Historical British Royalty: Biographies and Histories

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Lady Jennifer

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Apr 7, 2005
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United States
This book sounds interesting.

The Sunday Times - Books

The Sunday Times
January 29, 2006
A Royal Affair: George III and His Troublesome Siblings by Stella Tillyard

A family unfit for a king

A ROYAL AFFAIR: George III and His Troublesome Siblings
by Stella Tillyard Chatto £20 pp400

“Courage, Princess, courage,” said the Duke of York to his future sister-in-law, Queen Charlotte, as he hauled her up the aisle in 1761. The princess surely needed it, since she had arrived only that day from Germany and would be bedded with her sight-unseen husband George III that night.
Throughout the centuries, there have been a great many princesses who required fortitude to endure arranged marriages to foreign monarchs.....

The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion

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This does sound interesting... I just wish the review was less a plot summary of the book, and concentrated a bit more on whether it was well-written and well-researched or not! Has anybody here had the opportunity to have a look at it yet? :)
I just checked online, it seems the book is only available in UK, which is bad for us in the US. So far, there has been any mention of releasing the book in America. I have high expectations from this book, as the previous one 'The Aristocrats' written by the author was excellent. The book was throughly researched and wonderfully written.
Could we buy it through www.amazon.co.uk ?
I've never bought anything from that site & I didn't know how it works when you live in another country & buy from their site
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You can order from any Amazon site from overseas. I've never bought anything from amazon.co.uk but I have from amazon.com and it's quite straightforward. :)
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If you're signed up for Amazon.com you should be automatically signed up for the UK site. You may need to give them your address and credit card stuff again, but your username and password is the same on both sites. I buy stuff from both, and it works fine.
Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser

i'm reading a book called "mary queen of scots" by antonia fraser and i wanted to know if anyone here has read the book? it is from back in queen elizabeth l days or the golden age. so far, it is a really good book. antonia fraser is supposed to be a relative to the royal family, but i don't know how close. her book was written in 1969 and the book is a really old paperback that someone gave me.

i was really surprised by how the french court was so unlucky. i'm only at the marriage between the king of spain, philipe, who was widowed by queen elizabeth's sister, mary tudor. mary tudor died and philipe marries a 12 year old girl who is mary queen of scot's sister in law named elizabeth.

i'm surprised at the french influence in scotland. i wonder if there are areas in scotland still that represent the french. in the u.s.a. we have many cities named after the french, but their culture is not well known except in louisiana in the creole areas. they speak french still just like quebec canada does.

i love queen elizabeth l, so when i found this book i knew queen elizabeth had her executed for a marriage she had intended with norfolk to overtake the english throne. many people hate queen elizabeth for this still and try to have all that she has done removed or changed to represent life as if she were never queen. this is a very popular opinion by many royal followers, but i still think elizabeth 1, was much better suited for her position.

if anyone has read the book or can suggest other books, especially on norfolk or sir dudley. sir dudley was queen elizabeth's boyfriend for a long time before she left him for being married and being a cheat. sir dudley's wife was found dead and i wonder if there were any books out on that subject.

well, if anyone knows please reply;)
i wanted to add a few things more about the differences of real life to the movie "elizabeth".

she never had an affair with sir dudley, but the had begun to have a relationship until his wife died. he had too many people who hated him already and he was then ruined by the rumor of killing his wife. his wife had some kind of cancer and her bones were very brittle, so she more than likey died from those complications instead of someone killing her. the still say he is not guilty after all these centuries, so it must be the truth.

norfolk was not a villainous character like the movie. he was rumored to have been having an affair with queen mary tudor, but no one bothered to prove it or not. he also fought over queen elizabeth with sir dudley, so its true he at one time wanted to marry her.

sir walsingham is still considered a great man and there was a book written about him in 2005. he is still praised for his investigative methods and conspiracy investigations and is considered a "father" to those now working in those fields for all he has added.

the duke of anjou was someone whom she really wanted to marry, but he was not very bright. he and 1500 other soldiers attacked another country even though they were just out scouting and only 4 of them left the place alive. he died a year after that of a disease of some kind, but elizabeth ended their 3 month engagement after his attack.

mary queen of scots seems to me to be a spoiled character. i don't see her leading any country other than making her husband do it. she was next in line to the english throne when elizabeth was taken off the roster when the church decided since they didn't approve of henry Vlll prior divorce, anne bolyn's child was a bastard. anne and henry Vlll were legitimately married and there was no other reason to call elizabeth a bastard. henry Vlll fixed her by making a rule that no foreigner can rule england, and mary queen of scots was half french and was raised on french ground since she was a very small girl of 5. she never lead scotland, only her husband the queen of france did. and she was the queen of scotland by birthright already, the queen of france by her husband, and she wanted to also be queen of england.

she obsessed over being removed from being the next heir until she finally got herself executed for it. i think she was very greedy and should have left it alone, but i'm not done with the book yet. she never set foot in scotland until her husband dies young, and then she returns trying to marry into spanish royalty now. i don't think she is capable of anything but marriages and i think elizabeth was more suited to the throne, but many defend mary queen of scots still to this day and try to remove everything about queen elizabeth still in existance.

queen elizabet was still a virgin in real life. she was never allowed to sleep alone like all royals, so there were enough eye witnesses to prove this. there were only lettersdiscussing rumors, and there were so many snitches around her, she could have never had sex without them knowing.
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I've got this book, and it's a fun and easy read. Probably not something to read if you're easily offended though ;)
I've got it, I bought it from Majesty Magazine and frankly, I thought it to be a cheap read and cheap job. Any moron can put together a quote book and in my mind, this just came across as desperate author having a dig at Prince Philip just to be noticed.
I just read this book. I thought it was a quick summer read as described above. I wouldnt buy it though, I go my from the library. The book does jump around and has some inacuracies (sp?). For an overview of the Windsor Women for beginners its an okay read. The Diana coverage is a bit negative but she doesnt give Charles pass either. This author clearly doesnt have much positive to say either one. Camilla gets a bit of pass in the end.
"Queen Emma and the Vikings" (Emma of Normandy, Queen of England) (985-1062)

For those of you yearning to learn about early English history or enthralled with strong women like Eleanor of Aquitaine, read this! Emma was born a Norman princess, married to a much older English king (Ethelread the Unready) and then his usurper, Cnut. She mothered 2 kings, by each husband, Edward the Confessor and Hardacnut. To top that off, she was the great-aunty of William the Conqueror. Emma became a major player in English politics. She makes the four Provence sisters look like rank amateurs!

There's love, power, greed and multitudes of murders. She must have been a tough cookie, and so terrible that she's been forgotten.

I highly recommend this.
Here's the review from The Guardian, 13 August 2005...

Review: Queen Emma and the Vikings by Harriet O'Brien | Books | The Observer

and some quotes:

Emma was the daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy, this Norman dynasty itself being descended from the Norsemen who had overrun northern France 100 years earlier.
In 1002, she was given in marriage to Aethelred II of England - Aethelred Unraed, or "uncounselled", as he was disparagingly dubbed by chroniclers unimpressed by his rule, although linguistic slippage has left him better known as Aethelred the Unready.

By the time of his death in 1016, most of Aethelred's realm had fallen under the control of Viking forces, and his crown was seized by the 19-year-old Danish king Cnut (who has had his own mythical afterlife as King Canute, exposing the folly of flattering courtiers by ordering the sea not to wet his royal feet). In order to validate his place on Aethelred's throne, Cnut wed his predecessor's widow, despite the fact that he was still married to his first wife, an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman named Aelfgifu. Emma, already a mother of three at the age of about 30, went on to bear her second royal husband two more children.

When Cnut died suddenly in 1035, Emma and her rival Aelfgifu were precipitated into bitter conflict over the competing rights to the throne of their respective offspring. Aelfgifu's son Harold Harefoot initially triumphed, not least because he was the only claimant on English soil at the critical moment. But after Harold's death in 1040 the crown passed first to his half-brother Harthacnut, Emma's son by Cnut, and then to Edward, her son by Aethelred, known to posterity as Edward the Confessor, whose failure to produce an heir set the stage for the arrival of the Norman conquerors.
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I was trying to think of who Emma reminds me of. I don't think she was a warm, fuzzy lady like the late Queen Mother. She was probably more like Queen Mary, mothering two kings albeit as a distant parent.

One interesting aspect of the book is its emphasis on a shared Viking culture common to England (or perhaps I should say Britain?), northern France and Scandinavia. Because of later English historians, I think we modern folk tend to think of the Vikings as hostile invaders of the poor Anglo-Saxons, yet the truth was that Vikings had long settled in England and married into all levels of its society, much as they had done in Normandy. It wasn't all rape and pillage and "save us from the Norsemen".
For those of you yearning to learn about early English history or enthralled with strong women like Eleanor of Aquitaine...
Thank you very much for the information Iowabelle. This is my favorit kind of novel. I am looking forward to reading it :flowers:

I found this website on rootsweb.com RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Our Families King Canute the great died in 1035 a.d. so this means he must have had another son that was not told about in the sagas to keep the canute lineage alive.
According to the homepage of the DRF, Hardecanute (Emma's son by Canute) became King of Denmark in 1035-42, and of England in 1040-42.

He gained the Danish throne when his father Canute the Great (so he was called as the King of Denmark) died. Hardecanutes halfbrother Harald Harefoot (Aelfgifu's son by Canute) became King of England. When Harald died, Hardecanutes also became King of England but died two years later in London. After that Edward the Confessor, Emmas son by Aethelred, became King of England.

Canute the Great had a (Danish) sister living in England - Estrid - who's son Svend Estridsen (born and raised in England - but Danish) was a pretender to the Danish throne. When the Danish King Hardecanute died in 1042, he claimed the Danish throne, but lost to the King of Norway - Magnus the Good (the illegitimate son of the Norwegian King Olaf Haraldsson). After Magnus died, Svend Estridsen became King of Denmark but only after several years of fightings between the two families and their respective supporters among the nobility.

By the way as Emma was the daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy, this Norman dynasty itself being descended from the Norsemen (Scandinavians from Norway and Denmark) who had overrun northern France, she to had Scandinavian blood running in her veins.

And futhermore both Canute the Great, Harald Harefoot and Hardecanute are decendants of King Gorm the Old of Denmark who is an ancestor to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, CP Frederik, Prince Christian and Princess Isabella. List of Danish monarchs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Kongehuset - Monarkiet i Danmark - Kongerækken

More can be read here:

Canute the Great - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harthacanute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Magnus I of Norway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and Sweyn II of Denmark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

plus on the the homepage the DRF mentioned above (only the Danish version deepens the subject though).
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I've been reading Princesses, which covers some of these troublesome relationships and then explains why George III's daughters got themselves in such trouble, and why so few of them actually married.

I would imagine that knowing that his sister got into such difficulties in Denmark probably discouraged G3 from arranging overseas marriages for his daughters, although having unmarried princesses lounging around BP and Windsor Castle was asking for trouble. (Of course, part of the problem was that G3 was having his medical issues and wasn't able to deal with familial issues at various times.)
Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen

"Mary Tudor: England's First Queen"
by Anna Whitlock

published 2009
384 pages

ISBN 13:9781408800782
FT.com / Books / Non-Fiction - Mary Tudor

Review: Mary Tudor by Anna Whitelock | The Guardian

Henry VIII's elder daughter is one of the truly tragic figures in English history, the most hapless of all our royals. And yet Mary Tudor is remembered not for the wretchedness of her upbringing, the humiliation of her bastardisation and banishment, her battle to become queen against heavy odds, or the epic sterility of her marriage to the Holy Roman Emperor's son (including the phantom pregnancies which followed disdainful absences by Philip, and the growing threat presented by her half-sister Elizabeth), but only for her incineration of Protestants when at last she reached the throne. If anything else ever comes to mind, it is usually the fact that on her watch our enclave around Calais was surrendered to its rightful owners after an occupation of more than 200 years.

Anna Whitelock's biography is a valuable corrective to this partial view of Mary, giving due weight to every episode of her life, from its massive disruption at the age of 15, when her mother Katherine of Aragon was jettisoned in favour of Anne Boleyn and she herself was made a non-person by her father. She would never see her mother again, though Katherine lived for another four years, and this brutal severance was at the bottom of almost everything Mary did afterwards. It explains the tenacity with which she held on to her Roman Catholic allegiance, her refusal to come to terms with any alternative understanding of faith, and the bitter revenge she exacted on anyone who had contributed to her crippling unhappiness.

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King George Vi - Denis Judd

"King George VI"
by Denis Judd

first published 1982
2nd revised & edited edition: 2002
Hardcover 304 pages, Sutton Publishing

GEORGE VI BY JUDD- here a book that provide a human profile of this king, who in his own words was only a naval officer when he arrived to the throne.

Author's blurb
This is the compelling and moving life story of George VI, a shy and insecure man who unexpectedly became King. When, three years after his coronation, Britain declared war on Germany, George led his family in contributing to the war effort and giving his subjects a feeling that he shared in their plight. He visited troops, munitions factories, a supply docks and bomb-damaged areas, and as the Nazis bombed London, the royal family remained at Buckingham Palace. He became a strong leader, taking the country through the harsh reality of war and its aftermath, fostering the stability that was needed only at great personal cost.

Information from newly available sources reveals the true character of the king and his controversial relationships with his brother, the abdicated Edward VIII, and the present Queen Mother. We see George VI's role within the royal family as a whole, and the part he played in cementing Anglo-American relations.

"Authoritative, readable, entertaining…half the length of the official Life and twice as readable….Professor Judd tells the story with a frankness and objectivity and his book ends so movingly that one needs a few moments to recover."
- Brian Masters, Evening Standard

"Professor Judd’s book is clear-eyed and refreshingly unsycophantic."
- Sunday Express

"King George VI is dealt with sensibly and sympathetically…by Denis Judd in a very English way."
- Asa Briggs, The Guardian

"An admirable and enjoyable book which has much to say."
- The Good Book Guide

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Mulatto Queen: Grandmother of All Europe?

"Mulatto Queen: Grandmother of All Europe"
by Gary Lloyd, 2010

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, consort of George III

History reveals two curious details about Queen Charlotte Consort to George III: First, her official coronation portrait shows a woman with distinct mulatto features. Second, the Royal Physician to her granddaughter, Queen Victoria, wrote about her in his memoir: “She had a true mulatto face.”

But if Queen Charlotte was a mulatto, who was the black man who fathered her? And if Queen Victoria became the “Grandmother of Europe” would not her black African great-grandfather be the great-grandfather of virtually every Royal house in Europe?

Mulatto Queen unravels this mystery. Along the way we meet Voltaire, Samuel Johnson, Czar Peter the Great, Liebniz, and finally, the black African rumored to be Queen Charlotte's biological father.

No stodgy historical drama, Mulatto Queen is a hypnotic, farcical romp through King George III’s England. Think: The Da Vinci Code meets Roots …

The characters are heroic, cowardly, desperately funny, disturbingly neurotic. What with their wedding-cake high wigs, court gowns, rampant alcoholism, bloodlust for public executions, addiction to snuff, penchant for gluttony, the appearance of a 17-year old mulatto girl and King George’s instant attraction to her caused a scandal and a cover-up that persists to this day.

Amazon.com: Mulatto Queen: Grandmother of All Europe eBook: Gary…

This novel is 81,000 words long

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It is highly unlikely that Charlotte was mulatto. She may have exhibited certain Africanesque physical features but many people outside of Africa with no mulatto genes do so even today. True one of King George's courtiers refered to her as, da old begum, but there is no evidence she had any Hindoo or African ancestry.
I have read all the history of British Royal.Its a very interesting history.The Queen Marie Antoinette of France has a very interesting biography.She was the Queen of France in which occured the well known and influential 'The french revolution'.
Katherine the Queen [Katharine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII]

"Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr"
by Linda Porter

A new book about the last wife of Henry VIII, the former Katharine Parr.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Although often depicted by the Victorians as a matronly nurse to an elderly king, Katherine Parr (1512–1548), according to Porter, was a stylish trendsetter of 30, sensual, confident, dynamic, exceptionally educated and cultured, and able to perform with aplomb on both an English and international stage. Born into a prominent, northern family of Yorkist sympathies, Katherine was widowed twice before marrying Henry VIII: a brief first marriage thrust her into a troubled family; her second husband, John Neville, Lord Latimer, put his life and fortune at risk when he became embroiled on the side of the rebels in the 1536 northern uprising, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. Probably already in love with seasoned diplomat and soldier Sir Thomas Seymour, the king's brother-in-law, when she married Henry, the pragmatic Katherine embraced her royal role with enthusiasm. British historian Porter (The Myth of "Bloody Mary") claims Elizabeth I's education, religious beliefs, and consciousness of personal image owed much to her loving stepmother. Rich, perceptive, nuanced and creative, this first full-scale biography gives one of Britain's best but least-known queens her due. 16 pages of color illus.

If you are interested in hearing the author, please check out this page Linda Porter Reads from Katherine the Queen | VF Daily | Vanity Fair .

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I will be looking to puchase this book...Katharine has always intrigued me...its a shame that she got caught in the web of Henry VIII but at least she managed to outlive him. Its also a shame that her true love Edward Seymour turned out to NOT to be worthy of her love and devotion.
Queen Elizabeth I - Biographies and Historical Fiction

I am looking for historical fiction and biographies about England's first Queen Elizabeth. They can be from any era, but I'd especially appreciate recommendations about which ones you enjoyed and which are best written.

Thanks in advance.
I've done my share of academic research on Elizabeth I and would highly recommend David Starkey. He's brilliant. If you want a good bio, start with him.
He's an expert on the Tudors and has made several good documentaries as well.
I'm currently reading a book by him on Henry VIII's early years.

See his wikipedia entry for a list of his books and tv documentaries: David Starkey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alison Weir also has a bio on Elizabeth, check her out as well. Here's her website: Books by Alison Weir
Also, under Historical Fiction, you'll find The Lady Elizabeth, I haven't read it myself but knowing the author, I'd say its worth trying.
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"George VI"
by Sarah Bradford

Penguin paperback, 688 pages
published January 2011

George VI reigned through taxing times. Acceding to the throne upon his brother's abdication, he was immediately confronted with the turmoil in European politics leading up to the Second World War, then the War itself, followed by a period of austerity, social transformation and loss of Empire. George was unprepared for kingship, suffering from a stammer which could make public occasions very painful for him. Moreover he had grown up in the shadow of his brother, a man who had been idolized as no royal prince has been, before or since. However, as Sarah Bradford shows in this sympathetic biography, although George was not born to be king, he died a great one.

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Thank you both! - you've helped me decide to start with Starkey.

Still very open to historical fiction to read alongside the bios (I'll probably pick up both of them). The book about Henry VIII sounds great too (i'm slowly working my way out of the middle ages).
Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn – review

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn
In Winter King, first-time historian Thomas Penn has written a definitive and accessible account of the reign of Henry VII that will alter our view not just of Henry, but of the country he dominated and corrupted, and of the dynasty he founded.
Other recent histories have delved into the dark underworld of the Tudors, finding accounts of spies and corrupt councillors, tracing the fears of the monarchs rather than their moments of glory.
Penn's work is a powerful addition to this revisionist view. As his introduction makes clear, this is not the "Tudor version" of history: the wise king who brings unity to a war-torn land. It is a far more sceptical portrait of the monarch Francis Bacon called a "dark prince".
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