The Life of Henrietta Anne: Daughter of Charles I
Henrietta Anne Stuart, youngest child of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, was born in June 1644 in the besieged city of Exeter at the very height of the English Civil War. The hostilities had separated her parents and her mother was on the run from Parliamentary forces when she gave birth with only a few attendants on hand to give her support. Within just a few days she was on her way to the coast for a moonlit escape to her native France, leaving her infant daughter in the hands of trusted supporters. A few years later Henrietta Anne would herself be whisked, disguised as a boy, out of the country and reunited with her mother in France, where she remained for the rest of her life. Henrietta s fortunes dramatically changed for the better when her brother Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660. After being snubbed by her cousin Louis XIV, she would eventually marry his younger brother Philippe, Duc d Orl ans and quickly become one of the luminaries of the French court, although there was a dark side to her rise to power and popularity when she became embroiled in love affairs with her brother in law Louis and her husband s former lover, the dashing Comte de Guiche, giving rise to several scandals and rumours about the true parentage of her three children. However, Henrietta Anne was much more than just a mere court butterfly, she also possessed considerable intelligence, wit and political acumen, which led to her being entrusted in 1670 with the delicate negotiations for the Secret Treaty between her brother Charles II and cousin Louis XIV, which ensured England s support of France in their war against the Dutch.
Queens of the Conquest: England’s Medieval Queens
The story of England’s medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. It is a chronicle of love, murder, war and betrayal, filled with passion, intrigue and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, stateswomen and lovers. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England’s queens in the century after the Norman Conquest. Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, who claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to that end, the five Norman queens emerge as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters. Much more than a series of individual biographies, Queens of the Conquest is a seamless tale of interconnected lives and a rich portrait of English history in a time of flux. In Alison Weir’s hands these five extraordinary women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.
Edward IV & Elizabeth Woodville: A True Romance
When Edward of York seized the English throne in 1461, he could have chosen any bride. For three years he had a succession of mistresses, while foreign princesses lined up to be considered for his queen. Enter Elizabeth Woodville, a widow five years his elder. While her contemporaries and later historians have been divided over her character, none deny her beauty. When she petitioned the king to restore her son’s inheritance, Edward was spellbound. Conscious of her honor, Elizabeth repelled his advances. Edward’s answer was to make her his wife. Elizabeth has attracted extreme criticism from hostile chroniclers. This enlightening book reassesses the tumultuous lives of the real White Queen and the king she captivated.
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.
Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen
Isabella of France married Edward II in 1308, and later became one of the most notorious women in English history. In 1325, sent to her homeland to negotiate a peace settlement between her husband and her brother Charles IV, king of France, she refused to return. Instead, she began a relationship with her husband’s deadliest enemy, English baron Roger Mortimer. With the king’s son and heir, the future Edward III, under their control, the pair invaded England, ultimately resulting in Edward II’s forced abdication in 1327. A rebel against her husband and king, and regent for her son, Isabella was a powerful, capable, and intelligent woman. She forced the first ever abdication of a king in England, changing the course of English history.
The Grimaldis of Monaco: Centuries of Scandal, Years of Grace
The Grimaldis of Monaco tells in full the remarkable history of the world’s oldest reigning dynasty. For nearly eight hundred years, from the elegant Genoese Rainier I to the current Prince Albert II, the Grimaldis—“an ambitious, hot-blooded, unscrupulous race, swift to revenge and furious in battle”—have ruled Monaco. Against all odds, they have proved themselves masterful survivors, still in possession of their lands and titles despite the upheavals of the French Revolution and the First and Second World Wars, when royal heads rolled and most small countries met their demise.
With insufficient weaponry and military forces far too small to go into combat against their more powerful neighbors, France and Italy, the Grimaldis endured by their cunning and their shrewd choice of brides—rich women and high connections in the most influential courts of Europe, and often, strong sexual appetites. The French nobleman’s daughter who married Louis I later became the mistress of France Louis XIV. Her son, Antoine I was wed to an aristocratic wife who outdid her mother-in-law by having so many lovers her husband took to hanging them in effigy.
The seafaring adventurer Prince Albert I was unfortunate enough to have two wives, one British, one American, who ran off with their lovers. His second wife, the American Alice Heine, a fabulously rich heiress from New Orleans and the widowed Duchesse de Richelieu, was the model for Proust’s Princess of Luxembourg. Heine used her own wealth to bring grandeur, culture, and sophistication to the palatial center of Monte Carlo; and with the introduction of gambling, an internationally celebrated resort was born, initially for the privileged few and later for raffish café society,
The last section of the book is devoted to the most recent generations of the Grimaldis. Here, a new image of Rainier III emerges as both man and monarch, beginning with his blighted childhood as the son of divorced parents and of a mother scorned as illegitimate. And preceding the drama of his marriage to Grace Kelly, there is an account of his intense love affair with a French film start and reasons behind his sister’s lifelong malice and envy of him. The final note is necessarily tragic, detailing in full the deaths of both Princess Grace and Princess Caroline’s husband in sudden and shocking accidents.
Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret
From our funniest writer, a portrait of our most talked-about royal
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.
Call Me Diana: The Princess of Wales on Herself
Throughout her life, until her untimely death in 1997, Diana frequently gave interviews and shared her thoughts with many people. In this fresh portrait over almost 20 years, Nigel Cawthorne gathers her most salient words – some known, some forgotten. They show a remarkable woman who is still able to inspire us two decades on.
The King’s Pearl: Henry VIII and His Daughter Mary
Hardcover –15 September 2017 (UK)
Mary Tudor has always been known as ‘Bloody Mary’, the name given to her by later Protestant writers who vilified her for attempting to re-impose Roman Catholicism in England. Although a more nuanced picture of Mary has since emerged, she is still surrounded by stereotypes, 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 been pressured into compliance Henry reverted to being a loving father and Mary played an important role in court life. The King’s Pearl will re-examine Mary’s life during the reign of Henry VIII and her relationship with her father.
Victoria and Albert – A Royal Love Affair: Official companion to the ITV series
Hardcover – 21 September 2017 (UK)
The second tie-in to ITV drama Victoria unveils the complex, passionate relationship of Victoria and Albert.
What happened after the Queen married her handsome prince? Did they live happily ever after, or did their marriage, like so many royal marriages past and present fizzle into a loveless bond of duty? Victoria and Albert were the royal couple that broke the mould – it may have been an arranged match, yet their union was a passionate, tempestuous relationship between two extremely strong-willed individuals. Despite the fact that they were first cousins they could not have been more different people – she was impulsive, emotional, capricious, while he was cautious, self-controlled, and logical. But together they became the most successful royal couple there had ever been, and this book reveals the private and the public face of Victoria and Albert’s marriage. Using their letters and diaries, Victoria and Albert charts the constant ebb and flow of power between the couple, and presents a picture of a very modern marriage.
This companion book, full of rich historical detail, takes fans deeper into that period than ever before. Discover the inner workings behind the scenes, with profiles of all the major characters, interviews with the actors and fascinating, in-depth information on the production, the costumes and the props.
Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe
A captivating exploration of the role in which Queen Victoria exerted most international power and influence: her role as matchmaking grandmother
By the 1890s, Queen Victoria had over thirty grandchildren and to maintain and increase royal power in Europe, she knew she had to manoeuvre them into a series of dynastic marriages. In her sights was royalty from across the world. Yet for all their seeming obedience, her grandchildren often had plans of their own, plans fuelled by strong wills and romantic hearts. Her matchmaking plans were only further complicated by their coinciding with tumultuous international upheavals; revolution and war were in the air and after her death, her most carefully laid plans fell to ruin.
Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking travels through the most glittering, decadent palaces of Russia and Europe, weaving in scandals, political machinations and family tensions, to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of the royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the power, love and duty that shaped the marriages that Queen Victoria arranged. At the heart of it all is Queen Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined manipulator the next.
The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam
The fascinating story of Queen Elizabeth’s secret outreach to the Muslim world, which set England on the path to empire, by The New York Times bestselling author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps
We think of England as a great power whose empire once stretched from India to the Americas, but when Elizabeth Tudor was crowned Queen, it was just a tiny and rebellious Protestant island on the fringes of Europe, confronting the combined power of the papacy and of Catholic Spain. Broke and under siege, the young queen sought to build new alliances with the great powers of the Muslim world. She sent an emissary to the Shah of Iran, wooed the king of Morocco, and entered into an unprecedented alliance with the Ottoman Sultan Murad III, with whom she shared a lively correspondence.
The Sultan and the Queen tells the riveting and largely unknown story of the traders and adventurers who first went East to seek their fortunes—and reveals how Elizabeth’s fruitful alignment with the Islamic world, financed by England’s first joint stock companies, paved the way for its transformation into a global commercial empire.
Anna of Denmark and Henrietta Maria: Virgins, Witches, and Catholic Queens (Queenship and Power)
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.