Compelling...A masterly feat...A magnificent, sweeping, authoritative, warm yet wry history.--The Wall Street Journal
In this fascinating and intimate portrait of the Stuarts, author Allan Massie takes us deep into one of history's bloodiest and most tumultuous reigns. Exploring the family's lineage from the first Stuart king to the last, The Royal Stuarts is a panoramic history of the family that acted as a major player in the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Union of the Crowns, the English Civil War, the Restoration, and more. Drawing on the accounts of historians past and present, novels, and plays, this is the complete story of the Stuart family, documenting their path from the salt marshes of Brittany to the thrones of Scotland and England and eventually to exile. The Royal Stuarts brings to life figures like Mary, Queens of Scots, Charles I, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, uncovering a family of strong affections and fierce rivalries. Told with panache, Allan Massie's The Royal Stuarts is the gripping true story of backstabbing, betrayal, and ambition gone awry.
"The most intimate book ever written about the Royals."--The Mail on Sunday
This fully updated edition of a classic biography is a revealing portrait of the most famous woman in the world through the eyes of those who've known her and worked with her over the years. Now, in her sixtieth year on the throne, Brian Hoey uses unrivaled access to past and present members of the Royal household to take a searching look at the ups and downs of Her Majesty's long reign.
Brian Hoey is a writer and broadcaster who has covered countless Royal events. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.
From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world's most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace. In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes "heiress presumptive" when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen's daily routines--the "red boxes" of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press--as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends. Praise for Elizabeth the Queen "An excellent, all-embracing new biography."--The New York Times " An] imposing, yet nimbly written, biography that] dwarfs the field . . . a most satisfying and enjoyable read, one to be savored at length."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "Fascinating . . . After sixty years on the throne, the monarch of Britain is better known for her poker face than for sly wit or easy charm. Yet in biographer Sally Bedell Smith's Elizabeth the Queen, Her Majesty sparkles with both."--More " A] smart and satisfying book."--Los Angeles Times
Illicit love, madness, betrayal--it isn't always good to be the queenMarie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots. What did they have in common? For a while they were crowned in gold, cosseted in silk, and flattered by courtiers. But in the end, they spent long nights in dark prison towers and were marched to the scaffold where they surrendered their heads to the executioner. And they are hardly alone in their undignified demises. Throughout history, royal women have had a distressing way of meeting bad ends--dying of starvation, being burned at the stake, or expiring in childbirth while trying desperately to produce an heir. They always had to be on their toes and all too often even devious plotting, miraculous pregnancies, and selling out their sisters was not enough to keep them from forcible consignment to religious orders. From Cleopatra (suicide by asp), to Princess Caroline (suspiciously poisoned on her coronation day), there's a gory downside to being blue-blooded when you lack a Y chromosome. Kris Waldherr's elegant little book is a chronicle of the trials and tribulations of queens across the ages, a quirky, funny, utterly macabre tribute to the dark side of female empowerment. Over the course of fifty irresistibly illustrated and too-brief lives, Doomed Queens charts centuries of regal backstabbing and intrigue. We meet well-known figures like Catherine of Aragon, whose happy marriage to Henry VIII ended prematurely when it became clear that she was a starter wife--the first of six. And we meet forgotten queens like Amalasuntha, the notoriously literate Ostrogoth princess who overreached politically and was strangled in her bath. While their ends were bleak, these queens did not die without purpose. Their unfortunate lives are colorful cautionary tales for today's would-be power brokers--a legacy of worldly and womanly wisdom gathered one spectacular regal ruin at a time.
In her lauded biography England's Mistress, Kate Williams painted a vivid and intimate portrait of Emma Hamilton, the lover of English national hero Lord Horatio Nelson. Now, with the same keen insight and gift for telling detail, Williams provides a gripping account of Queen Victoria's rise to the throne and her early years in power--as well as the tragic, little-known story of the princess whose demise made it all possible.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, monarchies across Europe found themselves in crisis. With mad King George III and his delinquent offspring tarnishing the realm, the English pinned their hopes on the only legitimate heir to the throne: the lovely and prudent Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince of Wales and granddaughter of the king. Sadly, those dreams faded when, at age twenty-one, she died after a complicated pregnancy and stillbirth. While a nation grieved, Charlotte's power-hungry uncles plotted quickly to produce a new heir. Only the Duke of Kent proved successful in his endeavor, with the birth of a girl named Victoria.
Writing with a combination of novelistic flair and historical precision, Williams reveals an energetic and vibrant woman in the prime of her life, while chronicling the byzantine machinations behind Victoria's struggle to occupy the throne--scheming that continued even after the crown was placed on her head.
Upon hearing of the death of her predecessor, King William IV, Victoria--in her bold first act as queen--banished her overambitious mother from the room, a simple yet resolute move that would set the tone for her reign. The queen clashed constantly not only with her mother and her mother's adviser, the Irish adventurer John Conroy, but with her ministers and even her beloved Prince Albert, all of whom, in one way or another, attempted to seize control from her.
By connecting Charlotte's sad fate to Victoria's majestic rule, Kate Williams lays bare the passions that swirled around the throne--the court secrets, the sexual repression, and the endless intrigue. The result is a grand and satisfying tale of a woman whose destiny began long before she was born and whose legacy lives on.
The Prussian king Frederick II is today best remembered for successfully defending his tiny country against the three great European powers of France, Austria, and Russia during the Seven Years' War. But in his youth, tormented by a spectacularly cruel and dyspeptic father, the future military genius was drawn to the flute and French poetry, and throughout his long life counted nothing more important than the company of good friends and great wits. This was especially evident in his longstanding, loving, and vexing relationship with Voltaire. An absolute ruler who was allergic to pomp, a non-hunter who wore no spurs, a reformer of great zeal who maintained complete freedom of the press and religion and cleaned up his country's courts, a fiscal conservative and patron of the arts, the builder of the rococo palace Sans Souci and improver of the farmers' lot, maddening to his rivals but beloved by nearly everyone he met, Frederick was--notwithstanding a penchant for merciless teasing--arguably the most humane of enlightened despots.In Frederick the Great, a richly entertaining biography of one of the eighteenth century's most fascinating figures, the trademark wit of the author of Love in a Cold Climate finds its ideal subject.
"An accessible, exciting narrative . . . Highly recommended for generalists interested in Russian history and those who enjoy the seamier side of past lives."--Library Journal (starred review) "An excellent condensed version of Russian history . . . a fine tale of history and scandal . . . sure to please general readers and monarchy buffs alike."--Publishers Weekly
"Tales from the nasty lives of global royalty . . . an easy-reading, lightweight history lesson."--Kirkus Reviews
"Readers of this book may get a sense of why Russians are so tolerant of tyrants like Stalin and Putin. Given their history, it probably seems normal."--The Washington Post
An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history.In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and a mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and Le n. Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Muslims and Christians, forcing North African invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea. She laid the foundation for a unified Spain. She sponsored Columbus's trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World. She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious Inquisition that would darken Spain's reputation for centuries. Whether saintly or satanic, no female leader has done more to shape our modern world. Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence. Using new scholarship, Downey's luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant, fervent, forgotten woman, the faith that propelled her through life, and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her command.