Charles II’s Favourite Mistress: Pretty, Witty Nell Gwyn
Nell Gwyn, the most infamous mistress of Charles II, was a commoner raised from the dingy back alleys of London to the stage and into a king’s arms. Hers was a true rags to riches story that saw a young girl rise from selling oranges to capturing the heart of a king. The Restoration period was one of change. After the troubled years of the English Civil War, it was time for pleasure, debauchery and entertainment with the ‘Merry Monarch’ restored to the throne. Nell was one of the first actresses on stage; a loveable comedienne who wowed audiences with her wit and charm. She fell in love with Charles Hart (one of the leading actors of the time), had a torrid affair with Lord Buckhurst and ultimately ended up in the king’s bed. She stayed on the stage for six years, but she stayed in the king’s heart for seventeen- his only mistress who was faithful to him. Set against the backdrop of Restoration London, this book charts Nell’s life and that of her family and friends – from her drunken mother and troublesome sister to the most notorious wits of the age John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester and George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. Nell had a generous heart and a mischievous spirit, and was friends with people from all walks of life. The only woman she really detested was another of the king’s mistresses, Louise de Kerouaille, known as the French Spy. This highly entertaining book will tell the story of Nell’s life – the good and the bad – and show why Nell truly embodies the spirit of the Restoration.
The Two Isabellas of King John
King John of England was married to two women: Isabella of Gloucester and Isabelle of Angoulême. The two women were central to shaping John and his reign, each in her own way molding the king and each other over their lives. Little is known about Isabella of Gloucester and she has largely become an historical footnote; Isabelle of Angoulême has a reputation as a witch and poisoner. However, both were products of their time, victims and pawns of the powerful men whose voices overwrote the experiences of women. By examining these two very different women through a modern feminist lens, _The Two Isabellas_ offers new insight into one of England’s lesser-known queens and a different interpretation of one of its least popular kings. In The Two Isabellas of King John, Kristen McQuinn offers new and intriguing insights into two of England’s important yet little understood queen-consorts, the wives of King John. Taking a feminist light, McQuinn brightly shines it on both England’s least well-known consort, Isabella of Gloucester, his first wife, and one of its least popular, Isabelle of Angoulême, his child bride.
Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Founding an Empire
Henry II became King of England in 1154 after twenty years of civil war. He was the first Plantagenet king, the founder of England’s most successful and longest-ruling dynasty. But Henry did not come to the throne alone. He had married Eleanor of Aquitaine, a feisty, formidable and powerful woman ten years his senior. Eleanor had spent fifteen years married to Louis VII of France before he divorced her, only to be angered when she married his young rival. Together, they were a medieval power couple who soon added the ultimate rank of king and queen consort to their list of titles. With them, the Angevin Empire was born. Over the decades, a wedge was driven between the king, fiercely protective of his empire, and Eleanor, who felt restrained in her husband’s shadow. Henry imprisoned his wife, fought his elder sons and pinned his hopes on his youngest, whose betrayal was the last straw. This book charts the early lives of Henry and Eleanor before they became a European power couple and examines the impact of their union on contemporaries and European politics. It explores the birth of the Angevin Empire that spread from Northumberland to the Mediterranean, and the causes of the disintegration of that vast territory, as well as the troublesome relationships between Henry and his sons, who dragged their father to the battlefield to defend his lands from their ambitious intriguing.
When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe
Sixteenth-century Europe was a time of destabilization of age-old norms and the waging of religious wars―yet it also witnessed the remarkable flowering of a pacific culture cultivated by a cohort of extraordinary women rulers who sat on Europe’s thrones, most notably Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Catherine de’ Medici.
Princely Power in Late Medieval France: Jeanne de Penthièvre and the War for Brittany (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series)
Jeanne de Penthièvre (c.1326–1384), duchess of Brittany, was an active and determined ruler who maintained her claim to the duchy throughout a war of succession and even after her eventual defeat. This in-depth study examines Jeanne’s administrative and legal records to explore her co-rule with her husband, the social implications of ducal authority, and her strategies of legitimization in the face of conflict. While studies of medieval political authority often privilege royal, male, and exclusive models of power, Erika Graham-Goering reveals how there were multiple coexisting standards of princely action, and it was the navigation of these expectations that was more important to the successful exercise of power than adhering to any single approach. Cutting across categories of hierarchy, gender, and collaborative rule, this perspective sheds light on women’s rulership as a crucial component in the power structures of the early Hundred Years’ War, and demonstrates that lordship retained salience as a political category even in a period of growing monarchical authority.
Uncertain Powers: Sen’yōmon-in and Landownership by Royal Women in Early Medieval Japan (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
Uncertain Powers is an original and much-needed analysis of female leadership in medieval Japan. In challenging current scholarship by exploring the important political and economic roles of twelfth- and thirteenth-century Japanese royal women, Kawai questions the traditional view of the era as one dominated by male retired monarchs and a warrior government. Instead the author populates it with royal wives and daughters who held the title of premier royal lady (nyoin) and owned extensive estates across the Japanese archipelago. Nyoin, whose power varied according to marital status, networks, and age, used their wealth and human networks to build temples and organize their entourages as salons to assert religious, cultural, and political influence. Confronted with social factors and gender disparities, they were motivated to develop coping strategies, the workings of which Kawai masterfully teases out from the abundant primary sources.
Escorting the Monarch: We Lead Others Follow
Escorting the Monarch is as close to an official history of the Metropolitan Police’s ‘Special Escort Group’ (SEG) as one could hope for. You may have seen the team at work; as the combination of motorcycles and cars pass you by, they glide elegantly and seemingly effortlessly through busy traffic. Developing a dedicated and diligent team culture, they are masters of their trade. They hold a well-earned reputation for excellence amongst their peers; delivering their passengers (and cargo) on time, safely, in a great deal of style, and without fuss or mishap. Professional and precise in the execution of their operations, they are neither shaken nor stirred. Although the work of the SEG demands exquisitely high levels of presentation there is little room for gloss or glitter. The individuals and property they are charged to protect are assessed by government to need the highest possible levels of protection. From queens, kings, presidents and emperors, to priceless works of art, terrorists and high risk prisoners, the group escort them all.
A Queen for All Seasons: A Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II on her Platinum Jubilee
Queens of the Crusades: Eleanor of Aquitaine and her Successors (England’s Medieval Queens)
Paperback – 21 October 2021 (UK) & unknown (US)
Alison Weir’s ground-breaking history of the queens of medieval England now moves into a period of even higher drama, from 1154 to 1291: years of chivalry, dynastic ambition, conflict with the church, baronial wars, and the all-pervading bonds of feudalism. We see events such as the murder of Becket, Magna Carta and the birth of parliaments from a new perspective. Her narrative begins with the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Henry II establishes a dynasty which rules for over three hundred years and creates the most powerful empire in western Christendom – but also sows the seeds for some of the most destructive family conflicts in history and for the collapse, under her son King John, of England’s power in Europe. The lives of Eleanor’s successors were just as remarkable: Berengaria of Navarre, queen of Richard the Lionheart, Isabella of Angoulême, queen of John, and Alienor of Provence, queen of Henry III, and finally Eleanor of Castile, the grasping but beloved wife of Edward I.
The Times Queen Elizabeth II: Her 70 year reign
Discover how the reign of Britain’s longest-serving monarch unfolded, as seen through fascinating Times articles and photography.
Published to commemorate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this full-colour book is a detailed profile of Britain’s longest-serving monarch.
The story of a life dedicated to public service is told from her time as a young princess to a hugely respected head of state.
Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Hearts
Elizabeth Stuart is one the most misrepresented – and underestimated – figures of the seventeenth century. Labelled a spendthrift more interested in the theatre and her pet monkeys than politics or her children, and long pitied as ‘The Winter Queen’, the direct ancestor of Elizabeth II was widely misunderstood. Nadine Akkerman’s biography reveals an altogether different woman, painting a vivid picture of a queen forged in the white heat of European conflict.
Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens (The British Library Exhibition Book)
This book seeks to refresh and retell the story of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots through their own words. Accompanying a major British Library exhibition, Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens brings new insights to the familiar tale of two powerful women whose relationship dominated English and Scottish politics for thirty years. Their personal history and struggle for dynastic pre-eminence are described and explained against the backdrop of religious conflict, rebellion, fear of foreign invasion, espionage and treason.
Elizabeth II: Princess, Queen, Icon
With just under a thousand portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, the National Portrait Gallery boasts some of the most treasured and famous official portraits of the Queen captured at key historic moments, as well as day-to-day images of the monarch at home and with family, following her journey from childhood, to princess and Queen, mother and grandmother. This publication highlights the most important portraits of Elizabeth II from the Gallery’s Collection. Paintings and photographs from the birth of Elizabeth II to the present will take readers on a visual journey through the life of Britain’s foremost icon.
Mary and Philip: The Marriage of Tudor England and Habsburg Spain (Studies in Early Modern European History)
Mary I, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, was Queen of England from 1553 until her death in 1558. For much of this time she ruled alongside her husband, King Philip II of Spain, forming a co-monarchy that put England at the heart of early modern Europe. In this book, Alexander Samson presents a bold reassessment of Mary and Philip’s reign, rescuing them from the neglect they have suffered at the hands of generations of historians. The co-monarchy of Mary I and Philip II put England at the heart of early modern Europe. This positive reassessment of their joint reign counters a series of parochial, misogynist and anti-Catholic assumptions, correcting the many myths that have grown up around the marriage and explaining the reasons for its persistent marginalisation in the historiography of sixteenth-century England. Using new archival discoveries and original sources, the book argues for Mary as a great Catholic queen, while fleshing out Philip’s important contributions as king of England.
The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana
For the first time, The Secret Royals uncovers the remarkable relationship between the Royal Family and the intelligence community, from the reign of Queen Victoria to the death of Princess Diana.
In an enthralling narrative, Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac show how the British secret services grew out of persistent attempts to assassinate Victoria and then operated on a private and informal basis, drawing on close personal relationships between senior spies, the aristocracy, and the monarchy. This reached its zenith after the murder of the Romanovs and the Russian revolution when, fearing a similar revolt in Britain, King George V considered using private networks to provide intelligence on the loyalty of the armed forces – and of the broader population.