Catherine of Aragon continues to fascinate readers 500 years after she became Henry VIII’s first queen. Her life was one of passion and determination, of suffering and hope, but ultimately it is a tragic love story, as circumstances conspired against her. Having lost her first husband, Henry’s elder brother Prince Arthur, she endured years of ill health and penury, to make a dazzling second match in Henry VIII. There is no doubt that she was Henry’s true love, compatible with him in every respect and, for years, she presided over a majestic court as the personification of his ideal woman.
However, Catherine’s body failed her in an age when fertility was a prerequisite of political stability. When it became clear that she could no longer bear children, the king’s attention turned elsewhere, and his once chivalric devotion became resentment. Catherine’s final years were spent in lonely isolation but she never gave up her vision: she was devoted to her faith, her husband and to England, to the extent that she was prepared to be martyred for them. Banished and close to death, she wrote a final letter to her ‘most dear lord and husband’. ‘I pardon you everything… mine eyes desire you above all things.’ The fidelity of this remarkable woman never wavered.
Blood Royal: The Wars of the Roses: 1462-1485
The concluding volume to this rousing two-part history of the Wars of the Roses, England’s longest and bloodiest civil war, narrated by a master historian.
The Yorkist Edward IV has been king for three years since his victory at Towton. The former Lancastrian King Henry VI languishes in the Tower of London. But Edward will soon alienate his backers by favoring the family of his ambitious wife, Elizabeth Woodville. And he will fall out with his chief supporter, Warwick “the Kingmaker,” with dire consequences.
Told with extraordinary authority and narrative verve, Blood Royal is the second part of a two-volume history of the dynastic wars fought between the houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne from 1450 until 1485. Hugh Bicheno tells the story of the Wars of the Roses as an enthralling, character-driven saga of interwoven families, narrating each chapter from the point of view of a key player in the wider drama.
This latest volume describes three Lancastrian attempts to overthrow the Yorkists, ending with the death of Edward’s successor, Richard III, at Bosworth in 1485―and the accession of Henry VII and the rise of the Tudor dynasty. 8 pages of color illustrations, family trees, and maps.
Behind Palace Doors: My Years with the Queen Mother
The life of the Queen Mother was intensely secret. The most senior and best respected member of any royal family in history, she did not give one media interview in her 101 years. This affectionate and often hilarious glimpse into her world by her former equerry reveals what life was really like living with the most private of all the royals. From dancing with Fred Astaire to living through the Blitz; from the time Princess Margaret caught fire at a dinner party to when Prince Charles sought solace from his grandmother as his marriage collapsed, each anecdote and observation provides an historic insight into one of our longest surviving institutions. Constantly fascinating and packed from start to finish with previously untold stories that lift the lid on the idiosyncrasies of royal protocol, this is also a celebration of a life gone—and a way of life fast disappearing.
Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
The true story for fans of the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, this page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen—a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience.
“Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe’s monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public’s expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.
Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother’s meddling and an adviser’s bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security—queen of a quarter of the world’s population at the height of the British Empire’s reach.
Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria’s relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.
The Crown: The Official Companion: Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955)
Hardcover – 17 October 2017 (US)
The official companion to the critically acclaimed Netflix drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown by Peter Morgan, featuring additional historical background and exclusive images.
Starring Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, Netflix’s original series The Crown, created by Peter Morgan and growing out of his Oscar-winning movie The Queen starring Helen Mirren, paints a unique and intimate portrait of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. This official companion to the show’s first season is an in-depth exploration of the early years of Elizabeth II’s time as Queen, complete with extensive research, additional material, and exclusive, beautifully reproduced images.
One of the show’s most powerful themes is that royals do not choose their duty; it is thrust upon them. Princess Elizabeth never expected her father to die so suddenly, so young, leaving her not only a throne to fill but a global institution to govern. Crowned at twenty-five, already a wife and mother, follow the journey of a woman learning to become a queen while facing her own challenges within her own family. This is the story of how Elizabeth II drew on every ounce of strength and British reserve to deal with crises not only on the continent but at home as well.
Written by bestselling historical biographer Robert Lacey, who also serves as the show’s historical consultant, this official companion provides an in-depth exploration from behind the palace gates. Relive the majesty of the first season of the hit show, with behind-the-scenes photos, meticulously researched images from the time, and more.
Princess Olga: A Wild and Barefoot Romanov
This is very much a human interest story, told with humour by a down to earth woman struggling to make ends meet in the 21st century. The upkeep of her historical childhood home, Provender House, in the depths of the English countryside, is indeed a constant daily battle for this modern-day princess. Princess Olga Romanoff, is the daughter of the eldest nephew of Tsar Nicholas II, murdered with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918. She is the youngest child of the late Prince Andrei Alexandrovich of Russia, who was born in the Winter Palace in St Petersburg in 1897. He fled Russia in 1918 with his pregnant (first) wife and his father, Grand Duke Alexander Michaelovich, while his mother, Grand Duchess Xenia, and his grandmother, Her Imperial Majesty Empress Maria Feodorovna, followed a few months later. The fabled Romanov jewels that they were able to smuggle out had to be sold and the exiled family lived for some time at various grace-and-favour homes at Windsor and Hampton Court. The book is peppered with amusing anecdotes about the Royal Family, their British cousins. The reader will also get a glimpse of the Princess’s cosseted childhood. She was looked after by a number of nannies and then privately educated at home, as her mother remembered the terrible time she herself had had at boarding school. But Princess Olga preferred the outdoor life and riding her ponies. She still laughs at one of her mother’s ambitions which was to marry her off to Prince Charles! It was indeed an unusual upbringing with a snobbish and strict mother of Scottish and Scandinavian background, and a more relaxed and indulgent Romanov father whose occupation was stated as ‘Prince of Russia’ on Olga’s birth certificate. Her home, Provender House is crammed full of fascinating Romanov memorabilia, from the crockery used by the tsar and his family during their final captivity in Ekaterinburg, to the diamond blade penknife used for scratching the news of Prince Andrei’s birth on a window pane in the Winter Palace – still there for visitors to see. The rambling 30-room Provender House, now open to the public, has indeed been witness to some extraordinary tales – many of them hitherto untold – handed down by Princess Olga’s father.
The Queen’s Marriage
In this new book royal historian Lady Colin Campbell covers The Queen’s Marriage in intimate detail. Using her connections and impeccable sources she recounts details of the inside story of the monarch’s relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh and her close family.
The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain’s Greatest Dynasty
England’s Tudor monarchs–Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I–are perhaps the most celebrated and fascinating of all royal families in history. Their love affairs, their political triumphs, and their overturning of the religious order are the subject of countless works of popular scholarship. But for all we know about Henry’s quest for male heirs, or Elizabeth’s purported virginity, the lives of the Tudor monarchs away from the public eye remain largely beyond our grasp, mostly not chronicled by previous historians.
In The Private Lives of the Tudors, acclaimed historian Tracy Borman delves deep behind the public face of the monarchs, showing us what their lives were like beyond the stage of the court. Drawing on original material from those closest to them–courtiers like the “groom of the stool,” a much-coveted position, surprisingly–Borman examines Tudor life in fine detail. What did the monarchs eat? What clothes did they wear, and how were they designed, bought, and cared for? How did they wield power? When sick, how were they treated? What games did they play? How did they practice their faith? And whom did they love, and how did they give birth to the all-important heirs?
Exploring their education, upbringing, sexual lives, and taking us into the kitchens, bathrooms, schoolrooms, and bedrooms at court, The Private Lives of the Tudors charts the course of the entire dynasty, surfacing new and fascinating insights into these celebrated figures.
Inside the Royal Wardrobe (Dress and Fashion Research)
Queen Alexandra used clothes to fashion images of herself as a wife, a mother and a royal: a woman who both led Britain alongside her husband Edward VII and lived her life through fashion. Inside the Royal Wardrobe overturns the popular portrait of a vapid and neglected queen, examining the surviving garments of Alexandra, Princess of Wales who later became Queen Consort to unlock a rich tapestry of royal dress and society in the second half of the 19th century. More than 130 extraordinary garments from Alexandras wardrobe survive, from sumptuous court dress and politicised fancy dress to mourning attire and elegant coronation gowns, and can be found in various collections around the world, from London, Oslo and Denmark to New York, Toronto and Tokyo. Curator and fashion scholar Kate Strasdin places these garments at the heart of this in-depth study, examining their relationships to issues such as body politics, power, celebrity, social identity and performance, and interpreting Alexandras world from the objects out. Adopting an object-based methodology, the book features a range of original sources from letters, travel journals and newspaper editorials, to wardrobe accounts, memoirs, tailors ledgers and business records. Revealing a shrewd and socially aware woman attuned to the popular power of royal dress, the work will appeal to students and scholars of costume, fashion and dress history, as well as of material culture and 19th century history.
Red Roses: Blanche of Gaunt to Margaret Beaufort
The Wars of the Roses were not just fought by men on the battlefield. There were daughters, wives, mistresses, mothers, and queens who helped shape the most dramatic of English conflicts. This book traces the story of women on the Lancastrian side, from the children borne by Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt, through the turbulent 15th century to Margaret Beaufort’s son in 1485 and the establishment of the Tudor dynasty. From the secret liaisons of Katherine Swynford and Catherine of Valois to the love lives of Mary de Bohun and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, to the queenship of Joan of Navarre and Margaret of Anjou, this book explores their experiences as women. Faced with the dangers of treason and capture, defamation and childbirth, these extraordinary women survived in extraordinary times.
Darling Queen – Dear old Bones: Queen Wilhelmina’s correspondence with her English governess Miss Saxton Winter, 1886-1935
This book presents a remarkable collection of letters from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1880-1962) and her governess, Elizabeth Saxton Winter (1855-1936), an Englishwoman. The earliest letters are those of a child, sent to Miss Winter when she was on holiday in England, but after Wilhelmina’s education was finished in 1896 and she had no more need of a governess, she continued to write to Winter weekly. Her long letters cover a wide range of subjects: including her perspective on people and events, encounters with famous individuals, kings and emperors, but also sad times and loneliness, her belief in the Almighty, and above all, her development to her role as queen – her inauguration was in 1898 – and the high seriousness with which she regarded her duties. The resulting volume offers unprecedented insight into her life as child of her mother queen-regent Emma, as queen, as wife of prince Hendrik and as mother of princess Juliana.
Queens of Georgian Britain
Once upon a time there were four kings called George who, thanks to a quirk of fate, ruled Great Britain for over a century. Hailing from Germany, these occasionally mad, bad and infamous sovereigns presided over a land in turmoil. Yet what of the remarkable women who were crowned alongside them? From the forgotten princess locked in a tower to an illustrious regent, a devoted consort and a notorious party girl, the queens of Georgian Britain lived lives of scandal, romance and turbulent drama. Whether dipping into politics or carousing on the shores of Italy, Caroline of Ansbach, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Caroline of Brunswick refused to fade into the background. Queens of Georgian Britain offers a chance to step back in time and meet the women who ruled alongside the Georgian monarchs, not forgetting Sophia Dorothea of Celle, the passionate princess who never made it as far as the throne. From lonely childhoods to glittering palaces, via family feuds, smallpox, strapping soldiers and plenty of scheming, these are the queens who shaped an era.
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Amalasuintha: The Transformation of Queenship in the Post-Roman World
In this book, Massimiliano Vitiello situates the life and career of the Ostrogothic queen Amalasuintha (c. 494/5-535), daughter of Theoderic the Great, in the context of the transitional time, after the fall of Rome, during which new dynastic regimes were experimenting with various forms of political legitimation. A member of the Gothic elite raised in the Romanized palace of Ravenna, Amalasuintha married her father’s chosen successor and was set to become a traditional Gothic queen—a helpmate and advisor to her husband, the Visigothic prince Eutharic—with no formal political role of her own. But her early widowhood and the subsequent death of her father threw her into a position unprecedented in the Gothic world: a regent mother who assumed control of the government.
During her regency, Amalasuintha clashed with a conservative Gothic aristocracy who resisted her leadership, garnered support among her Roman and pro-Roman subjects, defended Italy from the ambitions of other kings, and negotiated the expansionistic designs of Justinian and Theodora. When her son died unexpectedly at a young age, she undertook her most dangerous political enterprise: forming an unmarried coregency with her cousin, Theodahad, whom she raised to the throne. His final betrayal would cost Amalasuintha her rule and her life.
Vitiello argues that Amalasuintha’s story reveals a key phase in the transformation of queenship in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, a time in which royal women slowly began exercising political power. Assessing the ancient sources for Amalasuintha’s biography, Cassiodorus, Procopius, Gregory of Tours, and Jordanes, Vitiello demonstrates the ways in which her life and public image show the influence of late Roman and Byzantine imperial models on the formation of female political power in the post-Roman world.