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By Lady Antonia Fraser. 2006
Mistresses and wives, mothers and daughters - Antonia Fraser brilliantly explores the relationships which existed between The Sun King and…the women in his life. This includes not only Louis XIV's mistresses, principally Louise de La Vallière, Athénaïs de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general, including his mother Anne of Austria, his two sisters-in-law who were Duchesses d'Orléans in succession, Henriette-Anne and Liselotte, his wayward illegitimate daughters, and lastly Adelaide, the beloved child-wife of his grandson.
By Leonie Frieda. 2004
The bestselling revisionist biography of one of the great women of the 16th centuryOrphaned in infancy, Catherine de Medici was…the sole legitimate heiress to the Medici family fortune. Married at fourteen to the future Henri II of France, she was constantly humiliated by his influential mistress Diane de Poitiers. When her husband died as a result of a duelling accident in Paris, Catherine was made queen regent during the short reign of her eldest son (married to Mary Queen of Scots and like many of her children he died young). When her second son became king she was the power behind the throne.She nursed dynastic ambitions, but was continually drawn into political and religious intrigues between Catholics and Protestants that plagued France for much of the later part of her life. It had always been said that she was implicated in the notorious Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, together with the king and her third son who succeeded to the throne in 1574, but was murdered. Her political influence waned, but she survived long enough to ensure the succession of her son-in-law who had married her daughter Margaret.
By Lady Antonia Fraser. 1979
Following a youth of poverty and bitter exile after his father's execution, the ousted king first challenged, then made his…magnificent escape from, Cromwell's troops before he was eventually restored to his throne in triumph in 1660.Spanning his life both before and after the Restoration, Antonia Fraser's lively and fascinating biography captures all the vitality of the man and the expansiveness of the age.
By Anne Sebba. 2011
Bestselling biography of the enduringly fascinating Wallis SimpsonOne of Britain's most distinguished biographers turns her focus on one of the…most vilified women of the twentieth century. Historian Anne Sebba has written the first full biography by a woman of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. 'That woman', as she was referred to by the Queen Mother, became a hate figure for ensnaring a British king and destabilising the monarchy. Neither beautiful nor brilliant, she nevertheless became one of the most talked-about women of her generation, and she inspired such deep love and adoration in Edward VIII that he gave up a throne and an empire for her. Wallis lived by her wit and her wits, while both her apparent and alleged moral transgressions added to her aura and dazzle. Based on new archives and material only recently made available, this scrupulously researched biography sheds new light on the character and motivations of a powerful, charismatic and complex woman.
By Michael Grant. 1972
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, was also a scholar, murderer, lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and one of the…most remarkable women in history.The distinguished historian and classicist Michael Grant confirms that her reputation as a temptress was well-founded. However, by unravelling the sources behind the tangle of myth, gossip and invention he shows that the popular image of a wayward woman opting for a life of sensuous luxury and neglecting her affairs of state is far from the truth.A brilliant linguist and the first of her Greek-speaking dynasty who learned Egyptian, she was reputed to be the author of treatises on agriculture, make-up and alchemy. Her love affairs were carefully calculated to further her plans to restore her empire to its former greatness and she was a ruthless foe to all who stood in her way.But dead on her golden couch in the palace at Alexandria her life seemed to have ended in failure; her dreams of empire shattered; her lover Mark Antony a suicide himself and she a prisoner of her conqueror Octavian.An unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary queen and her stormy life.
By Daphne Du Maurier. 1976
FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF REBECCAMany accounts of the life of Francis Bacon have been written for scholars. But du…Maurier's aim in this biography was to illuminate the many facets of Bacon's remarkable personality for the common reader.To her book she brought the same gifts of imagination and perception that made her earlier biography, Golden Lads, so immensely readable, skilfully threading into her narrative extracts from contemporary documents and from Bacon's own writings, and setting her account of his life within a vivid contemporary framework.This is truly history made alive.Unlike many authors of popular historical biographies, du Maurier resembled Antonia Fraser in being an indefatigable researcher - Francis King
By Daphne Du Maurier. 1975
FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF REBECCA'A landmark book on a much-neglected figure, containing ground-breaking research . . . Vintage du…Maurier - a page-turner, and a thundering good read!' Lisa JardineA fascinating historical figure, Anthony Bacon was a contemporary of the brilliant band of gallants who clustered round the court of Elizabeth I, and he was closely connected with the Queen's favourite, the Earl of Essex. He also worked as an agent for Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster, living in France where he became acquainted with Henri IV and the famous essayist Michel de Montaigne.It was in France that du Maurier discovered a secret that, if disclosed during Bacon's lifetime, could have put an end to his political career . . . Du Maurier did much to shed light on matters that had long puzzled historians, and, as well as a consummate exercise in research, this biography is also a strange and fascinating tale.
By Antonia Fraser. 1969
Mary Queen of Scots passed her childhood in France and married the Dauphin to become Queen of France at the…age of sixteen. Widowed less than two years later, she returned to Scotland as Queen after an absence of thirteen years.
By Tim Heald. 1991
THE DUKE is the biography of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, a celebrity in his…own right and yet an enigma still, even after 60 years in the public eye. What is he really like? Bombastic, autocratic, say his critics. Colourful, stimulating, say his admirers.Tim Heald was given a unique opportunity to find out for himself. Not for twenty years had a biographer been allowed such access to talk to Prince Philip and watch him at work - still very much a man in a hurry, still speaking and questioning on an astonishing variety of subjects and treading the most impossible tightrope between the breezy informality which he first introduced to the royal family and the parade-ground traditions which he has had to accept. And members of the royal family - among them the Queen Mother, Princes Margaret, Princess Anne and his only surviving sister, Princess Sophie - also share with Heald their thoughts on the man who started life as Philip of Greece, one of a royal family who were deposed and exiled while he was still an infant. Many other witnesses reveal for the first time the Prince Philip they know. His early days in exile, at schools in France, in England and in Germany - where he had first-hand experience of the 'unpleasant habits' of the Nazis, and then in Scotland at the newly founded Gordonstoun. His service with distinction in the Royal Navy during World War Two. His engagement in 1947 to Princess Elizabeth, twenty-one-year-old daughter of King George VI. As TIm Heald observes, Prince Philip swiftly emerged as very much his own man, winning over one or two doubters within the Court who might have preferred a home-grown aristocrat as husband to the future Queen. Written with the co-operation of Buckingham Palace, THE DUKE is a brilliantly informed portrait of a life that has been independent of, but fully supportive to the Queen.
By Penny Junor. 2014
By the author of the top 10 bestseller The Duchess, this is the Prince Harry you've never read about before…- this is the story behind the tabloid stories. The Prince who has the power to make or break. The maverick Prince, who is brilliant, impetuous and unpredictable. The Prince who with his unique talents, charm and bloody-minded determination is changing lives across the world. But the Prince who could, in a moment of madness, bring it all crashing down. He is the redhead that Diana called 'the spare', whose childhood was one of chaos and loss; the little boy walking behind his mother's cortege who broke our hearts. This is the story of how he survived the loss and chaos; how he lived in the shadow of his older, cleverer, more important brother - until suddenly he discovered there was something he could do better than almost anyone. This is the story of how the troubled teenager grew into a leader of men, a soldier, a pilot, an adventurer and a passionate champion of those who are in danger of being destroyed or forgotten.Written with the help of many of the most important people in his life, this is the first authoritative biography of this most delightful, charismatic and dangerous of the Queen's grandsons.
By Michael Bloch. 1982
Drawing on unique sources, Michael Bloch describes the career of the Duke of Windsor during the Second World War.As a…military liaison officer in France during 1939-40, he issued warnings which, had they been heeded, might have avoided the defeat of France;as Governor of the Bahamas 1940-45, he succeeded in what was regarded as one of the most difficult posts in the British Empire.But at the same time he and his wife (to marry whom he had given up a throne) had a second war to contend with - against King George VI and Queen Elizabeth who were determined to treat them as outcasts.This book caused a furore on publication, being the first work to give a detailed account of the bitter relations between the ex-King and his family.
By Michael Bloch. 1986
When Wallis & Edward was first published in 1986, weeks after the death of the Duchess of Windsor, it caused…a sensation: this was the story the world had been waiting for. For the first time, the story of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII was revealed in their own words. Michael Bloch's edition of their intimate correspondence takes us from the moment they met in 1931 up to their marriage in 1937, and includes Wallis Simpson's diary of their affair in form of her weekly letters to her aunt in Washington. It sheds a wealth of fascinating new light on 'the greatest love story of the century' and the mysteries of King Edward's abdication.
'A unique insight into the isolated childhood of the future queen and her sister' YOU MAGAZINE, THE DAILY MAIL~The touching…and ground-breaking stories of the Queen and Princess Margaret's childhoods told by their nanny, Marion Crawford. With a foreword by former BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond, Marion reveals the royal family's life before The Crown.Now, more than ever, the Royal Family's private lives are the stuff of soap opera and it seems anyone who comes into contact with them sells their story to the magazines or to the newspapers. Marion Crawford, 'Crawfie', as she was known to the Queen and Princess Margaret, became governess to the children of the Duke and Duchess of York in the early 1930s, little suspecting she was nurturing her future Queen. Beginning at the quiet family home in Piccadilly and ending with the birth of Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 1948, Crawfie tells how she brought the princesses up to be 'Royal' whilst also exposing them to the ordinary world of underground trains, buses and swimming lessons. THE LITTLE PRINCESSES was published in 1950 to a furore we cannot imagine today. Crawfie was demonised by the press, and the Queen Mother - who had been a great friend and who had, Crawfie maintained, given her permission to write the account - never spoke to her again.
By Harriet Castor. 1999
Exciting stories about famous people, outlining their lives and the important events which made them memorable. Every page features easy-to-follow…text and a black-and-white line drawing to help bring these events to life. Each title gives further facts about the famous person and the times in which he or she lived, plus a comprehensive time line detailing key dates. Henry VIII is an exciting tale of kings and queens, jousting knights and grisly executions. It explains how Henry took power away from the Church in his quest for an heir to inherit his kingdom.
By Michael Bloch. 1997
Royal scandal is nothing new. In 1936, the royal family was rocked by events that threatened its very existence. Edward…VIII, King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, Emperor of India, gave up his throne. A constitutional crisis ensued. The reason? He intended to marry Wallis Simpson - a divorcee.In The Duchess of Windsor, Michael Bloch tells her fascinating story. This is the definitive biography of the woman Edward prized above his crown. Drawing on first-hand access to their intimate correspondence, it paints a picture of Simpson which was often startlingly at variance with the official story as reported at the time. It brings vividly to life the qualities which captivated her royal suitor, and on publication caused outrage and surprise by uncovering the great mysteries of her life.
By Michael Bloch. 1990
Michael Bloch gives a new twist to the oft-told story of King Edward's short reign.Drawing on a decade-long study of…the King's personality, and on privileged access to his papers, he sees the King's abdication partly as the result of a plot to get rid of him by men who mistrusted his modernity and popular touch, but also explainable by the fact that he did not really want to be king or fight for his throne.
By Mike Ashley. 1999
This book includes more than 1000 monarchs who have at some time ruled all or part of Britain. This includes…the host of tribal and Saxon rulers prior to 1066 as well as famous monarchs such as Richard III, Elizabeth I and Charles II and all the rulers of Scotland and Wales. The book gives full details of the lives of the rulers as well as their wives, consorts, pretenders, usurpers and regents and is a geographical guide to where all Britain's monarchs lived, ruled and died including their palaces, estates and resting places.
By Anne De Courcy. 2008
'The most sensational book on the Royal Family in recent times' Sunday Telegraph'Offers a fascinating insight into not just his…life but the social mores of the day' Evening StandardHow did a photographer who was a relentless playboy, an unashamed womaniser and a leather-clad motorcyclist marry the Queen's sister and become the Establishment figure Lord Snowdon? The brilliantly talented Antony Armstrong-Jones often humiliated Princess Margaret, yet he was compassionate to the causes he cared about. Since his death in 2017, Snowdon still hasn't escaped the limelight, as more and more is revealed about his wild and intriguing life.Written with exclusive access to Snowdon and the people closest to him, this book uncovers the real man and his times. Addressing the facts behind the myths - the secret courtship of Margaret, the love child born just weeks after the royal marriage, the affairs on both sides, the suicide of one mistress and the birth of an illegitimate son to another - this balanced yet no-holds-barred account of Snowdon's life is essential reading for fans of The Crown and Ma'am Darling.
By Michael Bloch. 1988
In this brilliant and authoritative work, based on their private correspondence and papers, Michael Bloch describes the feud which developed…between the Duke of Windsor and the British royal establishment after the Abdication, the humiliations which were suffered by the ex-King and his wife, and the plots to ensure that they remained in exile.
By Kate Williams. 2012
The story of how Elizabeth II became queen.We can hardly imagine a Britain without Elizabeth II on the throne. It…seems to be the job she was born for. And yet for much of her early life the young princess did not know the role that her future would hold. She was our accidental Queen.As a young girl, Elizabeth was among the guests in Westminster Abbey watching her father being crowned, making her the only monarch to have attended a parent's coronation. Kate Williams explores the sheltered upbringing of the young princess with a gentle father and domineering mother, her complicated relationship with her sister, Princess Margaret, and her dependence on her nanny, Marion 'Crawfie' Crawford. She details the profound and devastating impact of the abdication crisis when, at the impressionable age of 11, Elizabeth found her position changed overnight: no longer a minor princess she was now heiress to the throne.Elizabeth's determination to share in the struggles of her people marked her out from a young age. Her father initially refused to let her volunteer as a nurse during the Blitz, but relented when she was 18 and allowed her to work as a mechanic and truck driver for the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was her forward-thinking approach that ensured that her coronation was televised, against the advice of politicians at the time.Kate Williams reveals how the 25-year-old young queen carved out a lasting role for herself amid the changes of the 20th century. Her monarchy would be a very different one to that of her parents and grandparents, and its continuing popularity in the 21st century owes much to the intelligence and elusive personality of this remarkable woman.