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.
Twice a princess, twice exiled, Neslishah Sultan had an eventful life. When she was born in Istanbul in 1921, cannons were fired in the four corners of the Ottoman Empire, commemorative coins were issued in her name, and her birth was recorded in the official register of the palace. After all, she was an imperial princess and the granddaughter of Sultan Vahiddedin. But she was the last member of the imperial family to be accorded such honors: in 1922 Vahiddedin was deposed and exiled, replaced as caliph-but not as sultan-by his brother (and Neslishah’s other grandfather) Abdulmecid; in 1924 Abdulmecid was also removed from office, and the entire imperial family, including three-year-old Neslishah, were sent into exile.
Sixteen years later on her marriage to Prince Abdel Moneim, the son of the last khedive of Egypt, she became a princess of the Egyptian royal family. And when in 1952 her husband was appointed regent for Egypt’s infant king, she took her place at the peak of Egyptian society as the country’s first lady, until the abolition of the monarchy the following year. Exile followed once more, this time from Egypt, after the royal couple faced charges of treason. Eventually Neslishah was allowed to return to the city of her birth, where she died at the age of 91 in 2012.
Based on original documents and extensive personal interviews, this account of one woman’s extraordinary life is also the story of the end of two powerful dynasties thirty years apart.
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.
In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII: The Visitor’s Companion to the Palaces, Castles & Houses Associated with Henry VIII’s Iconic Queens
Explore a fresh perspective on the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives by embarking on a journey through the manors, castles, and palaces in which their lives played out. This journey traces their steps to the Alhambra in Spain, childhood home of Katherine of Aragon; to the room at Acton Court where Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII publicly dined; through the cobbled grounds of Hampton Court Palace, which bore witness to triumph and tragedy for Jane Seymour; into the streets of Düsseldorf in Germany, birthplace of Anne of Cleves; among the ruins and picturesque gardens of St Mary’s Abbey in York, where Catherine Howard and Henry VIII rested at the pinnacle of the 1541 progress; and to Gainsborough Old Hall in Lincolnshire, where Katherine Parr lived as daughter-in-law of the irascible Sir Thomas Brough. Each location’s narrative unearths the queens’ lives in documents and artifacts, as well as providing practical information. This book brings readers closer than ever to the women behind the legends, providing a personal and illuminating journey.
My Husband and I: The Marriage of the Queen and Prince Philip
With interest in the royal couple at a new peak thanks to the hit TV series The Crown, Ingrid Seward reveals the real story of the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. 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 its problems. The romance between the sailor prince and the young princess brought a splash of colour to a nation still in the grip of post-war austerity. When they married in Westminster Abbey in November 1947, there were 3000 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 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. In My Husband and I, we discover the challenges faced by Prince Philip as he has had to learn to play second fiddle to the Queen in all their public engagements, but we also get a revealing insight into how their relationship operates behind closed doors. As the years have gone by, there have been rumours of marital troubles, fierce debates over how to bring up their children, and they have had to deal with family traumas – from scandalous divorces to shocking deaths – in the full glare of the public eye. But somehow, their relationship has endured and provided a model of constancy to inspire all around them. This book is not only a vivid portrait of a hugely important marriage, it is a celebration of the power of love.
Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe
Sixteenth-century Europe saw an explosion of female rule. From Isabella of Castile, and her granddaughter Mary Tudor, to Catherine de Medici, Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth Tudor, these women wielded enormous power over their territories, shaping the course of European history for over a century. Across boundaries and generations, these royal women were mothers and daughters, mentors and protégées, allies and enemies. For the first time, Europe saw a sisterhood of queens who would not be equaled until modern times.
A fascinating group biography and a thrilling political epic, Game of Queens explores the lives of some of the most beloved (and reviled) queens in history.
Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs
On a snowy January morning in 1889, a worried servant hacked open a locked door at the remote hunting lodge deep in the Vienna Woods. Inside, he found two bodies sprawled on an ornate bed, blood oozing from their mouths. Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary appeared to have shot his seventeen-year-old mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera as she slept, sat with the corpse for hours and, when dawn broke, turned the pistol on himself.
A century has transformed this bloody scene into romantic tragedy: star-crossed lovers who preferred death together than to be parted by a cold, unfeeling Viennese Court. But Mayerling is also the story of family secrets: incestuous relationships and mental instability; blackmail, venereal disease, and political treason; and a disillusioned, morphine-addicted Crown Prince and a naïve schoolgirl caught up in a dangerous and deadly waltz inside a decaying empire. What happened in that locked room remains one of history’s most evocative mysteries: What led Rudolf and mistress to this desperate act? Was it really a suicide pact? Or did something far more disturbing take place at that remote hunting lodge and result in murder?
Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe
From an award-winning historian, this is the fascinating, untold story of Queen Victoria’s vain attempt to thwart true love, forge political unions, and bind the royal families of Europe together against anarchy, socialism, and, above all, Russia.
At the time of her Golden Jubilee in 1887, Queen Victoria had more than twenty grandchildren coming of age across Europe. The connections she arranged through her children’s marriages–into the royal families of Germany, Denmark, Russia, and more–were symbols, she believed, of European peace and security. Yet as she encouraged her grandchildren to solidify this stability through their own marriages, Victoria found herself frustrated and deterred. Not only were her descendants unwilling to submit to her wishes, but the whole of Europe was strained, tense, and defensive. The era of arranged marriages–of royal celebrations and matrimonial bargaining–was ending.
Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking is an intimate portrait of the legendary queen as she navigated both the continent’s shifting power structures and her grandchildren’s wayward decisions. By the turn of the twentieth century, her grandson Kaiser Wilhelm was marching through his cousin’s countries. By the end of the First World War, three grandchildren had lost their thrones, and some had lost their lives.
Through thoroughly researched, captivating storytelling, Deborah Cadbury expertly examines the conflicts of power, love, and duty–and reveals how Queen Victoria’s matchmaking profoundly shaped history.
Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts
One of the most controversial royal figures of the twentieth century, Princess Margaret was admired as well as vilified for most of her adult life. Described by the designer and hotelier, Anouska Hempel, as “Witty, wicked and wonderful,” this charismatic princess not only brought colour and sex appeal into the Royal Family, but did much to help bring the monarchy and its attitudes into the modern world. Adored younger daughter of King George VI and only sister of Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret was a pre-war princess whose world was hugely circumscribed by the strictures and protocol of another age, leading to conflict and misunderstanding in both her private and public life. In his biography, Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts, Christopher Warwick redresses the balance. Whilst giving the full, insider story of the Princess’s many love affairs, he also looks at her tireless work for charity, breaking many taboos along the way – Princess Margaret, not Diana, was the first Royal to champion HIV and AIDS awareness.
The First Iron Lady
Often compared to Catherine the Great or Elizabeth I, Caroline of Ansbach is the great queen Britain forgot it had. A thinker, politician, schemer, patroness and matriarch, this brilliant book offers a remarkable portrait of a woman of great political astuteness and ambition, a radical icon of female power.
History has forgotten Caroline of Ansbach and yet in her lifetime she was compared frequently to Elizabeth I and considered by some as ‘the cleverest Queen consort Britain ever had’.
The intellectual superior of her buffoonish husband George II, Caroline is credited with bringing the Enlightenment to Britain through her sponsorship of red-hot debates about science, religion, philosophy and the nature of the universe. Encouraged by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, she championed inoculation; inspired by her friend Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, she mugged up on Newtonian physics; she embraced a salon culture which promoted developments in music, literature and garden design; she was a regular theatre-goer who loved the opera, gambling and dancing. Her intimates marvelled at the breadth of her interests. She was, said Lord Egmont, ’curious in everything’.
Caroline acted as Regent four times whilst her husband returned to Hanover and during those periods she possessed power over all domestic matters. No subsequent royal woman has exercised power on such a scale.
So why has history forgotten this extraordinary queen?
In this magnificent biography, the first for over seventy years, Matthew Dennison seeks to reverse this neglect. The First Iron Lady uncovers the complexities of Caroline’s multifaceted life from child of a minor German princeling who, through intelligence, determination and a dash of sex appeal, rose to occupy one of the great positions of the world and did so with distinction, élan and a degree of cynical realism. It is a remarkable portrait of an 18th-century woman of great political astuteness and ambition, a radical icon of female power.
Mary Queen of Scots
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.
Sisters to the King: The Remarkable True Story of Henry VIII’s Sisters
This is the enthralling story of the lives of two remarkable women: women who have been defined by history as Henry VIII’s sisters, but who were strong, fierce and sensual characters in their own right. Illuminating and groundbreaking, Sisters to the King not only reveals two extraordinary women, but radically alters our view of Tudor history. In the Tudor age, Margaret and Mary were more important personalities than Henry’s wives. Margaret became Queen of Scotland aged thirteen; Mary was married off to the ageing King of France. Both risked their heads, and challenged convention, by choosing their second husbands for love. Theirs is a story of passion, defiance, betrayal and heartbreak.
Elizabeth: The Queen and The Crown
An internationally admired figure, Queen Elizabeth II is the most high-profile monarch in the world, and her enduring popularity is tantamount to her wide-ranging supporters. Spanning from 1927 to present day, Elizabeth reveals the details of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch’s extraordinary life. Sarah Gristwood follows the twists and turns of Elizabeth Windsor’s life and its key turning points—including her teenage years during the war, meeting and marrying the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip Mountbatten, and her ascension to the throne in 1952.
Catherine Reef brings history vividly to life in this sumptuously illustrated account of a confident, strong-minded, and influential woman.
Victoria woke one morning at the age of eighteen to discover that her uncle had died and she was now queen. She went on to rule for sixty-three years, with an influence so far-reaching that the decades of her reign now bear her name–the Victorian period. Victoria is filled with the exciting comings and goings of royal life: intrigue and innuendo, scheming advisors, and assassination attempts, not to mention plenty of passion and discord. Includes bibliography, notes, British royal family tree, index.
Anne Boleyn: Adultery, Heresy, Desire
Anne Boleyn, the femme fatale whose unconventional beauty inspired poets, and so entranced Henry VIII with her wit, allure and style that he was prepared to set aside his wife of over twenty years and risk his immortal soul. Her sister had already been the king’s mistress, but the other Boleyn girl was to choose another path. For years the passionate lovers waited; did they really remain chaste? Did Anne love Henry, or was she a cunning career woman?
Eventually replacing the long suffering Catherine of Aragon, Anne enjoyed a magnificent coronation and gave birth to the future Elizabeth I but her triumph was short lived. Why did she go from beloved consort to adulteress and traitor within a matter of weeks? What role did Thomas Cromwell and Jane Seymour of Wolf Hall play in Anne’s demise? Was her fall one of the biggest sex scandals of her era, or the result of a political coup? This book is the most detailed account of Anne’s life ever published, taking her from cradle to grave and beyond. Anne is vividly brought to life amid the colour, drama and the intimate secrets of the Tudor court.