Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen
One of Europe’s great queens, Isabella of Castile is also one of the least well known, but undeservedly so. For no other European queen in history can fully rival her power or achievements as a female ruler who overcame huge obstacles. Formidable, tenacious and ambitious, as a teenager she saw off rivals to the crown from within her own family before going on to rule Castile in her own right. Isabella was only twenty-three years old in 1474 when she ascended the throne of Castile, the largest and strongest kingdom in Hispania. At a time when successful queens were few and far between, Isabella faced not only the considerable challenge of being a young, female ruler in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world, but also of reforming a major European kingdom riddled with crime, debt, corruption and religious factionism. Her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon united two kingdoms, a royal partnership in which Isabella more than held her own. Their pivotal reign was long and transformative, leaving behind a legacy that would resonate across the centuries that followed. By the time of her death in 1504, Isabella had laid the foundations not just of modern Spain, but of one of Europe’s greatest empires. In this major new biography, Giles Tremlett chronicles the life of Isabella of Castile as she led her country out of the middle ages and harnessed the newest ideas and tools of the early Renaissance to turn her ill-disciplined nation into a truly modern state with a powerful and ambitious monarch at its centre. With authority and insight, he relates the story of one of the most legendary and controversial of great European queens.
Anne Boleyn in London
Romantic victim? Ruthless other woman? Innocent pawn? Religious reformer? Fool, flirt and adulteress? Politician? Witch? During her life, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s ill-fated second queen, was internationally famous – or notorious; today, she still attracts passionate adherents and furious detractors. It was in London that most of the drama of Anne Boleyn’s life and death was played out – most famously, in the Tower of London, the scene of her coronation celebrations, of her trial and execution, and where her body lies buried. Londoners, like everyone else, clearly had strong feelings about her, and in her few years as a public figure Anne Boleyn was influential as a patron of the arts and of French taste, as the centre of a religious and intellectual circle, and for her purchasing power, both directly and as a leader of fashion. It was primarily to London, beyond the immediate circle of the court, that her carefully ‘spun’ image as queen was directed during the public celebrations surrounding her coronation.In the centuries since Anne Boleyn’s death, her reputation has expanded to give her an almost mythical status in London, inspiring everything from pub names to music hall songs, and novels to merchandise including pin cushions with removable heads. And now there is a thriving online community surrounding her – there are over fifty Twitter accounts using some version of her name. This book looks at the evidence both for the effect London and its people had on the course of Anne Boleyn’s life and death, and the effects she had, and continues to have, on them.
This book describes a selection of people caught up in the turmoil that presaged the reformation – a period of change instigated by a king whose desire for a legitimate son was to brutally sweep aside an entire way of life. The most famous and influential of the victims were the two people closest to Henry VIII. His mentor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a great churchman and a diplomat of consummate skill. The other was to be the King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. These two adversaries, equally determined to succeed, had risen above the usual expectations of their time. Wolsey, of humble birth, became a price of the church, enjoying his position to the full, before coming into conflict with a woman who had no intention of being another passing fancy for the king. She would become the mother of one of the greatest and most famous of England’s monarchs. They were brought down by the factions surrounding them and the selfish indifference of the man they thought they could trust. Though they succumbed to the forces aligned against them, their courage and achievements are remembered, and their places in history assured.
Royal Sisters: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret
In Royal Sisters, Anne Edwards, author of the best-selling Vivien Leigh: A Biography and Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor, has written the first dual biography of Elizabeth, the princess who was to become Queen, and her younger sister, Margaret, who was to be her subject. From birth to maturity, they were the stuff of which dreams are made. “I’m three and you’re four,” the future Queen, then a child, imperiously informed her sister. The younger girl, not understanding this reference to their position in the succession, proudly countered, “No, you’re not. I’m three, you’re seven.” The royal sisters had no choice in their historic positions, but behind the palace gates and within the all-too-human confines of their personalities, they displayed tremendous individuality and suffered the usual symptoms of sibling rivalry. Royal Sisters provides an unprecedented and intimate portrait of these most famous siblings during their formative and dramatic youthful years. It is also one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating stories of sisterly loyalty. Edwards’s book is an honest look at how the royal sisters feel toward each other, their parents, their close relations and the men whom they have loved. It openly discusses, with new insights and information, the romance of Elizabeth and Philip and the tragic aborted love affair between Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend, and it has a cast of characters ranging from the youthful sisters’ suitors to Winston Churchill and the entire Royal Family. It is also the story of the making of a queen, of the high drama of her situation in the Townsend affair, of the real effect their uncle’s abdication had on the sisters’ lives, and of the internecine feuds that have brewed within the Royal Family since that time. Brought vividly to life through the many personal interviews of close royal associates, filled with new facts, previously unpublished anecdotes and photographs, Royal Sisters is a never-before-glimpsed look at the relationship of the Queen and Princess Margaret.
Arbella Stuart: England’s Almost Queen
In 1562, Elizabeth I, the last of Henry VIII’s children, lay dying of smallpox, and the curse of the Tudor succession again reared its head. The queen was to recover, but the issue remained: if the queen did not produce an heir, who was next in line to succeed?
Enter Lady Arbella Stuart, cousin to both the English queen and James VI of Scotland, a woman whose parents’ marriage had been orchestrated to provide an heir to the English throne. Raised by her formidable grandmother, Bess of Hardwick, Arbella lived her life in Elizabeth’s shadow and, unfortunately, at her mercy.
Jill Armitage lovingly revitalises Arbella’s tale, focusing on her lineage, her life and her legacy. Through her story we discover a well-born, well-educated woman desperate to control her own fate, but who is ultimately powerless against those in the scheming Tudor court; and we explore the harsh reality that comes from being on the wrong side of the calculated revenge of a jealous queen.
Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World
Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737), Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719-1772), and Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz (1744-1818) were three German princesses who became Queens Consort-or, in the case of Augusta, Queen in Waiting, Regent, and Princess Dowager-of Great Britain, and were linked by their early years at European princely courts, their curiosity, aspirations, and an investment in Enlightenment thought. This sumptuously illustrated book considers the ways these powerful, intelligent women left enduring marks on British culture through a wide range of activities: the promotion of the court as a dynamic forum of the Hanoverian regime; the enrichment of the royal collection of art; the advancement of science and industry; and the creation of gardens and menageries. Objects included range from spectacular state portraits to pedagogical toys to plant and animal specimens, and reveal how the new and novel intermingled with the traditional.
Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen
Though largely unknown in the Western world, the seventeenth-century African queen Njinga was one of the most multifaceted rulers in history, a woman who rivaled Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great in political cunning and military prowess. Linda Heywood offers the first full-length study in English of Queen Njinga s long life and political influence, revealing how this Cleopatra of central Africa skillfully navigated and ultimately transcended the ruthless, male-dominated power struggles of her time.
In 1626 after being deposed by the Portuguese, she transformed herself into a prolific slave trader and ferocious military leader, waging wars against the Portuguese colonizers and their African allies. Surviving multiple attempts to kill her, Njinga conquered the neighboring state of Matamba and ruled as queen of Ndongo/Matamba. At the height of her reign in the 1640s Njinga ruled almost one-quarter of modern-day Angola. Toward the end of her life, weary of war, she made peace with Portugal and converted to Christianity, though her devotion to the new faith was questioned.
Who was Queen Njinga? There is no simple answer. In a world where women were subjugated by men, she repeatedly outmaneuvered her male competitors and flouted gender norms, taking both male and female lovers. Today, Njinga is revered in Angola as a national heroine and honored in folk religions, and her complex legacy continues to resonate, forming a crucial part of the collective memory of the Afro-Atlantic world.
Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Five years after her marriage to Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge continues to inspire and arouse the media’s interest. She has become a style icon, with the dresses she wears selling out within hours. She emulates the manner and kind-heartedness of Princess Diana, immersing herself in valuable charity work. And she has two beautiful children of whom the public love to catch glimpses.
As Great Britain’s future queen, Catherine is a much-loved national treasure, and this new edition of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge will bring the public right up to date on the princess’s life and family.
Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy – 1893
(Not available (yet) via Amazon – You can order via Hoogstraten.nl, which ships worldwide)
Spring of 1893, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine and his younger sister Princess Alix, the future wife of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, went on a holiday to the Italian cities of Florence and Venice. They admired works of art in museums and churches, rode through the parks of Florence and the surrounding hills, and enjoyed gondola rides on the canals and in the lagoon of Venice. They also spent time with relatives, including Queen Victoria, Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, and Count and Countess Gustav of Erbach-Schönberg. The many beautiful things they saw and the relaxed family gatherings they held made memories which they cherished for many years. This publication provides a simple day-to-day summary of their trip based on information from archival documents, contemporary newspapers, letters, memoirs and diaries. Petra H. Kleinpenning previously edited and published “The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse – 1878-1916” paperback, 60 pages, illustrated, in English.