Book News November 2019




The Prince & I: My Life with Prince Bira of Siam

Paperback – 12 November 2019 (US) & 7 October 2019 (UK)

The Prince & I is the story of the passionate love of Bira, Prince of Siam, grandson of King Mongkut of The King & I fame, and the young Englishwoman who would become his wife, Princess Ceril Birabongse. The fascinating autobiography charts the life of Prince and Princess Birabongse, a life that was constantly filled with excitement and fascinating people, including Noel Coward, Princess Marina, The Duchess of Kent, and even Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess. Illustrating her narrative with a selection of private photographs, extending from her childhood years to her elegant retirement on Lake Garda, the author paints a rich picture of life during the golden days of the 1930s, and of a man who was not only a Prince, but a sculptor, Olympic sailor, and racing driver – the only Southeast Asian Formula One driver of the 20th Century.

The Wicked Wit of the Royal Family

Hardcover – 7 November 2019 (UK & US)

There is no doubt that the British royal family is THE most famous family in the world. Watched and picked over in the media for everything from fashion choices to baby bumps, sporting achievements to nightclub preferences, there doesn’t seem to be a moment when they can escape public scrutiny. But, somehow, they still manage to maintain a sense of humour – and it’s those flashes of fun and brilliance that this book celebrates.

From Prince Philip’s gaffe-prone remarks (most of which appear ON camera rather than off) to the ‘in’ jokes shared by the knowing smiles of the younger royals and the Queen’s wickedly dry and often bitingly funny remarks; from Prince Charles’s asides to the Duchess of Cornwall to the self-deprecating smile of the Duchess of Cambridge and the belly laughs that appeal to Prince Harry. This book presents the other side of royal protocol and perhaps gives a glimpse of the real lives of this much-loved clan.

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.

Lust, Lies and Monarchy: The Secrets Behind Britain’s Royal Portraits

Paperback – 1 November 2019 (US) & Unknown (UK)

People have long been fascinated by the stories behind royal portraits. This volume takes readers inside royal families by way of great paintings, like Holbein’s Henry VIII, van Dyck’s Charles I, Millais’ The Princes in the Tower, Freud’s Elizabeth II, and more. Featuring incredible, little known stories of the royals and illustrates, this beautiful collection is illustrated with color paintings, photos, family trees and Royal London walking tours with maps.

elizabeth widville

Elizabeth Widville, Lady Grey: Edward IV’s Chief Mistress and the ‘Pink Queen’

Hardcover – 31 July 2019 (UK) & 2 November 2019 (US)

Wife to Edward IV and mother to the Princes in the Tower and later Queen Elizabeth of York, Elizabeth Widville was a central figure during the War of the Roses. Much of her life is shrouded in speculation and myth even her name, commonly spelled as Woodville , is a hotly contested issue. Born in the turbulent fifteenth century, she was famed for her beauty and controversial second marriage to Edward IV, who she married just three years after he had displaced the Lancastrian Henry VI and claimed the English throne. As Queen Consort, Elizabeth s rise from commoner to royalty continues to capture modern imagination. Undoubtedly, it enriched the position of her family. Her elevated position and influence invoked hostility from Richard Neville, the Kingmaker , which later led to open discord and rebellion. Throughout her life and even after the death of her husband, Elizabeth remained politically influential: briefly proclaiming her son King Edward V of England before he was diposed by her brother-in-law, the infamous Richard III, she would later play an important role in securing the succession of Henry Tudor in 1485 and his marriage to her daughter Elizabeth of York, thus and ending the War of the Roses. Elizabeth Widville was an endlessly enigmatic historical figure, who has been obscured by dramatizations and misconceptions. In this fascinating and insightful biography, Dr John Ashdown-Hill brings shines a light on the truth of her life.

Elizabeth I (The English Monarchs Series)

Reprint Edition – 26 November 2019 (US & UK)

No one thought that Elizabeth would live to become Queen of England. Her father, Henry VIII, beheaded her mother, Anne Bolyn, for treason in 1536. He then disowned his daughter, declaring her illegitimate. But in 1544, Parliament reestablished the young princess in the line of succession after her half brother and her half sister. Endowed with immense personal courage and a keen awareness of her responsibility as a ruler, Elizabeth commanded throughout her reign the unwavering respect and allegiance of her subjects.

The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 2

Hardcover – 19 November 2019 (US & UK)

The official companion to the second and third seasons of the Emmy-winning Netflix drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, featuring additional historical background, expert commentary, and beautifully reproduced images

Uncrowned Queen: The Treacherous Life of Margaret Beaufort, Tudor Rebel

Hardcover – 7 November 2019 (US & UK)

During the bloody and uncertain days of the Wars of the Roses, Margaret Beaufort was married to the half brother of the Lancastrian king Henry VI. A year later she endured a traumatic birth that brought her and her son close to death. She was just thirteen years old.

As the battle for royal supremacy raged between the houses of Lancaster and York, Margaret, who was descended from Edward III and thus a critical threat, was forced to give up her son – she would be separated from him for fourteen years. But few could match Margaret for her boundless determination and steely courage. Surrounded by enemies and conspiracies in the enemy Yorkist court, Margaret remained steadfast, only just escaping the headman’s axes as she plotted to overthrow Richard III in her efforts to secure her son the throne.

Against all odds, in 1485 Henry Tudor was victorious on the battlefield at Bosworth. Through Margaret’s royal blood Henry was crowned Henry VII, King of England, and Margaret became the most powerful woman in England – Queen in all but name.

Nicola Tallis’s gripping account of Margaret’s life, one that saw the final passing of the Middle Ages, is a true thriller, revealing the life of an extraordinarily ambitious and devoted woman who risked everything to ultimately found the Tudor dynasty.

The Love Affairs of Mary Queen of Scots: A Political History

Hardcover – 5 November 2019 (US & UK)

Mary, Queen of Scots, also known as Mary Stuart, was one of the most well-known and controversial monarchs of the sixteenth century. She ascended to the throne of Scotland at only six days old and would eventually become ruler of four countries at once—Scotland, England, Ireland, and France. She was known for being intelligent, compassionate, and tolerant, despite the popularity of that time for religious persecution. Despite being well-liked, Mary’s reign was a tumultuous one: she was married three times, was forced to abdicate her throne, and was eventually imprisoned and beheaded by her cousin, Elizabeth I of England.

What caused Mary’s rapid descent from royalty? In this brand-new edition of the historical biography, Major Martin Hume analyzes Mary Queen of Scots’s fall from power based on her love affairs. Though many previous historians had assumed that her downfall was based on her virtue or vice, Hume claims in his history that Mary’s ruin was not based on her “goodness or badness as a woman, but from a certain weakness of character.”

Discover the ups and downs of Mary Stuart’s life and reign as queen in The Love Affairs of Mary Queen of Scots.

Anna of Denmark and Henrietta Maria: Virgins, Witches, and Catholic Queens (Queenship and Power)

Paperback – 4 December 2019 (US) & 6 November 2019 (UK)

This book examines how early Stuart queens navigated their roles as political players and artistic patrons in a culture deeply conflicted about the legitimacy of female authority. Anna of Denmark and Henrietta Maria both employed powerful female archetypes such as Amazons and the Virgin Mary in court performances. Susan Dunn-Hensley analyzes how darker images of usurping, contaminating women, epitomized by the witch, often merged with these celebratory depictions. By tracing these competing representations through the Jacobean and Caroline periods, Dunn-Hensley peels back layers of misogyny from historical scholarship and points to rich new lines of inquiry. Few have written about Anna’s religious beliefs, and comparing her Catholicism with Henrietta Maria’s illuminates the ways in which both women were politically subversive. This book offers an important corrective to centuries of negative representation, and contributes to a fuller understanding of the role of queenship in the English Civil War and the fall of the Stuart monarchy.

The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel

Paperback – 5 November 2019 (US) & 23 January 2020 (UK)

Diana, Catherine, Meghan…glamorous Princess Margaret outdid them all. Springing into post-World War II society, and quite naughty and haughty, she lived in a whirlwind of fame and notoriety. Georgie Blalock captures the fascinating, fast-living princess and her “set” as seen through the eyes of one of her ladies-in-waiting.

In dreary, post-war Britain, Princess Margaret captivates everyone with her cutting edge fashion sense and biting quips. The royal socialite, cigarette holder in one hand, cocktail in the other, sparkles in the company of her glittering entourage of wealthy young aristocrats known as the Margaret Set, but her outrageous lifestyle conflicts with her place as Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister. Can she be a dutiful princess while still dazzling the world on her own terms?

Post-war Britain isn’t glamorous for The Honorable Vera Strathmore. While writing scandalous novels, she dreams of living and working in New York, and regaining the happiness she enjoyed before her fiancé was killed in the war. A chance meeting with the Princess changes her life forever. Vera amuses the princess, and what—or who—Margaret wants, Margaret gets. Soon, Vera gains Margaret’s confidence and the privileged position of second lady-in-waiting to the Princess. Thrust into the center of Margaret’s social and royal life, Vera watches the princess’s love affair with dashing Captain Peter Townsend unfurl.

But while Margaret, as a member of the Royal Family, is not free to act on her desires, Vera soon wants the freedom to pursue her own dreams. As time and Princess Margaret’s scandalous behavior progress, both women will be forced to choose between status, duty, and love…

Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of France and England, Mother of Empires

Hardcover – 15 November 2019 (UK) & 1 June 2020 (US)

In the competition for remarkable queens, Eleanor of Aquitaine tends to win. In fact, her story sometimes seems so extreme it ought to be made up.

The headlines: orphaned as a child, duchess in her own right, Queen of France crusader, survivor of a terrible battle, kidnapped by her own husband, captured by pirates, divorced for barrenness, Countess of Anjou, Queen of England, mother of at least five sons and three daughters, supporter of her sons’ rebellion against her own husband, his prisoner for fifteen years, ruler of England in her own right, traveller across the Pyrenees and Alps in winter in her late sixties and seventies, and mentor to the most remarkable queen medieval France was to know (her own granddaughter, obviously).

It might be thought that this material would need no embroidery. But the reality is that Eleanor of Aquitaine s life has been subjected to successive reinventions over the years, with the facts usually losing the battle with speculation and wishful thinking.

In this biography, Sara Cockerill has gone back to the primary sources and the wealth of recent first-rate scholarship, and assessed which of the claims about Eleanor can be sustained on the evidence. The result is a complete re-evaluation of this remarkable woman s even more remarkable life. A number of oft-repeated myths are debunked and a fresh vision of Eleanor emerges. In addition, the book includes the fruits of her own research, breaking new ground on Eleanor s relationship with the Church, her artistic patronage and her relationships with all of her children, including her family by her first marriage.

Diaries of an Egyptian Princess

Hardcover – 15 November 2019 (UK) & 3 May 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.

Rival Sisters: Mary & Elizabeth Tudor

Paperback – 13 November 2019 (US & UK)

“Partners both in throne and grave, here rest we two sisters Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of one resurrection.”

This inscription is visible on the tomb where Elizabeth I and her half sister, Mary I, lie buried together in one vault in the North Aisle of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey. It is the relationship between Elizabeth and her Scottish cousin Mary Stuart that is often discussed and pondered over while the relationship between Elizabeth and her own half sister is largely forgotten. Yet it is the relationship with Mary Tudor that forged Elizabeth’s personality and set her on the path to queenship.

Mary’s reign was the darkest period in Elizabeth’s life. “I stood in danger of my life, my sister was so incensed against me,” Elizabeth reminded her councillors when they pressed her to name a successor.It is time to tell the whole story of the fierce rivalry between the Tudor half sisters who became their father’s successors.






About Moniek 1469 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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