Elizabeth Revealed: 500 Facts about the Queen and Her World
Elizabeth Revealed is a lively and affectionate celebration of The Queen’s long and eventful life. This gorgeously illustrated book blends personal and public, frivolous and factual in a tribute to an extraordinary woman and the sweeping social changes she has lived through. The enjoyable ‘500 Facts’ format highlights surprising aspects of The Queen’s intimate life, the good and the bad years. It offers illuminating glimpses into a changing monarchy and royal family life as an elegant young princess developed into the most famous woman in the world.
The Royal Art of Poison: Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicines and Murder Most Foul
Hardcover – 20 September 2018 (UK)
The story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, the royal families of Western Europe have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family’s spoons, tried on their underpants and tested their chamber pots. Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications and filthy living conditions. Women wore makeup made with mercury and lead. Men rubbed faeces on their bald spots. Physicians prescribed mercury enemas, arsenic skin cream, drinks of lead filings and potions of human fat and skull, fresh from the executioner. Gazing at gorgeous portraits of centuries past, we don’t see what lies beneath the royal robes and the stench of unwashed bodies; the lice feasting on private parts; and worms nesting in the intestines. In The Royal Art of Poison, Eleanor Herman tells the true story of Europe’s glittering palaces: one of medical bafflement, poisonous cosmetics, ever-present excrement, festering natural illness and, sometimes, murder.
Majesty: Elizabeth II and the Royal House of Windsor
Majesty is the enthralling story of the House of Winsdor, focussing on the personal and political intrigues that have characterized the reign of Elizabeth II. Fully illustrated with contemporary photographs, it describes the fluctuating fortunes of the Windsors, from the dramatic abdication of the Queen’s uncle, Edward VIII, to the tumultuous relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Set against the colourful backdrop of key events – such as the “Great Smog” that brought London to a halt in 1952; the IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten during the Northern Ireland “Troubles”; the crisis triggered by the death of Princess Diana; the wedding of Prince William to “commoner” Kate Middleton; and the changing face of world politics – this is the story not only of a family, but also a history of our times.
Royal Marriages: Diana, Camilla, Kate & Meghan – and princesses who did not live happily ever after
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, made history when she married Prince Harry. The divorced, bi-racial American, descended from African slaves, has been welcomed into the British royal family. While hers is clearly a love match, this has rarely been the case for royal brides. Only Queen Victoria and the present Queen Elizabeth II were able to marry the princes they loved.
Traditionally, English princes always married for dynastic and political reasons and large dowries. Few of these arranged marriages were happy. Royal wives were regarded as ‘baby factories’ and it was seen as normal for kings and princes to take mistresses. The young foreign princesses who married Edward II and James I found their husbands had male lovers – but still needed to sire sons to continue their dynasties.
The raffish penniless Charles II, on his return from exile, married a teenage Portugese princess for her enormous dowry and appointed his pregnant mistress as her lady-in-waiting. On learning the truth his bride fainted. A centure later, an equally shocked Princess Augusta of Saxe-Coburg threw up and ruined her wedding gown on seeing her husband’s mistress at her wedding ceremony.
The future George IV also married for money but found his bride, Princess Caroline of Brunswick, physically repulsive, consummated the marriage on their wedding night but refused to allow his wife to be crowned beside him in what became the first War of the Wales.
The disastrous mismatch of Prince Charles and Princess Diana became the second War of the Wales. Royal Marriages reveals the serious misdiagnosis of Diana by a royal physician and a leading psychiatrist. After several scandals including ‘Camillagate’, the Queen ordered the feuding couple to divorce.
Decades later, the Queen relaxed the rules, allowing Prince Charles to marry the woman he had always loved. In 2011, Her Majesty allowed Prince William to marry Kate Middleton and in 2017 gave her permission for a third love match, that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. These exceptional women and the late Princess Diana have changed the face of the British monarchy.
The King Who Had To Go: Edward VIII, Mrs. Simpson and the Hidden Politics of the Abdication Crisis
How does the machinery of government respond when a King steps out of line? The relationship between Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson created a constitutional crisis that has fascinated the public for decades. Unwilling to accept the idea of the twice-married American as future Queen of England, the government was determined to pressure the King into giving up Mrs Simpson and, when that failed, into giving up his crown. The King’s phone lines were tapped by his own government, dubious police reports poisoned Mrs Simpson’s reputation, and threats to sabotage her divorce were deployed to edge the King towards abdication. The hopeless attempts of the King’s allies, particularly Winston Churchill, to keep him on the throne were dismissed as sinister conspiracy, whilst the King wrecked his own chances with wildly unrealistic goals and ill-thought-out schemes that served only to frame him as erratic and unreliable as a monarch. As each side was overwhelmed by desperation and distrust, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin fought to steer events to a smooth conclusion. In this fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the royal abdication crisis of 1936, Adrian Phillips reveals the previously untold story of the hidden political machinations and insidious battles in Westminster and Whitehall that settled the fate of the King and Mrs Simpson.
Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret
She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando clam up. She cold-shouldered Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor.
Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. John Fowles hoped to keep her as his sex-slave. Dudley Moore propositioned her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was in love with her.
For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy. “If they knew what I had done in my dreams with your royal ladies” he confided to a friend, “they would take me to the Tower of London and chop off my head!”
Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding.
In her 1950’s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman.
The tale of Princess Margaret is pantomime as tragedy, and tragedy as pantomime. It is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.
Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues and essays, Ma’am Darling is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography, and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.
Queen Elizabeth II: A Celebration of her Life and Reign
Written by the former ITV News Royal Editor, Tim Ewart, this beautifully illustrated book looks at the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history. Unique in containing over 100 images, many of which are from the Royal Archives, this fascinating book looks at the Queen’s reign, which has seen some of the most remarkable events in the history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. During this time, Her Majesty has maintained traditions that link the United Kingdom of today with a history that stretches back over more than a thousand years. From royal tours to state visits, and from day-to-day engagements to notable family events and grand occasions – such as Trooping the Colour – Queen Elizabeth II is a delightful celebration of this historical figure.
Queens of the Conquest: England’s Medieval Queens Book One
The lives of England’s medieval queens were packed with incident—love, intrigue, betrayal, adultery, and warfare—but their stories have been largely obscured by centuries of myth and omission. Now esteemed biographer Alison Weir provides a fresh perspective and restores these women to their rightful place in history.
Spanning the years from the Norman conquest in 1066 to the dawn of a new era in 1154, when Henry II succeeded to the throne and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the first Plantagenet queen, was crowned, this epic book brings to vivid life five women, including: Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, the first Norman king; Matilda of Scotland, revered as “the common mother of all England”; and Empress Maud, England’s first female ruler, whose son King Henry II would go on to found the Plantagenet dynasty. More than those who came before or after them, these Norman consorts were recognized as equal sharers in sovereignty. Without the support of their wives, the Norman kings could not have ruled their disparate dominions as effectively.
Drawing from the most reliable contemporary sources, Weir skillfully strips away centuries of romantic lore to share a balanced and authentic take on the importance of these female monarchs. What emerges is a seamless royal saga, an all-encompassing portrait of English medieval queenship, and a sweeping panorama of British history.
The Warrior Queen: The Life and Legend of Aethelflaed, Daughter of Alfred the Great
Æthelflæd, eldest daughter of Alfred the Great, has gone down in history as an enigmatic and almost legendary figure. To the popular imagination, she is the archetypal warrior queen, renowned for her heroic struggle against the Danes and her independent rule of the Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. In fiction, however, she has also been cast as the mistreated wife who seeks a Viking lover, and struggles to be accepted as a female ruler in a patriarchal society. The sources from her own time, and later, reveal a more complex, nuanced and fascinating image of the “Lady of the Mercians.” A skilled diplomat who forged alliances with neighboring territories, she was a shrewd and even ruthless leader willing to resort to deception and force to maintain her power. Yet she was also a patron of learning, who used poetic tradition and written history to shape her reputation as a Christian maiden engaged in an epic struggle against the heathen foe. The real Æthelflæd emerges as a remarkable political and military leader, admired in her own time, and a model of female leadership for writers of later generations.
Empress: Queen Victoria and India
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.
Historical Heroines: One Hundred Women You Should Know About
Paperback – 2 September 2018 (US)
Keeping it to just 100 was a struggle. But we figured that any more miscast, missing and misunderstood women in one sitting would push you over the edge in your righteous, indignant fury. So actually, we’re thinking of you. (You’re welcome).
It’s a broad mix as we have delved into the growing pile of women’s histories and selected those gals we felt were interesting, compelling or just fun. Many will be familiar in their native countries and celebrated in folklore legend but we believe they deserve a wider audience.
There are thousands more that could have been included but it’s a short book and we could only pick 100\. What unites our cast of characters is that they have all suffered being miscast, type cast or simply cast aside.
So, sit back. Read. Enjoy. And kick some butt in solidarity.
The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily
The riveting history of a beautiful queen, a shocking murder, a papal trial — and a reign as triumphant as any in the Middle Ages.
On March 15, 1348, twenty-two-year-old Joanna I, Queen of Naples, stood trial for the murder of her husband before the Pope and his court in Avignon. Determined to defend herself, Joanna won her acquittal against overwhelming odds. Victorious, she returned to Naples and ruled over one of Europe’s most prestigious courts for the next three decades — until she herself was killed.
My Dearest, Dearest Albert: Queen Victoria’s Life Through Her Letters and Journals
Using excerpts from her letters and diaries, this book shows the very human face of Queen Victoria, from spirited young princess to caring Queen, passionate bride and loving mother to great-grandmother of a royal dynasty who gave her name to the age of improvement.
Photographs of Queen Victoria most often show a plump Empress wearing widow’s black; serious and regal. The posed portrait photos were stiff, formal affairs, partly because subjects needed to stay still for the exposure and partly because in Victorian England life was a serious business.
In reality, the character of Alexandrina Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and latterly in her long reign, Empress of India, is rather different. In private, at least, Victoria had a reputation for being fun-loving and entertaining. Victoria kept a daily journal from the age of thirteen, which by the time of her death ran to 122 volumes. She writes openly and in great detail, revealing herself to be emotional and honest about her own feelings and experiences, as well as her opinions of other people. She praises Albert and pours out her love and desire for her husband, her adored lover, friend and companion.
This book shows the redoubtable Victoria at her most human, whether enthusing over her hobbies and interests, delighting in her children and grandchildren, commenting on the ten different Prime Ministers who served during her reign, or sharing her love for her dearest, dearest Albert.
Margaret Tudor: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister
When the thirteen year old Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York, married King James IV of Scotland in a magnificent proxy ceremony held at Richmond Palace in January 1503, no one could have guessed that this pretty, redheaded princess would go on to have a marital career as dramatic and chequered as that of her younger brother Henry VIII. Left widowed at the age of just twenty three after her husband was killed by her brother s army at the battle of Flodden, Margaret was made Regent for her young son and was temporarily the most powerful woman in Scotland – until she fell in love with the wrong man, lost everything and was forced to flee the country. In a life that foreshadowed that of her tragic, fascinating granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots, Margaret hurtled from one disaster to the next and ended her life abandoned by virtually everyone: a victim both of her own poor life choices and of the simmering hostility between her son, James V and her brother, Henry VIII.
Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the Royal Household
Behind the Throne is a history of family life.
The families concerned were royal families. But they still had to get up in the morning. They ate and entertained their friends and worried about money. Henry VIII kept tripping over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on the drink bills.
The great difference is that royal families had more help with their lives than most. Charles I maintained a household of 2,000 people. Victoria’s medical establishment alone consisted of thirty doctors, three dentists and a chiropodist. Even in today’s more democratic climate, Elizabeth II keeps a full-time staff of 1,200. A royal household was a community, a vast machine. Everyone, from James I’s Master of the Horse down to William IV’s Assistant Table Decker, was there to smooth the sovereign’s path through life while simultaneously confirming his or her status.
Behind the Throne uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking the reader on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another and exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads: the power struggles and petty rivalries, the tension between duty and desire; the practicalities of cooking dinner for thousands, or ensuring the king always won when he played a game of tennis.
Behind the Throne is nothing less than a domestic history of the royal household, a reconstruction of life behind the throne. Readers go on progress with Elizabeth I as she takes her court and her majesty to her subjects. They dance the conga round the state rooms of Buckingham Palace with George VI.
They find out what it was like to dine with queens, and walk with kings.
Bloody Mary: Tudor Terror, 1553-1558 (A History of Terror)
When Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, succeeded to the throne of England in 1553 it was with wild rejoicing and a degree of popularity rarely seen on the accession of a British monarch. Yet at her death five years later she was almost universally reviled and hated by her people so much so that she was posthumously awarded the sobriquet Bloody Mary. Mary’s revenge on the church and on a religion she hated was swift and total. Noblemen like the Duke of Northumberland, would-be queens like Lady Jane Grey, churchmen like Thomas Cranmer and bishops Latimer and Ridley, Mary’s fires or the executioner’s axe ended the lives of all of them. During her brief reign she restored the Catholic faith to England and had over 280 Protestant martyrs burned at the stake. For a reign that looked so promising Mary’s brief period in power brought the greatest officially sanctioned religious bloodletting the country had ever seen. And at the end, the stench of the execution fires and the grey smoke that settled like a pall across the country seemed to epitomize the reactionary forces that had assumed control.
Domina: The Women Who Made Imperial Rome
Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero—these are the names history associates with the early Roman Empire. Yet, not a single one of these emperors was the blood son of his predecessor. In this captivating history, a prominent scholar of the era documents the Julio-Claudian women whose bloodline, ambition, and ruthlessness made it possible for the emperors’ line to continue.
Eminent scholar Guy de la Bédoyère, author of Praetorian, asserts that the women behind the scenes—including Livia, Octavia, and the elder and younger Agrippina—were the true backbone of the dynasty. De la Bédoyère draws on the accounts of ancient Roman historians to revisit a familiar time from a completely fresh vantage point. Anyone who enjoys I, Claudius will be fascinated by this study of dynastic power and gender interplay in ancient Rome.