Princess Michael's book, The Queen of Four Kingdoms
, is now available in French. Upon the occasion, she was interviewed at Kensington Palace, which you can read below:
I (Interviewer): Madam, it would take almost seven years to appear that your new book. Was it premeditated or rather a coincidence?
PM (Princess Michael): Actually, this is not a book but a trilogy rather a long story divided into three volumes. I do not want to be pressed for time and then during those seven years, he also spent many things. In fact, I wanted to dedicate a book to Agnes Sorel as in my latest book, devoted to Diane, I discovered that her husband, Louis de Breze, was the son of Charlotte de Valois, a lady whose beauty equaled his mother Agnes Sorel. So I wanted to know more about Agnes Sorel and I found his story to all fascinating.
I: But why then have decided to dedicate your book to Yolande of Aragon, an amazing character but little known to everyone if we except the historians?
PM: In fact, while documenting on Agnes Sorel who became the mistress of King Charles VII, I realized that she was protected Yolande of Aragon, queen of the four kingdoms, and I absolutely wanted to start the story citing this other figure captivating. To this time, Anjou and Aragon fought fiercely to capture Naples and Sicily. The two queens, both widows, wanted their children to marry in order to stop the war. Unfortunately, cousins and mingled in the conflict continued, in part because of the last queen Jeanne de Naples, branch of Durazzo, who favored a camp and then the other. Yolande had to wait nine years before meeting her fiance who was at war and when they saw for the first time, they liked each other immediately, which was rare for an arranged marriage! It will be presented to the King of France, and in the light, it will be very impressed. Give him a set with a sapphire, telling him that if, one day, she needed him, it is sufficient to present the jewel that will open many doors ring. This ring that will follow the protagonists in the three books also appear on the cover and is one of the few inventions of the book.
I: Who is Yolanda?
PM: Yolande is the daughter of Jacques king of Aragon and Yolande de Bar. This is a very intelligent woman who will play a significant role, raising the future king of France in the Chateau d'Angers, protecting the machinations of time administering his estate in Provence and Anjou. It will bind with another between Louis d'Orléans and his wife Valentina Visconti, the Duke of Berry, author of Riches Heures, with the Duke of Brittany to whom she gives her daughter in marriage. It would also cause the appearance of Joan of Arc, an attempt to overthrow the domination of England on the French territory. She lives in a rather exceptional time with two popes, one in Avignon and one in Rome, but also high historical facts such as the Battle of Agincourt I explain in detail because it is an event key time as all the cream of French nobility was killed, the King of England with no money to take care of prisoners. He made them all run! And this explains the title, Yolande was Queen of Naples, Sicily, Cyprus and Jerusalem!
I: How do you build such a book in terms of historical context, for example?
PM: All the events described are true. As for the details, it is acting or costume jewelry for example, the description refers to similar examples worn at the time, probably not the day mentioned but there is no invention, but can -be ring that allowed me to have some sort of common thread among the three volumes of the trilogy. I am very demanding about the veracity of the historical context, even in plants or food. The trips also are extremely important and ever, I have mentioned a place I had not visited myself. Obviously, many things have changed since the fifteenth century, but it is important to realize the place. Moreover, there are still vestiges of this period as the castles of Angers or Tarascon.
I: Understand your audience reaction when one of your books seems? (It is a bad translation - but I think the interviewer is asking Princess Michael on her thoughts about the reviews of her book)
PM: Not really, not that I do not care but what matters to me is writing a book. I take great pleasure. If the public likes the book, I am of course very happy, but if he does not like, so I think it is not the right audience for my books are easy to read, full of information and should be of interest to some people.
I: Was it difficult to assert yourself as a writer, as a princess?
PM: I studied history and art history. My desire to write about topics related to my training and therefore seemed legitimate and, in the family, everyone felt the need to write. I was encouraged by my mother and then my childhood was rocked, not by traditional tales but by historical narratives, hence my interest in the genre. When I married my husband, I worked in the interior design and the return of my honeymoon, I learned that a princess could not have a job. So I think and found my way, in agreement with the palace. Since then, things have changed, but at the time I adapted.
I hope this is OK - if not, please feel free to remove the text and keep the links.
Sources: Marie-Christine de Kent, princesse et écrivain
Interview de la princesse Marie Christine de Kent