Book News November 2018

 

My Husband and I: The Inside Story of the Royal Marriage

Paperback – 20 November 2018 (US) & 5 April 2018 (UK)

When a young Princess Elizabeth met and fell in love with the dashing Naval Lieutenant Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, it wasn’t without complications. The romance between the sailor prince and the young princess brought a splash of color to a nation still in the grip of post-war austerity. When they married in Westminster Abbey in November 1947, there were 3,000 guests, including six kings and seven queens. Within five years, as Queen Elizabeth II, she would ascend to the throne and later be crowned in front of millions watching through the new medium of television.

Throughout her record-breaking reign, she has relied on the formidable partnership she had made with her consort. Now, after 70 years of their marriage, acclaimed royal biographer Ingrid Seward sheds new light on their relationship and its impact on their family and on the nation.

My Husband and I reveals the challenges faced by Prince Philip as he accompanies the Queen in their many public appearances, and also offers insight into how their relationship operates behind closed doors. Throughout the years, there have been rumors of marital troubles, fierce debates over how to raise their children, and numerous family traumas—from scandalous divorces to shocking deaths—in the full glare of the public eye. But somehow, their relationship has endured and provided strength and inspiration to those around them. My Husband and I is not only a vivid portrait of an iconic marriage—it is also a celebration of the power of love.

Queens of Sicily 1061-1266: The Queens Consort, Regent and Regnant of the Norman-Swabian Era of the Kingdom of Sicily (Sicilian Medieval Studies)

Paperback – 14 November 2018 (UK)

They are the semi-forgotten women of European medieval history. This is the first compendium of detailed scholarly biographies of the countesses and queens of the Kingdom of Sicily during the Hauteville and Hohenstaufen reigns, based on original research in medieval charters, chronicles and letters. It includes eighteen biographies of varying length and such details as original translations from medieval records (in Latin and Sicilian). This book contains numerous maps, photos and genealogical tables, along with a bibliography, hundreds of endnotes and a lengthy index. Reflecting research in several countries, this is a peer-reviewed monograph in the Sicilian Medieval Studies series. It is a useful, informative reference yet highly readable.

Victoria (Penguin Monarchs): Queen, Matriarch, Empress

Paperback – 28 June 2018 (UK) & 1 November 2018 (US)

Queen Victoria inherited the throne at 18 and went on to become the longest-reigning female monarch in history, in a time of intense industrial, cultural, political, scientific and military change within the United Kingdom and great imperial expansion outside of it (she was made Empress of India in 1876). Overturning the established picture of the dour old lady, this is a fresh and engaging portrait from one of our most talented royal biographers.

William III & Mary II (Penguin Monarchs): Partners in Revolution

Paperback – 28 June 2018 (UK) & 1 November 2018 (US)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England’s rulers – now in paperback

William III (1689-1702) & Mary II (1689-94) (Britain’s only ever ‘joint monarchs’) changed the course of the entire country’s history, coming to power through a coup (which involved Mary betraying her own father), reestablishing parliament on a new footing and, through commiting Britain to fighting France, initiating an immensely long period of warfare and colonial expansion.

The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots: Elizabeth I and Her Greatest Rival

Hardcover – 13 November 2018 (US & UK)

Elizabeth and Mary were cousins and queens, but eventually it became impossible for them to live together in the same world.

This is the story of two women struggling for supremacy in a man’s world, when no one thought a woman could govern. They both had to negotiate with men―those who wanted their power and those who wanted their bodies―who were determined to best them. In their worlds, female friendship and alliances were unheard of, but for many years theirs was the only friendship that endured. They were as fascinated by each other as lovers; until they became enemies. Enemies so angry and broken that one of them had to die, and so Elizabeth ordered the execution of Mary.

But first they were each other’s lone female friends in a violent man’s world. Their relationship was one of love, affection, jealousy, antipathy―and finally death.

This book tells the story of Mary and Elizabeth as never before, focusing on their emotions and probing deeply into their intimate lives as women and queens. They loved each other, they hated each other―and in the end they could never escape each other.

When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt

Hardcover – 30 October 2018 (US) & 28 November 2018 (UK)

Female rulers are a rare phenomenon–but thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, women reigned supreme. Regularly, repeatedly, and with impunity, queens like Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra controlled the totalitarian state as power-brokers and rulers. But throughout human history, women in positions of power were more often used as political pawns in a male-dominated society. What was so special about ancient Egypt that provided women this kind of access to the highest political office? What was it about these women that allowed them to transcend patriarchal obstacles? What did Egypt gain from its liberal reliance on female leadership, and could today’s world learn from its example?

Celebrated Egyptologist Kara Cooney delivers a fascinating tale of female power, exploring the reasons why it has seldom been allowed through the ages, and why we should care.

Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra (Women in Antiquity)

Hardcover – 1 November 2018 (US) & 13 December 20128 (UK)

Hailing from the Syrian city of Palmyra, a woman named Zenobia (also Bathzabbai) governed territory in the eastern Roman empire from 268 to 272. She thus became the most famous Palmyrene who ever lived. But sources for her life and career are scarce. This book situates Zenobia in the social, economic, cultural, and material context of her Palmyra. By doing so, it aims to shed greater light on the experiences of Zenobia and Palmyrene women like her at various stages of their lives. Not limiting itself to the political aspects of her governance, it contemplates what inscriptions and material culture at Palmyra enable us to know about women and the practice of gender there, and thus the world that Zenobia navigated. It reflects on her clothes, house, hygiene, property owning, gestures, religious practices, funerary practices, education, languages, social identities, marriage, and experiences motherhood, along with her meteoric rise to prominence and civil war. It also ponders Zenobia’s legacy in light of the contemporary human tragedy in Syria.

Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian (Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture)

Paperback– 1 November 2018 (US & UK)

Byzantine princess Anna Komnene is known for two things: plotting to murder her brother to usurp the throne, and writing the Alexiad, an epic history of her father Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) that is a key historical source for the era of the First Crusade. Anna Komnene: the Life and Work of a Medieval Historian investigates the relationship between Anna’s self-presentation in the Alexiad and the story of her bloodthirsty ambition. It begins by asking why women did not write history in Anna’s society, what cultural rules Anna broke by doing so, and how Anna tried to respond to those challenges in her writing. Many of the idiosyncrasies and surprises of Anna’s Alexiad are driven by her efforts to be perceived as both a good historian and a good woman. These new interpretations of Anna’s authorial persona then spark a thorough re-thinking of the standard story which defines Anna’s life by the failure of her supposed political ambitions. The second half of this work reviews the medieval sources with fresh eyes and re-establishes Anna’s primary identity as an author and intellectual rather than as a failed conspirator.

Informally Royal: Studio Lisa and the Royal Family

Hardcover – 1 November 2018 (US) & 1 March 2019 (UK)

A chance meeting in 1936 gave Lisa and Jimmy Sheridan the opportunity of a lifetime. Keen amateur photographers, their company, Studio Lisa, were engaged by the then Duke and Duchess of York to take informal, casual photographs of them and their young daughters, the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, at their home in Piccadilly. At a time of traditional formality, when it was unheard of for mere commoners to be given such an opportunity, the hiring of Studio Lisa proved to be a revolutionary and popular move on the part of the royals as it humanized them in the eyes of their subjects. They soon struck up an unlikely friendship with Lisa and Jimmy – a friendship that would span over 30 years and yield 13 separate photographic sessions, the latter including Queen Elizabeth’s young children. Informally Royalcharts the story of Studio Lisa, from its humble beginnings right through to it being granted a Royal Warrant, and showcases for the first time in one volume their remarkable royal photographs, making it a collector’s item for posterity.

The Quest for Queen Mary

Hardcover – 13 November 2018 (US) & 20 September 2018 (UK)

When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary’s official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, this is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a bygone age.

Giving much greater insight into Queen Mary than the official version, and including sharply observed encounters with, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester, and a young Queen Elizabeth, The Quest for Queen Mary is set to be a classic of royal publishing.

The Wicked Wit of Princess Margaret

Hardcover – 1 November 2018 (US) & 17 May 2018 (UK)

Celebrate the rapier-like wit of the royal rebel, the late, great Princess Margaret—or “Ducky” as she was known behind closed doors. Even as a child, Princess Margaret was noted for her theatrical and witty demeanor. Her sister, now Queen Elizabeth II, remarked that parties were always better with Margaret in attendance as she made everyone laugh. She made John Lennon blush and Pablo Picasso was infatuated with her—and she made no secret of her intolerance for the dim-witted, the disobedient or the boring—and her one-liners are legendary: On considering that Elizabeth would one day be Queen, Margaret’s response was one of sincere commiseration, “Poor you,” she told her. Attending a high-society party in New York, the hostess asked politely how was the Queen? “Which one?” Margaret replied coolly, “My sister, my mother, or my husband?”

Guarding Diana: Protecting the Princess Around the World

Paperback – 1 November 2018 (US) & 27 December 2018 (UK)

Inspector Ken Wharfe, the first royalty protection officer to publish a memoir, was a crucial figure in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, for nearly seven years. He became a close friend and trusted confidant. His first-hand contradicts many of the so-called “facts” about Diana and provides affectionate, if not always uncritical, insight. He played an important role during Diana’s most trying times, and in her sons’ formative years, and he shows himself to be an exceptionally perceptive observer. This account presents the most intimate portrait of Diana to date, as well as a fitting tribute to one of the outstanding figures of our age.

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Mary Queen of Scots (Tie-In): The True Life of Mary Stuart

Paperback – 20 November 2018 (US & UK)

Soon to be a major motion picture from Focus Films, a biography, “as enthralling as a detective story,” (New York Times) of the woman who reigned over sixteenth-century Scotland.

Mary, Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure

Paperback – 8 November 2018 (UK)

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, has long been portrayed as one of history’s romantically tragic figures. Devious, naive, beautiful and sexually voracious, often highly principled, she secured the Scottish throne and bolstered the position of the Catholic Church in Scotland. Her plotting, including probable involvement in the murder of her husband Lord Darnley, led to her flight from Scotland and imprisonment by her equally ambitious cousin and fellow queen, Elizabeth of England. Yet when Elizabeth ordered Mary’s execution in 1587 it was an act of exasperated frustration rather than political wrath.

Unlike biographies of Mary predating this work, this masterly study set out to show Mary as she really was – not a romantic heroine, but the ruler of a European kingdom with far greater economic and political importance than its size or location would indicate. Wormald also showed that Mary’s downfall was not simply because of the `crisis years’ of 1565-7, but because of her way of dealing, or failing to deal, with the problems facing her as a Renaissance monarch. She was tragic because she was born to supreme power but was wholly incapable of coping with its responsibilities. Her extraordinary story has become one of the most colourful and emotionally searing tales of western history, and it is here fully reconsidered by a leading specialist of the period. Jenny Wormald’s beautifully written biography will appeal to students and general readers alike.

Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest

Hardcover – 15 November 2018 (UK) & 1 March 2019 (US)

The momentous events of 1066, the story of invasion, battle and conquest, are well known. But what of the women?

Harold II of England had been with Edith Swanneck for twenty years but in 1066, in order to strengthen his hold on the throne, he married Ealdgyth, sister of two earls. William of Normandy’s Duchess, Matilda of Flanders, had supposedly only agreed to marry the Duke after he’d pulled her pigtails and thrown her in the mud. Harald Hardrada had two wives – apparently at the same time. So, who were these women? What was their real story? And what happened to them after 1066?

These are not peripheral figures. Emma of Normandy was a Norman married to both a Saxon and a Dane ‒ and the mother of a king from each. Wife of both King Cnut and Aethelred II, the fact that, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, she had control of the treasury at the end of the reigns of both Cnut and Harthacnut suggests the extent of Emma’s influence over these two kings –and the country itself.

Then there is Saint Margaret, a descendant of Alfred the Great, and the less well known but still influential Gundrada de Warenne, the wife of one of William the Conqueror’s most loyal knights, and one of the few men who it is known beyond doubt was with the Duke at the Battle of Hastings.

These are lives full of drama, pathos and sometimes mystery: Edith and Gytha searching the battlefield of Hastings for the body of Harold, his lover and mother united in their grief for the fallen king. Who was Ælfgyva, the lady of the Bayeux Tapestry, portrayed with a naked man at her feet?

Silk and the Sword traces the fortunes of the women who had a significant role to play during the Norman Conquest – wives, lovers, sisters, mothers, leaders.



About Moniek 1061 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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