The Queen and the Heretic: How two women changed the religion of England
The dual biography of two remarkable women – Catherine Parr and Anne Askew. One was the last queen of a powerful monarch, the second a countrywoman from Lincolnshire. But they were joined together in their love for the new learning – and their adherence to Protestantism threatened both their lives. Both women wrote about their faith, and their writings are still with us. Powerful men at court sought to bring Catherine down, and used Anne Askew’s notoriety as a weapon in that battle. Queen Catherine Parr survived, while Anne Askew, the only woman to be racked, was burned to death. This book explores their lives, and the way of life for women from various social strata in Tudor England.
Elizabeth I in Writing: Language, Power and Representation in Early Modern England (Queenship and Power)
This collection investigates Queen Elizabeth I as an accomplished writer in her own right as well as the subject of authors who celebrated her. With innovative essays from Brenda M. Hosington, Carole Levin, and other established and emerging experts, it reappraises Elizabeth’s translations, letters, poems and prayers through a diverse range of approaches to textuality, from linguistic and philological to literary and cultural-historical. The book also considers Elizabeth as “authored,” studying how she is reflected in the writing of her contemporaries and reconstructing a wider web of relations between the public and private use of language in early modern culture. Contributions from Carlo M. Bajetta, Guillaume Coatelen and Giovanni Iamartino bring the Queen’s presence in early modern Italian literary culture to the fore. Together, these essays illuminate the Queen in writing, from the multifaceted linguistic and rhetorical strategies that she employed, to the texts inspired by her power and charisma.
A Scented Palace: The Secret History of Marie Antoinette’s Perfumer
Montpellier, 1748: Jean-Louis Fargeon is born into a family of perfumers and soon becomes apprenticed to his father’s modest perfumerie. But he dreams of the glittering court of Versailles and of becoming perfumer to the young queen, Marie Antoinette. His ambition carried him to Paris where his boutique became one of the most elegant and well-patronised in France. Concocting sumptuous perfumes and pomades for most of the French nobility, Fargeon eventually caught the attention of the queen. After meeting Marie Antoinette in the Trianon Palace, he began creating lavish bespoke scents that perfectly reflected her moods and personality. He served as her personal and exclusive perfumer for fourteen years until 1789 when the darkness of Revolution swept across France, its wrath aimed at the extravagance of a now hated queen. Fargeon, a lifelong supporter of the Republican cause but a purveyor to the court, was in a dangerous position. Yet he remained fiercely loyal to Marie Antoinette, beyond her desperate flight to Varennes, her execution and even through his own imprisonment and trial.
The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown
Paperback – 8 March 2018 (UK)
In the first in-depth biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall—the infamous other woman who made the marriage of Britain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana “a bit crowded”—esteemed royal biographer Penny Junor tells the unlikely and extraordinary story of the woman reviled as a pariah who, thanks to numerous twists of fate, became the popular princess consort.
Few know the Windsor family as well as veteran royal biographer and journalist Penny Junor. In The Duchess, she casts her insightful, sensitive eye on the intriguing, once widely despised, and little-known Camilla Parker Bowles, revealing in full, for the first time, the remarkable rise of a woman who was the most notorious mistress in the world.
As Camilla’s marriage to Charles approached in 2005, the British public were upset at the prospect that this woman, universally reviled for wrecking the royal marriage, would one day become queen. Sensitive to public opinion, the palace announced that this would never happen; when Charles eventually acceded to the throne, Camilla would be known as the princess consort. Yet a decade later British public sentiment had changed, with a majority believing that Camilla should become queen.
Junor argues that although Camilla played a central role in the darkest days of the modern monarchy—Charles and Diana’s acrimonious and scandalous split—she also played a central role in restoring the royal family’s reputation, especially that of Prince Charles. A woman with no ambition to be a princess, a duchess, or a queen, Camilla simply wanted to be with, and support, the man who has always been the love of her life. Junor contends that their marriage has reinvigorated Charles, allowing him to finally become comfortable as the heir to the British throne.
Elizabeth’s Rival: The Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester: The Romance and Conspiracy that Threatened Queen Elizabeth’s Court
Favorite, foe, rival―a gripping tale of the countess who dared cross a queen amidst the dangerous intrigues of Elizabethan England.
A kinswoman to Elizabeth I, Lettice Knollys had begun the Queen’s glittering reign basking in favor and success. It was an honor that she would enjoy for two decades. However, on the morning of September 21st, 1578, Lettice made a fateful decision. When the Queen learned of it, the consequences were swift. Lettice had dared to marry without the Queen’s consent. But worse, her new husband was Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the Queen’s favorite and one-time suitor.
Though she would not marry him herself, Elizabeth was fiercely jealous of any woman who showed an interest in Leicester. Knowing that she would likely earn the Queen’s enmity, Lettice married Leicester in secret, leading to her permanent banishment from court. Elizabeth never forgave the new Countess for what she perceived to be a devastating betrayal, and Lettice permanently forfeited her favor. She had become not just Queen Elizabeth’s adversary. She was her rival.
But the Countess’ story does not end there. Surviving the death of two husbands and navigating the courts of three very different monarchs: Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Charles I, Lettice’s story offers an extraordinary and intimate perspective on the world she lived in.
Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity (Penguin Monarchs)
Helen Castor shows how England’s iconic queen was shaped by profound and enduring insecurity—an insecurity which was both a matter of practical political reality and personal psychology. From her precarious upbringing at the whim of a brutal, capricious father and her perilous accession after his death, to the religious division that marred her state and the failure to marry that threatened her line, Elizabeth lived under constant threat. But, facing down her enemies with a compellingly inscrutable public persona, the last and greatest of the Tudor monarchs would become a timeless, fearless queen.
Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, and you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But real princesses didn’t always get happy endings. Sure, plenty were graceful and benevolent leaders, but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power—and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev slaughtered her way to sainthood while Princess Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back.Princesses Behaving Badly offers true tales of all these princesses and dozens more in a fascinating read that’s perfect for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.
Jackie, Janet & Lee: The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill
A dazzling biography of three of the most glamorous women of the 20th Century: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, her mother Janet Lee Auchincloss, and her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill.
“Do you know what the secret to happily-ever-after is?” Janet Bouvier Auchincloss would ask her daughters Jackie and Lee during their tea time. “Money and Power,” she would say. It was a lesson neither would ever forget. They followed in their mother’s footsteps after her marriages to the philandering socialite “Black Jack” Bouvier and the fabulously rich Standard Oil heir Hugh D. Auchincloss.
Jacqueline Bouvier would marry John F. Kennedy and the story of their marriage is legendary, as is the story of her second marriage to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Less well known is the story of her love affair with a world renowned architect and a British peer. Her sister, Lee, had liaisons with one and possibly both of Jackie’s husbands, in addition to her own three marriages–to an illegitimate royal, a Polish prince and a Hollywood director.
If the Bouvier women personified beauty, style and fashion, it was their lust for money and status that drove them to seek out powerful men, no matter what the cost to themselves or to those they stepped on in their ruthless climb to the top. Based on hundreds of new interviews with friends and family of the Bouviers, among them their own half-brother, as well as letters and journals, J. Randy Taraborrelli paints an extraordinary psychological portrait of two famous sisters and their ferociously ambitious mother.
The Family Medici: The Hidden History of the Medici Dynasty
Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture. Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo were among the artists with whom they were socialized and patronized.
Thus runs the “accepted view” of the Medici. However, Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that the Medici were enlightened rulers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has now acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias―tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own. In this dynamic new history, Hollingsworth argues that past narratives have focused on a sanitized and fictitious view of the Medici―wise rulers, enlightened patrons of the arts, and fathers of the Renaissance―but that in fact their past was reinvented in the sixteenth century, mythologized by later generations of Medici who used this as a central prop for their legacy.
Hollingsworth’s revelatory re-telling of the story of the family Medici brings a fresh and exhilarating new perspective to the story behind the most powerful family of the Italian Renaissance.
So High a Blood: The Life of Margaret, Countess of Lennox
Sometime heir to the English throne, courtier in danger of losing her head, spy-mistress and would-be architect of a united Catholic Britain: Lady Margaret Douglas is the Tudor who survived and triumphed -but at a terrible cost.
Niece to Henry VIII and half-sister to James V of Scotland, the beautiful and Catholic Margaret held a unique position in the English court. Throughout her life, she was to navigate treacherous waters: survival demanded it. Yet Margaret was no passive pawn. As the Protestant Reformations unfolded across the British Isles, she had ambitions of her own: to see her family rule a united, Catholic Britain. When her niece Mary, Queen of Scots was widowed, Margaret saw her chance. Thoroughly Machiavellian, she set in motion a chain of events that would see her descendants succeed to the crowns of England, Ireland and Scotland.
Drawing on previously unexamined archival sources, So High a Blood revives the story of Lady Margaret Douglas to vivid and captivating effect.
Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Slaveowner
In this revised and expanded edition of Anna Kingsley’s remarkable life story, Daniel Schafer draws on new discoveries to prove true the longstanding rumors that Anna Madgigine Jai was originally a princess from the royal family of Jolof in Senegal. Captured from her homeland in 1806, she became first an American slave, later a slaveowner, and eventually a central figure in a free black community. Anna Kingsley’s story adds a dramatic chapter to the history of the South, the state of Florida, and the African diaspora.
The Quest for Queen Mary
Queen Mary, the widow of George V, and grandmother of the Queen, died at Marlborough House on 24 March 1953, a few months before the Coronation. She was eighty-five years old. Unusually for a Queen consort, an official biography was commissioned. The last similar exercise was the life of the Prince Consort, commissioned by Queen Victoria. The task was entrusted to James Pope- Hennessy. Pope-Hennessy embarked on his three year quest for Queen Mary in 1955. It was to take him to many royal courts and to the lunch and tea tables of retired courtiers and Ladies-in-Waiting. He had access to a great number of private documents. He was shown royal residences both in England and in Europe. Part of the time he lived at a guesthouse in Bodensee, in Germany, where the cost of living was cheaper and he was able to write quietly. As he went along, he kept notes about who he met and what he saw. Pope-Hennessy had not intended the notes of his royal interviews to be published for fifty years (i.e. until 2009). He described them as follows: To supplement the manuscript and printed sources I kept a private and confidential file recording in considerable detail the conversations I had both with Queen Mary s immediate descendants, related German, Danish and Norwegian royalty and with surviving members of the Court of King George V and Queen Mary. None of these interviews have been published, nor could they be until a lapse of fifty years. They are strictly confidential and form, I believe, a not uninteresting study of royal psycholology as it was and as it largely remains today. In THE QUEST FOR QUEEN MARY Hugo Vickers tells the story of the book and places these figures in context.