tudor royal family from their beginnings in North Wales at the start of the thirteenth century, through royal English and French connections in the fifteenth century, to Henry Tudor’s victory at Bosworth Field in 1485.

About Moniek Bloks 2666 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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