List books in category Biographies & Memoirs / Royalty

  • The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

    The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
    Helen Rappaport

    A 12-WEEK NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"Helen Rappaport paints a compelling portrait of the doomed grand duchesses." —People magazine"The public spoke of the sisters in a gentile, superficial manner, but Rappaport captures sections of letters and diary entries to showcase the sisters' thoughtfulness and intelligence." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Days of the Romanovs and Caught in the Revolution, The Romanov Sisters reveals the untold stories of the four daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra. They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Helen Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.

  • Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England s Most Notorious Royal Family

    Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England’s Most Notorious Royal Family
    Leanda de Lisle

    The Tudors are England's most dramatic royal family-Henry VIII notoriously divorced his queen and broke with the church of Rome, and Elizabeth I became the greatest English queen in history. But they are a dynasty still more extraordinary than the one we thought we knew.In an epic narrative sweeping from 1437 to the first decade of the seventeenth century, Tudor traces the rise and rule of the dynasty. Brutal political instability dominated England, and Leanda de Lisle reveals the personalities, passions, and obsessions of the men and women at its epicenter.This groundbreaking story opens at the unlikely beginning of the Tudor dynasty-with Owen Tudor, a handsome Welsh commoner who, with a pirouette and a trip, landed squarely in the lap of the English Monarchy. The struggle of Owen's grandson Henry VII and his heirs to secure the line of succession-and the hopes, loves, and losses of the claimants-are the focus of this book. The universal appeal of the Tudors also lies in the family stories: of a mother's love for her son, of the husband who kills his wives, of siblings who betray one another, of reckless love affairs, of rival cousins, of an old spinster whose heirs hope to hurry her to her end. Thrilling to read and bristling with religious and political intrigue, Tudor tells the true story behind the myths, throwing a fresh, new light on this perennially fascinating era.

  • Isabella: The Warrior Queen

    Isabella: The Warrior Queen
    Kirstin Downey

    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 historyBorn at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. 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 León. 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 with the help of Rodrigo Borgia, the infamous Pope Alexander VI. 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, in which millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence, due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand, the bold and philandering husband she adored. 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.

  • The Queen s Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth s Court

    The Queen’s Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth’s Court
    Anna Whitelock

    From the private world of a beloved English queen, a story of intimacy, royalty, espionage, rumor, and subterfugeQueen Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen's court lay her bedchamber, closely guarded by the favored women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels, and shared her bed. Elizabeth's private life was of public concern. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the makeup and raiment, as well as to rumored dalliances with such figures as Earl Robert Dudley. Their presence was for security as well as propriety, as the kingdom was haunted by fears of assassination plots and other Catholic stratagems. Such was the significance of the queen's body: it represented the very British state itself. In The Queen's Bed, the historian Anna Whitelock offers a revealing look at the Elizabethan court and the politics of intimacy. She dramatically reconstructs, for the first time, the queen's quarters and the women who patrolled them. It is a story of sex, gossip, conspiracy, and intrigue brought to life amid the colors, textures, smells, and routines of the royal court. The women who attended the queen held the truth about her health, chastity, and fertility. They were her friends, confidantes, and spies—nobody knew her better. And until now, historians have overlooked them. The Queen's Bed is a revelatory, insightful look into their daily lives—the untold story of the queen laid bare.

  • The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

    The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
    Alison Weir

    BONUS: This edition contains a The Lady in the Tower discussion guide and an excerpt from Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn.Nearly five hundred years after her violent death, Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII, remains one of the world's most fascinating, controversial, and tragic heroines. Now acclaimed historian and bestselling author Alison Weir has drawn on myriad sources from the Tudor era to give us the first book that examines, in unprecedented depth, the gripping, dark, and chilling story of Anne Boleyn's final days.The tempestuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn scandalized Christendom and altered forever the religious landscape of England. Anne's ascent from private gentlewoman to queen was astonishing, but equally compelling was her shockingly swift downfall. Charged with high treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London in May 1536, Anne met her terrible end all the while protesting her innocence. There remains, however, much mystery surrounding the queen's arrest and the events leading up to it: Were charges against her fabricated because she stood in the way of Henry VIII making a third marriage and siring an heir, or was she the victim of a more complex plot fueled by court politics and deadly rivalry? The Lady in the Tower examines in engrossing detail the motives and intrigues of those who helped to seal the queen's fate. Weir unravels the tragic tale of Anne's fall, from her miscarriage of the son who would have saved her to the horrors of her incarceration and that final, dramatic scene on the scaffold. What emerges is an extraordinary portrayal of a woman of great courage whose enemies were bent on utterly destroying her, and who was tested to the extreme by the terrible plight in which she found herself. Richly researched and utterly captivating, The Lady in the Tower presents the full array of evidence of Anne Boleyn's guilt—or innocence. Only in Alison Weir's capable hands can readers learn the truth about the fate of one of the most influential and important women in English history.

  • Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens

    Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
    Jane Dunn

    "Superb…. A perceptive, suspenseful account." –The New York Times Book Review"Dunn demythologizes Elizabeth and Mary. In humanizing their dynamic and shifting relationship, Dunn describes it as fueled by both rivalry and their natural solidarity as women in an overwhelmingly masculine world." –Boston HeraldThe political and religious conflicts between Queen Elizabeth I and the doomed Mary, Queen of Scots, have for centuries captured our imagination and inspired memorable dramas played out on stage, screen, and in opera. But few books have brought to life more vividly the exquisite texture of two women’s rivalry, spurred on by the ambitions and machinations of the forceful men who surrounded them. The drama has terrific resonance even now as women continue to struggle in their bid for executive power. Against the backdrop of sixteenth-century England, Scotland, and France, Dunn paints portraits of a pair of protagonists whose formidable strengths were placed in relentless opposition. Protestant Elizabeth, the bastard daughter of Anne Boleyn, whose legitimacy had to be vouchsafed by legal means, glowed with executive ability and a visionary energy as bright as her red hair. Mary, the Catholic successor whom England’s rivals wished to see on the throne, was charming, feminine, and deeply persuasive. That two such women, queens in their own right, should have been contemporaries and neighbours sets in motion a joint biography of rare spark and page-turning power.

  • Queens of the Conquest: England s Medieval Queens Book One

    Queens of the Conquest: England’s Medieval Queens Book One
    Alison Weir

    In the first volume of an exciting new series, bestselling author Alison Weir brings the dramatic reigns of England’s medieval queens to life. The lives of England’s medieval queens were packed with incident—love, intrigue, betrayal, adultery, and warfare—but their stories have been largely obscured by centuries of myth and omission. Now esteemed biographer Alison Weir provides a fresh perspective and restores these women to their rightful place in history. Spanning the years from the Norman conquest in 1066 to the dawn of a new era in 1154, when Henry II succeeded to the throne and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the first Plantagenet queen, was crowned, this epic book brings to vivid life five women, including: Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, the first Norman king; Matilda of Scotland, revered as “the common mother of all England”; and Empress Maud, England’s first female ruler, whose son King Henry II would go on to found the Plantagenet dynasty. More than those who came before or after them, these Norman consorts were recognized as equal sharers in sovereignty. Without the support of their wives, the Norman kings could not have ruled their disparate dominions as effectively. Drawing from the most reliable contemporary sources, Weir skillfully strips away centuries of romantic lore to share a balanced and authentic take on the importance of these female monarchs. What emerges is a seamless royal saga, an all-encompassing portrait of English medieval queenship, and a sweeping panorama of British history. Praise for Queens of the Conquest“Best-selling author [Alison] Weir pens another readable, well-researched English history, the first in a proposed four-volume series on England’s medieval queens. . . . Weir’s research skills and storytelling ability combine beautifully to tell a fascinating story supported by excellent historical research. Fans of her fiction and nonfiction will enjoy this latest work.”—Library Journal (starred review) “Another sound feminist resurrection by a seasoned historian . . . Though Norman queens were largely unknowable, leave it to this prolific historical biographer to bring them to life. . . . As usual, Weir is meticulous in her research.”—Kirkus Reviews

  • Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood: France in Revolution

    Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood: France in Revolution
    Olivier Bernier

    This book is a unique history of the French Revolution – a colorful, insightful, and impassioned recounting of the events that signaled the birth of modern France and, indeed, the modern world. In the space of just a few years, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette descended from immense popularity and unquestionable power to a place on the scaffold. Beginning with the storming of the Bastille, the government of France went from oligarchy to near anarchy, and finally, to the formation of a republic. Along the way, the names of the major players – from Marat and Robespierre to Talleyrand and Mirabeau – were etched into the history of France as well as the rest of the world.Award-winning historian and biographer Olivier Bernier has turned to primary sources – including the correspondence of Marie Antoinette, the journals of the governess of the royal children, eyewitness accounts, and newspapers and journals of the time – to make sense of the rapid and profound change the Revolution incited. Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood is a stirring account of one of the most fascinating and significant periods in history.

  • Dark History of the Kings & Queens of Europe

    Dark History of the Kings & Queens of Europe
    Brenda Ralph Lewis

    ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.’ William Shakespeare ‘I shall be an autocrat: that’s my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: that’s his.’ Catherine the Great To many, Europe has been the pinnacle of world sophistication and culture. Yet beneath the power, the glamour, and the splendour there has also been scandal, mystery and skullduggery. Kings & Queens of Europe: A Dark History peels away the glory and the glitz to take a wry look at what has really gone on in the corridors, bedrooms and dungeons of European power from the fourteenth century up to the present day. Including Vlad the Impaler’s stakes, Elizabeth Bathory’s razor blades, Philip IV’s starvation of the Knights Templars, the man in the iron mask, many mad monarchs from Juana I the Mad of Spain to Ludwig II of Bavaria, zand the troubled life of Princess Grace of Monaco, Kings & Queens of Europe: A Dark History is illustrated throughout and offers a lively, highly varied portrait of continental European monarchy.

  • Livia, Empress of Rome: A Biography

    Livia, Empress of Rome: A Biography
    Matthew Dennison

    Rome is a subject of endless fascination, and in this new biography of the infamous Empress Livia, Matthew Dennison brings to life a woman long believed to be one of the most feared villainesses of history.Second wife of the emperor Augustus, mother of his successor Tiberius, grandmother of Claudius and great grandmother of Caligula, the empress Livia lived close to the center of Roman political power for eight turbulent decades. Her life spanned the years of Rome's transformation from Republic to Empire, and witnessed both its triumphs under the rule of Augustus and its lapse into instability under his dysfunctional successor.Livia was given the honorific title Augusta in her husband's will, and was posthumously deified by the emperor Claudius—but posterity would prove less respectful. The Roman historian Tacitus anathematized her as "malevolent" and a "feminine bully" and inspired Robert Graves's celebrated twentieth-century depiction of Livia in I, Claudius as the quintessence of the scheming matriarch, poisoning her relatives one by one to smooth her son's path to the imperial throne.Livia, Empress of Rome rescues the historical Livia from the crude caricature of popular myth to paint an elegant and richly textured portrait. In this rigorously researched biography, Dennison weighs the evidence found in contemporary sources to present a more nuanced assessment. Livia's true "crime," he reveals, was not murder but the exercise of power. The Livia who emerges here is a complex, courageous and gifted woman, and one of the most fascinating and perplexing figures of the ancient world.

  • The Myth of Bloody Mary : A Biography of Queen Mary I of England

    The Myth of “Bloody Mary”: A Biography of Queen Mary I of England
    Linda Porter

    In this groundbreaking new biography of "Bloody Mary," Linda Porter brings to life a queen best remembered for burning hundreds of Protestant heretics at the stake, but whose passion, will, and sophistication have for centuries been overlooked.Daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, wife of Philip of Spain, and sister of Edward VI, Mary Tudor was a cultured Renaissance princess. A Latin scholar and outstanding musician, her love of fashion was matched only by her zeal for gambling. It is the tragedy of Queen Mary that today, 450 years after her death, she remains the most hated, least understood monarch in English history.Linda Porter's pioneering new biography—based on contemporary documents and drawing from recent scholarship—cuts through the myths to reveal the truth about the first queen to rule England in her own right. Mary learned politics in a hard school, and was cruelly treated by her father and bullied by the strongmen of her brother, Edward VI. An audacious coup brought her to the throne, and she needed all her strong will and courage to keep it. Mary made a grand marriage to Philip of Spain, but her attempts to revitalize England at home and abroad were cut short by her premature death at the age of forty-two. The first popular biography of Mary in thirty years, The First Queen of England offers a fascinating, controversial look at this much-maligned queen.

  • The Children of Henry VIII

    The Children of Henry VIII
    Alison Weir

    “Fascinating . . . Alison Weir does full justice to the subject.”—The Philadelphia InquirerAt his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife Katherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the teenage daughter of his second wife Anne Boleyn; and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. In this riveting account Alison Weir paints a unique portrait of these extraordinary rulers, examining their intricate relationships to each other and to history. She traces the tumult that followed Henry's death, from the brief intrigue-filled reigns of the boy king Edward VI and the fragile Lady Jane Grey, to the savagery of "Bloody Mary," and finally the accession of the politically adroit Elizabeth I.As always, Weir offers a fresh perspective on a period that has spawned many of the most enduring myths in English history, combining the best of the historian's and the biographer's art.“Like anthropology, history and biography can demonstrate unfamiliar ways of feeling and being. Alison Weir's sympathetic collective biography, The Children of Henry VIII does just that, reminding us that human nature has changed–and for the better. . . . Weir imparts movement and coherence while re-creating the suspense her characters endured and the suffering they inflicted.”—The New York Times Book Review

  • We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals

    We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals
    Gillian Gill

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"[A] delectable double bio . . . Talk about Victoria’s secret. . . . A fascinating portrait of a genuine love match, but one in which the partners dealt with surprisingly modern issues.” —USA TodayIt was the most influential marriage of the nineteenth century—and one of history’ s most enduring love stories. Traditional biographies tell us that Queen Victoria inherited the throne as a naïve teenager, when the British Empire was at the height of its power, and seemed doomed to find failure as a monarch and misery as a woman until she married her German cousin Albert and accepted him as her lord and master. Now renowned chronicler Gillian Gill turns this familiar story on its head, revealing a strong, feisty queen and a brilliant, fragile prince working together to build a family based on support, trust, and fidelity, qualities neither had seen much of as children. The love affair that emerges is far more captivating, complex, and relevant than that depicted in any previous account. The epic relationship began poorly. The cousins first met as teenagers for a few brief, awkward, chaperoned weeks in 1836. At seventeen, charming rather than beautiful, Victoria already “showed signs of wanting her own way.” Albert, the boy who had been groomed for her since birth, was chubby, self-absorbed, and showed no interest in girls, let alone this princess. So when they met again in 1839 as queen and presumed prince-consort-to-be, neither had particularly high hopes. But the queen was delighted to discover a grown man, refined, accomplished, and whiskered. “Albert is beautiful!” Victoria wrote, and she proposed just three days later. As Gill reveals, Victoria and Albert entered their marriage longing for intimate companionship, yet each was determined to be the ruler. This dynamic would continue through the years—each spouse, headstrong and impassioned, eager to lead the marriage on his or her own terms. For two decades, Victoria and Albert engaged in a very public contest for dominance. Against all odds, the marriage succeeded, but it was always a work in progress. And in the end, it was Albert’s early death that set the Queen free to create the myth of her marriage as a peaceful idyll and her husband as Galahad, pure and perfect. As Gill shows, the marriage of Victoria and Albert was great not because it was perfect but because it was passionate and complicated. Wonderfully nuanced, surprising, often acerbic—and informed by revealing excerpts from the pair’s journals and letters—We Two is a revolutionary portrait of a queen and her prince, a fascinating modern perspective on a couple who have become a legend.BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide.

  • Mary Tudor: England s First Queen

    Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen
    Anna Whitelock

    An engrossing, unadulterated biography of “Bloody Mary”—elder daughter of Henry VIII, Catholic zealot, and England’s first reigning Queen Mary Tudor was the first woman to inherit the throne of England. Reigning through one of Britain’s stormiest eras, she earned the nickname “Bloody Mary” for her violent religious persecutions. She was born a princess, the daughter of Henry VIII and the Spanish Katherine of Aragon. Yet in the wake of Henry’s break with Rome, Mary, a devout Catholic, was declared illegitimate and was disinherited. She refused to accept her new status or to recognize Henry’s new wife, Anne Boleyn, as queen. She faced imprisonment and even death. Mary successfully fought to reclaim her rightful place in the Tudor line, but her coronation would not end her struggles. She flouted fierce opposition in marrying Philip of Spain, sought to restore England to the Catholic faith, and burned hundreds of dissenters at the stake. But beneath her hard exterior was a woman whose private traumas of phantom pregnancies, debilitating illnesses, and unrequited love played out in the public glare of the fickle court. Though often overshadowed by her long-reigning sister, Elizabeth I, Mary Tudor was a complex figure of immense courage, determination, and humanity—and a political pioneer who proved that a woman could rule with all the power of her male predecessors.

  • The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

    The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England
    Dan Jones

    The New York Times bestseller, from the author of Crusaders, that tells the story of Britain’s greatest and worst dynasty—“a real-life Game of Thrones” (The Wall Street Journal)The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.

  • The Romanovs: 1613-1918

    The Romanovs: 1613-1918
    Simon Sebag Montefiore

    The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world’s greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, with a global cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy and Pushkin, to Bismarck, Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Lenin. To rule Russia was both imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice: six of the last twelve tsars were murdered. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death while making Russia an empire, and dominated his court with a dining club notable for compulsory drunkenness, naked dwarfs and fancy dress. Catherine the Great overthrew her own husband (who was murdered soon afterward), enjoyed affairs with a series of young male favorites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul I was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who in turn faced Napoleon’s invasion and the burning of Moscow, then went on to take Paris. Alexander II liberated the serfs, survived five assassination attempts and wrote perhaps the most explicit love letters ever composed by a ruler. The Romanovs climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas II and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution—and the harrowing massacre of the entire family.Dazzlingly entertaining and beautifully written from start to finish, The Romanovs brings these monarchs—male and female, great and flawed, their families and courts—blazingly to life. Drawing on new archival research, Montefiore delivers an enthralling epic of triumph and tragedy, love and murder, encompassing the seminal years 1812, 1914 and 1917, that is both a universal study of power and a portrait of empire that helps define Russia today.

  • Elizabeth And Essex - A Tragic History

    Elizabeth And Essex – A Tragic History
    Lytton Strachey

    A fascinating history of Elizabeth I 'The Virgin Queen and one of her male favorites the Earl of Essex, 30 years her junior. The relationship caused a stir in its day and led to questions, rumors and endless gossip.

  • Mary Queen of Scots

    Mary Queen of Scots
    Antonia Fraser

    “A book that will leave few readers unmoved.”–San Francisco ChronicleShe was the quintessential queen: statuesque, regal, dazzlingly beautiful. Her royal birth gave her claim to the thrones of two nations; her marriage to the young French dauphin promised to place a third glorious crown on her noble head. Instead, Mary Stuart became the victim of her own impulsive heart, scandalizing her world with a foolish passion that would lead to abduction, rape and even murder. Betrayed by those she most trusted, she would be lured into a deadly game of power, only to lose to her envious and unforgiving cousin, Elizabeth I. Here is her story, a queen who lost a throne for love, a monarch pampered and adored even as she was led to her beheading, the unforgettable woman who became a legend for all time. Praise for Mary Queen of Scots“She was sometimes reviled as a scheming whore, sometimes revered as a misunderstood martyr. But she was invariably regarded as fascinating. Antonia Fraser’s richly readable biography demonstrates that Mary’s great fascination continues unabated.”—Time“Compassionate, illuminating, rich in human interest.”—The New York Times ”One of the most fascinating figures in history.” —The Columbus Dispatch “With grace, sensitivity, and a sharp eye for detail, lady Antonia Fraser has succeeded not only in recapturing the real Mary from the symbol but also in illuminating the chaotic age in which she lived.”—Newsweek

  • The Royals

    The Royals
    Kitty Kelley

    The #1 New York Times bestselling, controversial portrait of the British royal family — as told from behind the palace walls — for fans of Netflix's The Crown and all royal watchersThey are the most chronicled family on the face of the globe. Their every move attracts headlines. Now Kitty Kelley has gone behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace to raise the curtain on the men and women who make up the British royal family. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana…here are the scandals of the last decades: the doomed marriages and the husbands, wives, lovers and children caught in their wake and damaged beyond repair. No one is spared.

  • Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War

    Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War
    Robert K. Massie

    A gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century’s first great arms race, from Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie With the biographer’s rare genius for expressing the essence of extraordinary lives, Massie brings to life a crowd of glittery figures: the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz; the young, ambitious Winston Churchill; the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow; Britain’s greatest twentieth-century foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey; and Jacky Fisher, the eccentric admiral who revolutionized the British navy and brought forth the first true battleship, the H.M.S. Dreadnought. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tragedy in this powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, Dreadnought is history at its most riveting. Praise for Dreadnought “Dreadnought is history in the grand manner, as most people prefer it: how people shaped, or were shaped by, events.”—Time “A classic [that] covers superbly a whole era . . . engrossing in its glittering gallery of characters.”—Chicago Sun-Times “[Told] on a grand scale . . . Massie [is] a master of historical portraiture and anecdotage.”—The Wall Street Journal “Brilliant on everything he writes about ships and the sea. It is Massie’s eye for detail that makes his nautical set pieces so marvelously evocative.”—Los Angeles Times

  • Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise

    Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise
    Melanie Clegg

    The little-known story of the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots and her feud with the Tudors: “Will fascinate anyone who loves a simmering, twisting tale” (All About History). Mary, Queen of Scots continues to intrigue both historians and the general public—but the story of her mother, Marie de Guise, is much less well known. A political power in her own right, she was born into the powerful and ambitious Lorraine family, spending her formative years at the dazzling, licentious court of François I. Although briefly courted by Henry VIII, she instead married his nephew, James V of Scotland, in 1538. James’s premature death four years later left their six-day-old daughter, Mary, as queen, and presented Marie with the formidable challenge of winning the support of the Scottish people and protecting her daughter’s threatened birthright. Content until now to remain in the background and play the part of the obedient wife, Marie spent the next eighteen years effectively governing Scotland—devoting her considerable intellect, courage, and energy to safeguarding her daughter’s inheritance by using a deft mixture of cunning, charm, determination, and tolerance. This biography, from the author of Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History, tells the story and offers a fresh assessment of this most fascinating and underappreciated of sixteenth-century female rulers.

  • A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain

    A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain
    Marc Morris

    The first major biography of a truly formidable king, whose reign was one of the most dramatic and important of the entire Middle Ages, leading to war and conquest on an unprecedented scale. Edward I is familiar to millions as "Longshanks," conqueror of Scotland and nemesis of Sir William Wallace (in "Braveheart"). Yet this story forms only the final chapter of the king's action-packed life. Earlier, Edward had defeated and killed the famous Simon de Montfort in battle; travelled to the Holy Land; conquered Wales, extinguishing forever its native rulers and constructing a magnificent chain of castles. He raised the greatest armies of the Middle Ages and summoned the largest parliaments; notoriously, he expelled all the Jews from his kingdom.The longest-lived of England's medieval kings, he fathered fifteen children with his first wife, Eleanor of Castile, and, after her death, he erected the Eleanor Crosses—the grandest funeral monuments ever fashioned for an English monarch. In this book, Marc Morris examines afresh the forces that drove Edward throughout his relentless career: his character, his Christian faith, and his sense of England's destiny—a sense shaped in particular by the tales of the legendary King Arthur. He also explores the competing reasons that led Edward's opponents (including Robert Bruce) to resist him. The result is a sweeping story, immaculately researched yet compellingly told, and a vivid picture of medieval Britain at the moment when its future was decided.

  • Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution

    Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution
    Caroline Weber

    In this dazzling new vision of the ever-fascinating queen, a dynamic young historian reveals how Marie Antoinette's bold attempts to reshape royal fashion changed the future of FranceMarie Antoinette has always stood as an icon of supreme style, but surprisingly none of her biographers have paid sustained attention to her clothes. In Queen of Fashion, Caroline Weber shows how Marie Antoinette developed her reputation for fashionable excess, and explains through lively, illuminating new research the political controversies that her clothing provoked. Weber surveys Marie Antoinette's "Revolution in Dress," covering each phase of the queen's tumultuous life, beginning with the young girl, struggling to survive Versailles's rigid traditions of royal glamour (twelve-foot-wide hoopskirts, whalebone corsets that crushed her organs). As queen, Marie Antoinette used stunning, often extreme costumes to project an image of power and wage war against her enemies. Gradually, however, she began to lose her hold on the French when she started to adopt "unqueenly" outfits (the provocative chemise) that, surprisingly, would be adopted by the revolutionaries who executed her. Weber's queen is sublime, human, and surprising: a sometimes courageous monarch unwilling to allow others to determine her destiny. The paradox of her tragic story, according to Weber, is that fashion—the vehicle she used to secure her triumphs—was also the means of her undoing. Weber's book is not only a stylish and original addition to Marie Antoinette scholarship, but also a moving, revelatory reinterpretation of one of history's most controversial figures.

  • The Secret Wife of King George IV

    The Secret Wife of King George IV
    Diane Haeger

    Although it was illegal, secret, and against the express commands of his famously mad father, King George IV of England married twice–once for duty and once for love. While Caroline of Brunswick eventually became his lawful queen, it was the beautiful Maria Fitzherbert, recognized as his wife by the Catholic Church but not by the laws of England, who claimed his heart. In the hands of author Diane Haeger, their relationship becomes a mesmerizing love story, filled with intrigue and passion. The characters and drawing rooms of 18th Century England come alive to create a portrait of the age that is colorful and resonant with historical detail.

  • Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words

    Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words
    Andrew Morton

    The sensational biography of Princess Diana, written with her cooperation and now featuring exclusive new material to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death.When Diana: Her True Story was first published in 1992, it forever changed the way the public viewed the British monarchy. Greeted initially with disbelief and ridicule, the #1 New York Times bestselling biography has become a unique literary classic, not just because of its explosive contents but also because of Diana’s intimate involvement in the publication. Never before had a senior royal spoken in such a raw, unfiltered way about her unhappy marriage, her relationship with the Queen, her extraordinary life inside the House of Windsor, her hopes, her fears, and her dreams. Now, twenty-five years on, biographer Andrew Morton has revisited the secret tapes he and the late princess made to reveal startling new insights into her life and mind. In this fully revised edition of his groundbreaking biography, Morton considers Diana’s legacy and her relevance to the modern royal family. An icon in life and a legend in death, Diana continues to fascinate. Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words is the closest we will ever come to her autobiography.

  • Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

    Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty
    Robert K. Massie

    The story of the love that ended an empireIn this commanding book, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté, Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history—the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Robert K. Massie's Catherine the Great. Praise for Nicholas and Alexandra“A larger-than-life drama.”—Saturday Review“A moving, rich book . . . [This] revealing, densely documented account of the last Romanovs focuses not on the great events . . . but on the royal family and their evil nemesis. . . . The tale is so bizarre, no melodrama is equal to it.”—Newsweek“A wonderfully rich tapestry, the colors fresh and clear, every strand sewn in with a sure hand. Mr. Massie describes those strange and terrible years with sympathy and understanding. . . . They come vividly before our eyes.”—The New York Times “An all-too-human picture . . . Both Nicholas and Alexandra with all their failings come truly alive, as does their almost storybook romance.”—Newsday “A magnificent and intimate picture . . . Not only the main characters but a whole era become alive and comprehensible.”—Harper’s

  • The Tudors: The Complete Story of England s Most Notorious Dynasty

    The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty
    G. J. Meyer

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For the first time in decades comes a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country.“A thoroughly readable and often compelling narrative . . . Five centuries have not diminished the appetite for all things Tudor.”—Associated PressIn 1485, young Henry Tudor, whose claim to the throne was so weak as to be almost laughable, crossed the English Channel from France at the head of a ragtag little army and took the crown from the family that had ruled England for almost four hundred years. Half a century later his son, Henry VIII, desperate to rid himself of his first wife in order to marry a second, launched a reign of terror aimed at taking powers no previous monarch had even dreamed of possessing. In the process he plunged his kingdom into generations of division and disorder, creating a legacy of blood and betrayal that would blight the lives of his children and the destiny of his country.The boy king Edward VI, a fervent believer in reforming the English church, died before bringing to fruition his dream of a second English Reformation. Mary I, the disgraced daughter of Catherine of Aragon, tried and failed to reestablish the Catholic Church and produce an heir. And finally came Elizabeth I, who devoted her life to creating an image of herself as Gloriana the Virgin Queen but, behind that mask, sacrificed all chance of personal happiness in order to survive. The Tudors weaves together all the sinners and saints, the tragedies and triumphs, the high dreams and dark crimes, that reveal the Tudor era to be, in its enthralling, notorious truth, as momentous and as fascinating as the fictions audiences have come to love.BONUS: This edition contains a The Tudors discussion guide.Praise for The Tudors“A rich and vibrant tapestry.”—The Star-Ledger“A thoroughly readable and often compelling narrative . . . Five centuries have not diminished the appetite for all things Tudor.”—Associated Press“Energetic and comprehensive . . . [a] sweeping history of the gloriously infamous Tudor era . . . Unlike the somewhat ponderous British biographies of the Henrys, Elizabeths, and Boleyns that seem to pop up perennially, The Tudors displays flashy, fresh irreverence [and cuts] to the quick of the action.”—Kirkus Reviews“[A] cheeky, nuanced, and authoritative perspective . . . brims with enriching background discussions.”—Publishers Weekly“[A] lively new history.”—Bloomberg

  • The Princes in the Tower

    The Princes in the Tower
    Alison Weir

    "Comprehensive and insightful, THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER offers a unique perspective on a profound mystery." Faye KellermanDespite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain one of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill the young princes, as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely? Carefully examining every shred of contemporary evidence as well as the dozens of modern accounts, Weir reconstructs the entire chain of events leading to the double murder to arrive at a conclusion Sherlock Holmes himself could not dispute.

  • A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

    A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III
    Janice Hadlow

    The Times Best Books of the Year • The Sunday Times Best Books of the Year The New Statesman Book of the Year selection by Lucy Hughes-Hallett BBC History Magazine Book of the Year selection by Helen Rappaport"A masterpiece . . . . [T]his heartbreaking narrative of family dysfunction and royal sacrifice is an absolute page-turner." —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire"[A] fascinating, story-filled account . . . . Each story is a revelation." —Jenny Uglow, The GuardianThe surprising, deliciously dramatic, and ultimately heartbreaking story of King George III's radical pursuit of happiness in his private life with Queen Charlotte and their 15 childrenIn the U.S., Britain's George III, the protagonist of A Royal Experiment, is known as the king from whom Americans won their independence and as "the mad king," but in Janice Hadlow's groundbreaking and entertaining new biography, he is another character altogether—compelling and relatable.He was the first of Britain's three Hanoverian kings to be born in England, the first to identify as native of the nation he ruled. But this was far from the only difference between him and his predecessors. Neither of the previous Georges was faithful to his wife, nor to his mistresses. Both hated their own sons. And, overall, their children were angry, jealous, and disaffected schemers, whose palace shenanigans kick off Hadlow's juicy narrative and also made their lives unhappy ones.Pained by his childhood amid this cruel and feuding family, George came to the throne aspiring to be a new kind of king—a force for moral good. And to be that new kind of king, he had to be a new kind of man. Against his irresistibly awful family background—of brutal royal intrigue, infidelity, and betrayal—George fervently pursued a radical domestic dream: he would have a faithful marriage and raise loving, educated, and resilient children.The struggle of King George—along with his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their 15 children—to pursue a passion for family will surprise history buffs and delight a broad swath of biography readers and royal watchers.

  • Empress Wu the Great: Tang Dynasty China

    Empress Wu the Great: Tang Dynasty China
    X. L. Woo

    Europe and Great Britain have had many sovereign queens in the course of history. In ancient China, there was none of that. Only one Empress ever ruled China in her own name OCo Empress Wu. Given her startling performance in a world of deadly intrigue and shifting loyalties, Wu is still respected as an effective and clear-sighted ruler."

  • Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne

    Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne
    Christopher Andersen

    A moving and compulsively readable look into the lives, loves, relationships, and rivalries among the three women at the heart of the British royal family today: Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and Kate Middleton—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Good Son, These Few Precious Days, and The Day Diana Died.One has been famous longer than anyone on the planet—a dutiful daughter, a frustrated mother, a doting grandmother, a steel-willed taskmaster, a wily stateswoman, an enduring symbol of an institution that has lasted a thousand years, and a global icon who has not only been an eyewitness to history but a part of it. One is the great-granddaughter of a King’s mistress and one of the most famous “other women” of the modern age—a woman who somehow survived a firestorm of scorn to ultimately marry the love of her life, and in the process replace her arch rival, one of the most beloved figures of the twentieth century. One is a beautiful commoner, the university-educated daughter of a flight attendant-turned-millionaire entrepreneur, a fashion scion the equal of her adored mother-in-law, and the first woman since King George V’s wife, Queen Mary, to lay claim to being the daughter-in-law of one future king, the wife another, and the mother of yet another. Game of Crowns is an in-depth and exquisitely researched exploration of the lives of these three remarkable women and the striking and sometimes subtle ways in which their lives intersect and intertwine. Examining their surprising similarities and stark differences, Andersen travels beyond the royal palace walls to illustrate who these three women really are today—and how they will directly reshape the landscape of the monarchy.

  • The Diana Chronicles

    The Diana Chronicles
    Tina Brown

    Years after her death, Princess Diana remains a mystery. Was she “the people’s princess,” who electrified the world with her beauty and humanitarian missions? Or was she a manipulative, media-savvy neurotic who nearly brought down the monarchy?Only Tina Brown, former Editor-in-Chief of Tatler, England’s glossiest gossip magazine; Vanity Fair; and The New Yorker could possibly give us the truth. Tina knew Diana personally and has far-reaching insight into the royals and the Queen herself.In The Diana Chronicles, you will meet a formidable female cast and understand as never before the society that shaped them: Diana's sexually charged mother, her scheming grandmother, the stepmother she hated but finally came to terms with, and bad-girl Fergie, her sister-in-law, who concealed wounds of her own. Most formidable of them all was her mother-in-law, the Queen, whose admiration Diana sought till the day she died. Add Camilla Parker-Bowles, the ultimate "other woman" into this combustible mix, and it's no wonder that Diana broke out of her royal cage into celebrity culture, where she found her own power and used it to devastating effect.

  • Dark History of the Kings & Queens of England

    Dark History of the Kings & Queens of England
    Brenda Ralph Lewis

    Despite its reputation as the longest established in Europe, the history of the English monarchy is punctuated by scandal, murders, betrayals, plots, and treason. Since William the Conqueror seized the crown in 1066, England has seen three civil wars; six monarchs have been murdered or executed; the throne of England has been usurped four times, and won in battle three times; and personal scandals and royal family quarrels abound. Dark History of The Kings & Queens of England provides an exciting and dramatic account of English royal history from 1066 to the present day. This engrossing book explores the scandal and intrigue behind each royal dynasty, from the ‘accidental’ murder of William II in 1100, through the excesses of Richard III, Henry VIII and ‘Bloody’ Mary, to the conspiracies surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. Carefully researched, superbly entertaining and illustrated throughout with more than 200 colour and black-and-white photographs and artworks, this accessible and immensely enjoyable book highlights the true personalities and real lives of the individuals honoured with the crown of England—and those unfortunate enough to cross their paths.

  • A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy

    A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy
    Helen Rappaport

    As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queen's obsessive love for her husband – a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert's death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later. Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama–the crucial final months of the prince's life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen's retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince's chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.

  • Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

    Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
    Sally Bedell Smith

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Perfect for fans of The Crown, this magisterial biography of Queen Elizabeth II is a close-up view of the woman we’ve known only from a distance—and a captivating window into the last great monarchy.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

  • Frederick the Great: King of Prussia

    Frederick the Great: King of Prussia
    Tim Blanning

    The definitive biography of the legendary autocrat whose enlightened rule transformed the map of Europe and changed the course of history Few figures loom as large in European history as Frederick the Great. When he inherited the Prussian crown in 1740, he ruled over a kingdom of scattered territories, a minor Germanic backwater. By the end of his reign, the much larger and consolidated Prussia ranked among the continent’s great powers. In this magisterial biography, award-winning historian Tim Blanning gives us an intimate, in-depth portrait of a king who dominated the political, military, and cultural life of Europe half a century before Napoleon.A brilliant, ambitious, sometimes ruthless monarch, Frederick was a man of immense contradictions. This consummate conqueror was also an ardent patron of the arts who attracted painters, architects, musicians, playwrights, and intellectuals to his court. Like his fellow autocrat Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick was captivated by the ideals of the Enlightenment—for many years he kept up lively correspondence with Voltaire and other leading thinkers of the age. Yet, like Catherine, Frederick drew the line when it came to implementing Enlightenment principles that might curtail his royal authority. Frederick’s terrifying father instilled in him a stern military discipline that would make the future king one of the most fearsome battlefield commanders of his day, while deriding as effeminate his son’s passion for modern ideas and fine art. Frederick, driven to surpass his father’s legacy, challenged the dominant German-speaking powers, including Saxony, Bavaria, and the Habsburg Monarchy. It was an audacious foreign policy gambit, one at which Frederick, against the expectations of his rivals, succeeded. In examining Frederick’s private life, Blanning also carefully considers the long-debated question of Frederick’s sexuality, finding evidence that Frederick lavished gifts on his male friends and maintained homosexual relationships throughout his life, while limiting contact with his estranged, unloved queen to visits that were few and far between. The story of one man’s life and the complete political and cultural transformation of a nation, Tim Blanning’s sweeping biography takes readers inside the mind of the monarch, giving us a fresh understanding of Frederick the Great’s remarkable reign.Praise for Frederick the Great “Writing Frederick’s biography . . . requires a diverse set of skills: expertise in eighteenth-century diplomatic and military history, including the intricacies of the Holy Roman Empire; a familiarity with the music, architecture and intellectual traditions of Northern Europe; and, not least, a profound sense of human psychology, the better to grasp the makeup of this complex and tormented man. Fortunately, Tim Blanning . . . has all of these skills in abundance.”—The Wall Street Journal “At once scholarly and highly readable . . . [Blanning] has given us a superb portrait of an enlightened despot, equally at home on the battlefield and in the opera house, both utterly ruthless and culturally refined.”—Commentary “Blanning, in clear thinking and prose, investigates all aspects of Frederick’s personality and reign. . . . The last word on this significant king, for years to come.”—Booklist (starred review)“Masterly . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history.”—The Telegraph (five stars) “A supremely nuanced account . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers.”—Literary Review

  • Britain s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy

    Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy
    Alison Weir

    Fascinating and authoritative of Britain's royal families from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria, by leading popular historian Alison Weir 'George III is alleged to have married secretly, on 17th April, 1759, a Quakeress called Hannah Lightfoot. If George III did make such a marriage…then his subsequent marriage to Queen Charlotte was bigamous, and every monarch of Britain since has been a usurper, the rightful heirs of George III being his children by Hannah Lightfoot…' Britain's Royal Families provides in one volume, complete genealogical details of all members of the royal houses of England, Scotland and Great Britain – from 800AD to the present. Drawing on countless authorities, both ancient and modern, Alison Weir explores the crown and royal family tree in unprecedented depth and provides a comprehensive guide to the heritage of today's royal family – with fascinating insight and often scandalous secrets.'Staggeringly useful… combines solid information with tantalising appetisers.’ Mail on Sunday

  • Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart

    Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
    John Guy

    This Whitbread Award–winning biography and basis for the film Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie “reads like Shakespearean drama” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “A triumph . . . A masterpiece full of fire and tragedy.” —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana In the first full-scale biography of Mary Stuart in more than thirty years, John Guy creates an intimate and absorbing portrait of one of history’s greatest women, depicting her world and her place in the sweep of history with stunning immediacy. Bringing together all surviving documents and uncovering a trove of new sources for the first time, Guy dispels the popular image of Mary Queen of Scots as a romantic leading lady—achieving her ends through feminine wiles—and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I. Through Guy’s pioneering research and superbly readable prose, we come to see Mary as a skillful diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions that sought to control or dethrone her. Queen of Scots is an enthralling, myth-shattering look at a complex woman and ruler and her time. “The definitive biography . . . Gripping . . . A pure pleasure to read.” —The Washington Post Book World “Reads like Shakespearean drama, with all the delicious plotting and fresh writing to go with it.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII

    Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII
    Gareth Russell

    Written with an exciting combination of narrative flair and historical authority, this biography of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, is “a stunning achievement” (The Sunday Times, London), and “a masterly work of Tudor history that is engrossing, sympathetic, suspenseful, and illuminating” (Charlotte Gordon, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography).On the morning of July 28, 1540, a teenager named Catherine Howard began her reign as queen of an England simmering with rebellion and terrifying uncertainty. Sixteen months later, she would follow her cousin Anne Boleyn to the scaffold, having been convicted of adultery and high treason. The broad outlines of Catherine’s career might be familiar, but her story up until now has been incomplete. Unlike previous biographies, which portray her as a naïve victim of an ambitious family, Gareth Russell’s “excellent account puts the oft-ignored Catherine in her proper historical context” (Daily Mail, London) and sheds new light on her rise and downfall by showing her in her context, a milieu that includes the aristocrats and, most critically, the servants who surrounded her and who, in the end, conspired against her. By illuminating Catherine’s entwined upstairs/downstairs world as well as societal tensions beyond the palace walls, Russell offers a fascinating portrayal of court life in the sixteenth century and a fresh analysis of the forces beyond Catherine’s control that led to her execution. Including a forgotten text of Catherine’s confession in her own words, color illustrations, family tree, map, and extensive notes, Young and Damned and Fair is “a gripping account of a young woman’s future destroyed by forces beyond her control…an important and timely book” (Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire). This account changes our understanding of one of history’s most famous women while telling the compelling and very human story of complex individuals attempting to survive in a dangerous age.

  • The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul

    The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul
    Eleanor Herman

    One of Washington Independent Review of Books' 50 Favorite Books of 2018 • A Buzzfeed Best Book of 2018"Morbidly witty." —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times "You’ll be as appalled at times as you are entertained." —Bustle, one of The 17 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out In June 2018"A heady mix of erudite history and delicious gossip." —Aja Raden, author of StonedIn the Washington Post roundup, "What your favorite authors are reading this summer," A.J. Finn says, “I want to read The Royal Art of Poison, Eleanor Herman’s history of poisons."Hugely entertaining, a work of pop history that traces the use of poison as a political—and cosmetic—tool in the royal courts of Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Kremlin todayThe story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns, and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family’s spoons, tried on their underpants and tested their chamber pots. Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications, and filthy living conditions. Women wore makeup made with mercury and lead. Men rubbed turds on their bald spots. Physicians prescribed mercury enemas, arsenic skin cream, drinks of lead filings, and potions of human fat and skull, fresh from the executioner. The most gorgeous palaces were little better than filthy latrines. Gazing at gorgeous portraits of centuries past, we don’t see what lies beneath the royal robes and the stench of unwashed bodies; the lice feasting on private parts; and worms nesting in the intestines. In The Royal Art of Poison, Eleanor Herman combines her unique access to royal archives with cutting-edge forensic discoveries to tell the true story of Europe’s glittering palaces: one of medical bafflement, poisonous cosmetics, ever-present excrement, festering natural illness, and, sometimes, murder.

  • Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World

    Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World
    Alison Weir

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Bestselling historian Alison Weir tells the poignant, suspenseful and sometimes tragic story of Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Yorkist King Edward IV and sister of the Princes in the Tower, a woman whose life was inextricably caught up in the turmoil of the Wars of the Roses and the establishment of the usurping Tudor dynasty. She was the wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. Many are familiar with the story of the much-married King Henry VIII of England and the celebrated reign of his daughter, Elizabeth I. But it is often forgotten that the life of the first Tudor queen, Elizabeth of York, Henry’s mother and Elizabeth’s grandmother, spanned one of England’s most dramatic and perilous periods. Now New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir presents the first modern biography of this extraordinary woman, whose very existence united the realm and ensured the survival of the Plantagenet bloodline. Her birth was greeted with as much pomp and ceremony as that of a male heir. The first child of King Edward IV, Elizabeth enjoyed all the glittering trappings of royalty. But after the death of her father; the disappearance and probable murder of her brothers—the Princes in the Tower; and the usurpation of the throne by her calculating uncle Richard III, Elizabeth found her world turned upside-down: She and her siblings were declared bastards. As Richard’s wife, Anne Neville, was dying, there were murmurs that the king sought to marry his niece Elizabeth, knowing that most people believed her to be England’s rightful queen. Weir addresses Elizabeth’s possible role in this and her covert support for Henry Tudor, the exiled pretender who defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth and was crowned Henry VII, first sovereign of the House of Tudor. Elizabeth’s subsequent marriage to Henry united the houses of York and Lancaster and signaled the end of the Wars of the Roses. For centuries historians have asserted that, as queen, she was kept under Henry’s firm grasp, but Weir shows that Elizabeth proved to be a model consort—pious and generous—who enjoyed the confidence of her husband, exerted a tangible and beneficial influence, and was revered by her son, the future King Henry VIII. Drawing from a rich trove of historical records, Weir gives a long overdue and much-deserved look at this unforgettable princess whose line descends to today’s British monarch—a woman who overcame tragedy and danger to become one of England’s most beloved consorts.Praise for Elizabeth of York “Weir tells Elizabeth’s story well. . . . She is a meticulous scholar. . . . Most important, Weir sincerely admires her subject, doing honor to an almost forgotten queen.”—The New York Times Book Review “In [Alison] Weir’s skillful hands, Elizabeth of York returns to us, full-bodied and three-dimensional. This is a must-read for Tudor fans!”—Historical Novels Review “This bracing biography reveals a woman of integrity, who . . . helped [her husband] lay strong groundwork for the success of the new Tudor dynasty. As always in a Weir book, the tenor of the times is drawn with great color and authenticity.”—Booklist “Weir once again demonstrates that she is an outstanding portrayer of the Tudor era, giving us a fully realized biography of a remarkable woman.”—Huntington News

  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

    Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
    Robert K. Massie

    “[A] tale of power, perseverance and passion . . . a great story in the hands of a master storyteller.”—The Wall Street Journal The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution. Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly brought to life. History offers few stories richer than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, an eternally fascinating woman is returned to life. “[A] compelling portrait not just of a Russian titan, but also of a flesh-and-blood woman.”—Newsweek “An absorbing, satisfying biography.”—Los Angeles Times “Juicy and suspenseful.”—The New York Times Book Review “A great life, indeed, and irresistibly told.”—Salon NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • The Washington Post • USA Today • The Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • Salon • Vogue • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Providence Journal • Washington Examiner • South Florida Sun-Sentinel • BookPage • Bookreporter • Publishers Weekly BONUS: This edition contains a Catherine the Great reader's guide.

  • Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny,and Desire

    Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny,and Desire
    Leslie Carroll

    From the author of American Princess: The Love Story of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry comes a funny and delightful history of the royal weddings and marriages of Europe’s most famous—and infamous—monarchs. This edition includes bonus chapters!“An irresistible combination of People magazine and the History Channel.”—Chicago Tribune Since time immemorial, royal marriages have had little to do with love—and almost everything to do with diplomacy and dynasty. Clashing personalities have joined in unholy matrimony to form such infamous couples as Russia’s Peter II and Catherine the Great, and France's Henri II and Catherine de Medici—all with the purpose of begetting a male heir. But with tensions high and silverware flying, kings like England’s Henry II have fled to the beds of their nubile mistresses, while queens such as Eleanor of Aquitaine have plotted their revenge… Full of the juicy gossip and bad behavior that characterized Royal Affairs, this book chronicles the love-hate marriages of the crowned heads of Europe—from the Angevins to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry—and ponders how dynasties ever survived at all.

  • Alfred the Great: Asser s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources

    Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources
    Asser

    Asser's Life of King Alfred, written in 893, is a revealing account of one of the greatest of medieval kings. Composed by a monk of St David's in Wales who became Bishop of Sherborne in Alfred's service and worked with him in his efforts to revive religion and learning in his kingdom, this life is among the earliest surviving royal biographies. It is an admiring account of King Alfred's life, written in absorbing detail – chronicling his battles against Viking invaders and his struggle to increase the strength and knowledge of his people, and to unite his people at a time of conflict, uncertainty and war.

  • That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

    That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
    Anne Sebba

    The first full scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the Twentieth Century, a character who played prominently in the blockbuster film The King's Speech.This is the story of the American divorcee notorious for allegedly seducing a British king off his throne. "That woman," so called by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was born Bessie Wallis Warfield in 1896 in Baltimore. Neither beautiful nor brilliant, she endured an impoverished childhood, which fostered in her a burning desire to rise above her circumstances.Acclaimed biographer Anne Sebba offers an eye-opening account of one of the most talked about women of her generation. It explores the obsessive nature of Simpson's relationship with Prince Edward, the suggestion that she may have had a Disorder of Sexual Development, and new evidence showing she may never have wanted to marry Edward at all. Since her death, Simpson has become a symbol of female empowerment as well as a style icon. But her psychology remains an enigma. Drawing from interviews and newly discovered letters, That Woman shines a light on this captivating and complex woman, an object of fascination that has only grown with the years.

  • Henry VIII: The King and His Court

    Henry VIII: The King and His Court
    Alison Weir

    For fans of Wolf Hall, Alison Weir’s New York Times bestselling biography of Henry VIII brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards.BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Alison Weir’s Mary Boleyn.Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power, celebrated for his intellect, presided over the most stylish—and dangerous—court in Renaissance Europe. Scheming cardinals vied for power with newly rich landowners and merchants, brilliant painters and architects introduced a new splendor into art and design, and each of Henry's six queens brought her own influence to bear upon the life of the court. In her new book, Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of Henry VIII and the glittering court he made his own. In an age when a monarch's domestic and political lives were inextricably intertwined, a king as powerful and brilliant as Henry VIII exercised enormous sway over the laws, the customs, and the culture of his kingdom. Yet as Weir shows in this swift, vivid narrative, Henry's ministers, nobles, and wives were formidable figures in their own right, whose influence both enhanced and undermined the authority of the throne. On a grand stage rich in pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir records the many complex human dramas that swirled around Henry, while deftly weaving in an account of the intimate rituals and desires of England's ruling class—their sexual practices, feasts and sports, tastes in books and music, houses and gardens. Stimulating and tumultuous, the court of Henry VIII attracted the finest minds and greatest beauties in Renaissance England—poets Wyatt and Surrey, the great portraitist Hans Holbein, "feasting ladies" like Elizabeth Blount and Elizabeth FitzWalter, the newly rich Boleyn family and the ancient aristocratic clans like the Howards and the Percies, along with the entourages and connections that came and went with each successive wife. The interactions between these individuals, and the terrible ends that befell so many of them, make Henry VIII: The King and His Court an absolutely spellbinding read. Meticulous in historic detail, narrated with high style and grand drama, Alison Weir brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. NOTE: This edition does not contain illustrations.

  • The Women of the Cousins War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King s Mother

    The Women of the Cousins’ War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King’s Mother
    Philippa Gregory

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory joins two eminent historians to explore the extraordinary true stories of three women largely forgotten by history: Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford; Elizabeth Woodville, queen of England; and Margaret Beaufort, the founder of the Tudor dynasty.In her essay on Jacquetta, Philippa Gregory uses original documents, archaeology, and histories of myth and witchcraft to create the first-ever biography of the young duchess who survived two reigns and two wars to become the first lady at two rival courts. David Baldwin, established authority on the Wars of the Roses, tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the first commoner to marry a king of England for love. And Michael Jones, fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes of Margaret Beaufort, the almost-unknown matriarch of the House of Tudor. Beautifully illustrated throughout with rare portraits and source materials, The Women of the Cousins’ War offers fascinating insights into the inspirations behind Philippa Gregory’s fiction and will appeal to all with an interest in this epic period.

  • Victoria s Daughters

    Victoria’s Daughters
    Jerrold M. Packard

    The story of five women who shared one of the most extraordinary and privileged sisterhoods of all time.Vicky, Alice, Helena, and Beatrice were historically unique sisters, born to a sovereign who ruled over a quarter of the earth's people and who gave her name to an era: Queen Victoria. Two of these princesses would themselves produce children of immense consequence. All five would curiously come to share many of the social restrictions and familial machinations borne by nineteenth-century women of less-exulted class.Victoria and Albert's precocious firstborn child, Vicky, wed a Prussian prince in a political match her high-minded father hoped would bring about a more liberal Anglo-German order. That vision met with disaster when Vicky's son Wilhelm– to be known as Kaiser Wilhelm– turned against both England and his mother, keeping her out of the public eye for the rest of her life. Gentle, quiet Alice had a happier marriage, one that produced Alexandra, later to become Tsarina of Russia, and yet another Victoria, whose union with a Battenberg prince was to found the present Mountbatten clan. However, she suffered from melancholia and died at age thirty-five of what appears to have been a deliberate, grief-fueled exposure to the diphtheria germs that had carried away her youngest daughter. Middle child Helena struggled against obesity and drug addition but was to have lasting effect as Albert's literary executor. By contrast, her glittering and at times scandalous sister Louise, the most beautiful of the five siblings, escaped the claustrophobic stodginess of the European royal courts by marrying a handsome Scottish commoner, who became governor general of Canada, and eventually settled into artistic salon life as a respected sculptor. And as the baby of the royal brood of nine, rebelling only briefly to forge a short-lived marriage, Beatrice lived under the thumb of her mother as a kind of personal secretary until the queen's death.Principally researched at the houses and palaces of its five subjects in London, Scotland, Berlin, Darmstadt, and Ottawa– and entertainingly written by an experienced biographer whose last book concerned Victoria's final days– Victoria's Daughters closely examines a generation of royal women who were dominated by their mother, married off as much for political advantage as for love, and finally passed over entirely with the accession of their n0 brother Bertie to the throne. Packard provides valuable insights into their complex, oft-tragic lives as daughters of their time.

  • Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier

    Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
    J. Randy Taraborrelli

    Grace Kelly was swept away when the handsome Prince Rainier, a man she barely knew, asked for her hand in marriage.

  • The Wars of the Roses

    The Wars of the Roses
    Alison Weir

    Lancaster and York. For much of the fifteenth century, these two families were locked in battle for control of the British monarchy. Kings were murdered and deposed. Armies marched on London. Old noble names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands. The war between the royal House of Lancaster and York, the longest and most complex in British history, profoundly altered the course of the monarchy. In The Wars of the Roses, Alison Weir reconstructs this conflict with the same dramatic flair and impeccable research that she brought to her highly praised The Princes in the Tower.The first battle erupted in 1455, but the roots of the conflict reached back to the dawn of the fifteenth century, when the corrupt, hedonistic Richard II was sadistically murdered, and Henry IV, the first Lancastrian king, seized England's throne. Both Henry IV and his son, the cold warrior Henry V, ruled England ably, if not always wisely–but Henry VI proved a disaster, both for his dynasty and his kingdom. Only nine months old when his father's sudden death made him king, Henry VI became a tormented and pathetic figure, weak, sexually inept, and prey to fits of insanity. The factional fighting that plagued his reign escalated into bloody war when Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, laid claim to the throne that was rightfully his–and backed up his claim with armed might.Alison Weir brings brilliantly to life both the war itself and the historic figures who fought it on the great stage of England. Here are the queens who changed history through their actions–the chic, unconventional Katherine of Valois, Henry V's queen; the ruthless, social-climbing Elizabeth Wydville; and, most crucially, Margaret of Anjou, a far tougher and more powerful character than her husband,, Henry VI, and a central figure in the Wars of the Roses.Here, too, are the nobles who carried the conflict down through the generations–the Beauforts, the bastard descendants of John of Gaunt, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known to his contemporaries as "the Kingmaker"; and the Yorkist King, Edward IV, a ruthless charmer who pledged his life to cause the downfall of the House of Lancaster.The Wars of the Roses is history at its very best–swift and compelling, rich in character, pageantry, and drama, and vivid in its re-creation of an astonishing, dangerous, and often grim period of history. Alison Weir, one of the foremost authorities on the British royal family, demonstrates here that she is also one of the most dazzling stylists writing history today.

  • Bloody Mary: Tudor Terror, 1553–1558

    Bloody Mary: Tudor Terror, 1553–1558
    Phil Carradice

    The tragic history of Queen Mary I and her brief reign of terror against Protestants in sixteenth century England—includes illustrations. When Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, succeeded to the throne of England in 1553, she enjoyed a degree of popularity rarely seen on the accession of a British monarch. Yet at her death only five years later, she was so reviled by her people that she was posthumously awarded the sobriquet Bloody Mary. The change of public opinion was not without reason. During her short reign, Mary restored the Catholic faith to England and had over 280 Protestant martyrs burned at the stake. Noblemen like the Duke of Northumberland, would-be queens like Lady Jane Grey, churchmen like Thomas Cranmer and bishops Latimer and Ridley, all fell victim to Mary’s fires or the executioner’s axe. In Bloody Mary, historian Phil Carradice investigates the backstory behind the queen’s violent loathing for the religion her father established, the unfulfilled potential of her reign, and the needless bloodshed that became her tragic legacy.

  • Royal Sisters: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret

    Royal Sisters: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret
    Anne Edwards

    In Royal Sisters, Anne Edwards, author of the best-selling Vivien Leigh: A Biography and Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor, has written the first dual biography of Elizabeth, the princess who was to become Queen, and her younger sister, Margaret, who was to be her subject. From birth to maturity, they were the stuff of which dreams are made.“I’m three and you’re four,” the future Queen, then a child, imperiously informed her sister. The younger girl, not understanding this reference to their position in the succession, proudly countered, “No, you’re not. I’m three, you’re seven.”The royal sisters had no choice in their historic positions, but behind the palace gates and within the all-too-human confines of their personalities, they displayed tremendous individuality and suffered the usual symptoms of sibling rivalry. Royal Sisters provides an unprecedented and intimate portrait of these most famous siblings during their formative and dramatic youthful years. It is also one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating stories of sisterly loyalty. Edwards’s book is an honest look at how the royal sisters feel toward each other, their parents, their close relations and the men whom they have loved. It openly discusses, with new insights and information, the romance of Elizabeth and Philip and the tragic aborted love affair between Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend, and it has a cast of characters ranging from the youthful sisters’ suitors to Winston Churchill and the entire Royal Family. It is also the story of the making of a queen, of the high drama of her situation in the Townsend affair, of the real effect their uncle’s abdication had on the sisters’ lives, and of the internecine feuds that have brewed within the Royal Family since that time.Brought vividly to life through the many personal interviews of close royal associates, filled with new facts, previously unpublished anecdotes and photographs, Royal Sisters is a never-before-glimpsed look at the relationship of the Queen and Princess Margaret.

  • The Romanovs: The Final Chapter

    The Romanovs: The Final Chapter
    Robert K. Massie

    “Riveting . . . unfolds like a detective story.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review In July 1991, nine skeletons were exhumed from a shallow mass grave near Ekaterinburg, Siberia, a few miles from the infamous cellar room where the last tsar and his family had been murdered seventy-three years before. But were these the bones of the Romanovs? And if these were their remains, where were the bones of the two younger Romanovs supposedly murdered with the rest of the family? Was Anna Anderson, celebrated for more than sixty years in newspapers, books, and film, really Grand Duchess Anastasia? The Romanovs provides the answers, describing in suspenseful detail the dramatic efforts to discover the truth. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie presents a colorful panorama of contemporary characters, illuminating the major scientific dispute between Russian experts and a team of Americans, whose findings, along with those of DNA scientists from Russia, America, and Great Britain, all contributed to solving one of the great mysteries of the twentieth century.Praise for The Romanovs: The Final Chapter“Masterful.”—The Washington Post Book World“An admirable scientific thriller.”—The New York Times Book Review“Compelling . . . a fascinating account.”—Chicago Tribune “A masterpiece of investigative reporting.”—San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

  • Emperor: A New Life of Charles V

    Emperor: A New Life of Charles V
    Geoffrey Parker

    Drawing on vital new evidence, a top historian dramatically reinterprets the ruler of the world’s first transatlantic empire The life of Emperor Charles V (1500–1558), ruler of Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and much of Italy and Central and South America, has long intrigued biographers. But the elusive nature of the man (despite an abundance of documentation), his relentless travel and the control of his own image, together with the complexity of governing the world’s first transatlantic empire, complicate the task. Geoffrey Parker, one of the world’s leading historians of early modern Europe, has examined the surviving written sources in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, as well as visual and material evidence. He explores the crucial decisions that created and preserved this vast empire, analyzes Charles’s achievements within the context of both personal and structural factors, and scrutinizes the intimate details of the ruler's life for clues to his character and inclinations. The result is a unique biography that interrogates every dimension of Charles’s reign and views the world through the emperor’s own eyes.

  • Catherine the Great

    Catherine the Great
    Ian Grey

    Catherine II of Russia was the most remarkable monarch of the eighteenth century. New York Times bestselling historian Ian Grey paints an illuminating portrait of an enigmatic woman of compelling charm and elegance. She had a prodigious appetite for work, great curiosity, and boundless ambition and vanity, and she was notorious for the number of her lovers. Her prodigal expenditures and patronage of the arts made her reign an era of splendor while her foreign policy and conquests carried Russian power and prestige to new heights. She cast a spell over most of her contemporaries in Russia and in Western Europe, and the spell has lingered. Here, in this book, is the dramatic story of an obscure German princess, without beauty or special advantage, but with courage, charisma, and determination, who became one of the arbiters of the affairs of Europe and renowned in history.

  • Ferdinand and Isabella

    Ferdinand and Isabella
    Melveena McKendrick

    King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain are most often remembered for the epochal voyage of Christopher Columbus. But the historic landfall of October 1492 was only a secondary event of the year.The preceding January, they had accepted the surrender of Muslim Granada, ending centuries of Islamic rule in their peninsula. And later that year, they had ordered the expulsion or forced baptism of Spain's Jewish minority, a cruel crusade undertaken in an excess of zeal for their Catholic faith.Europe, in the century of Ferdinand and Isabella, was also awakening to the glories of a new age, the Renaissance, and the Spain of the "Catholic Kings" – as Ferdinand and Isabella came to be known – was not untouched by this brilliant revival of learning.Here, from the noted historian Melveena McKendrick, is their remarkable story.

  • The Life of Elizabeth I

    The Life of Elizabeth I
    Alison Weir

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERPerhaps the most influential sovereign England has ever known, Queen Elizabeth I remained an extremely private person throughout her reign, keeping her own counsel and sharing secrets with no one–not even her closest, most trusted advisers. Now, in this brilliantly researched, fascinating new book, acclaimed biographer Alison Weir shares provocative new interpretations and fresh insights on this enigmatic figure.Against a lavish backdrop of pageantry and passion, intrigue and war, Weir dispels the myths surrounding Elizabeth I and examines the contradictions of her character. Elizabeth I loved the Earl of Leicester, but did she conspire to murder his wife? She called herself the Virgin Queen, but how chaste was she through dozens of liaisons? She never married—was her choice to remain single tied to the chilling fate of her mother, Anne Boleyn? An enthralling epic that is also an amazingly intimate portrait, The Life of Elizabeth I is a mesmerizing, stunning reading experience.

  • Mary Queen of Scots: In My End is My Beginning

    Mary Queen of Scots: In My End is My Beginning
    James Mackay

    In My End Is My Beginning is the story of Mary Queen of Scots (1542–87), the tragic heroine par excellence. Queen of an unfamiliar and troubled nation when she was a week old, it was her misfortune to be a pawn in the game of international politics throughout her life. Even in the brief period from 1561 to 1567 when she was ruler of Scotland in fact as well as in name, she was beset with problems that would have defeated a much stronger, more experienced monarch. A talented poet and a charismatic leader, she contended with a treacherous, self-serving nobility, the religious ferment of the Reformation, and the political ambitions of larger and more powerful neighbours. With little real authority and few resources, Mary’s reign was successful, until her disastrous marriage to the dissolute Darnley set in motion the events that brought about her downfall. For the last 20 years of her life she was a prisoner in the hands of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England, and the subject of treacherous plots and conspiracies. A hostage to fortune, she represented a threat and a rallying-point for English Catholics. Her tragic end was inevitable. Yet her life, with all its adventurous, failures and disasters, produced the son – James – who ultimately brought about the union of Scotland and England.In the End Is My Beginning uncovers the true facts of Mary’s life in the context of Anglo-Scottish relations and shows why, after more than 400 years, she remains arguably the greatest character in popular Scottish history.

  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

    Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
    The Countess of Carnarvon

    The real-life inspiration and setting for the Emmy Award-winning Downton Abbey, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war. Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart, Lady Cora Crawley, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon's ancestral home. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman.This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a great house against the backdrop of the First World War and offers an inspiring and revealing picture of the woman at the center of the history of Highclere Castle.

  • Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire

    Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire
    Leslie Peirce

    The extraordinary story of the Russian slave girl Roxelana, who rose from concubine to become the only queen of the Ottoman empireIn Empress of the East, historian Leslie Peirce tells the remarkable story of a Christian slave girl, Roxelana, who was abducted by slave traders from her Ruthenian homeland and brought to the harem of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in Istanbul. Suleyman became besotted with her and foreswore all other concubines. Then, in an unprecedented step, he freed her and married her. The bold and canny Roxelana soon became a shrewd diplomat and philanthropist, who helped Suleyman keep pace with a changing world in which women, from Isabella of Hungary to Catherine de Medici, increasingly held the reins of power.Until now Roxelana has been seen as a seductress who brought ruin to the empire, but in Empress of the East, Peirce reveals the true history of an elusive figure who transformed the Ottoman harem into an institution of imperial rule.