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
The story of England's medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. It is a chronicle of love, murder, war and betrayal, filled with passion, intrigue and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, stateswomen and lovers. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England's queens in the century after the Norman Conquest. Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, who claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to that end, the five Norman queens emerge as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters. Much more than a series of individual biographies, Queens of the Conquest is a seamless tale of interconnected lives and a rich portrait of English history in a time of flux. In Alison Weir's hands these five extraordinary women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn. In this vibrant biography, acclaimed author Alison Weir reexamines the life of Isabella of England, one of history’s most notorious and charismatic queens. Isabella arrived in London in 1308, the spirited twelve-year-old daughter of King Philip IV of France. Her marriage to the heir to England’s throne was designed to heal old political wounds between the two countries, and in the years that followed she became an important figure, a determined and clever woman whose influence would come to last centuries. Many myths and legends have been woven around Isabella’s story, but in this first full biography in more than 150 years, Alison Weir gives a groundbreaking new perspective.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Around the year 1049, William, Duke of Normandy and future conqueror of England, raced to the palace of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders. The count’s eldest daughter, Matilda, had refused William’s offer of marriage and publicly denounced him as a bastard. Encountering the young woman, William furiously dragged her to the ground by her hair and beat her mercilessly. Matilda’s outraged father immediately took up arms on his daughter’s behalf. But just a few days later, Baldwin was aghast when Matilda, still recovering from the assault, announced that she would marry none but William, since “he must be a man of great courage and high daring” to have ventured to “come and beat me in my own father’s palace.” Thus began the tempestuous marriage of Matilda of Flanders and William the Conqueror. While William’s exploits and triumphs have been widely chronicled, his consort remains largely overlooked. Now, in her groundbreaking Queen of the Conqueror, acclaimed author and historian Tracy Borman weaves together a comprehensive and illuminating tapestry of this noble woman who stood only four-foot-two and whose role as the first crowned Queen of England had a large and lasting influence on the English monarchy. From a wealth of historical artifacts and documents, Matilda emerges as passionate, steadfast, and wise, yet also utterly ruthless and tenacious in pursuit of her goals, and the only person capable of taming her formidable husband—who, unprecedented for the period, remained staunchly faithful to her. This mother of nine, including four sons who went on to inherit William’s French and English dominions, confounded the traditional views of women in medieval society by seizing the reins of power whenever she had the chance, directing her husband’s policy, and at times flagrantly disobeying his orders. Tracy Borman lays out Matilda’s remarkable story against one of the most fascinating and transformative periods in European history. Stirring, richly detailed, and wholly involving, Queen of the Conqueror reveals not just an extraordinary figure but an iconic woman who shaped generations, and an era that cast the essential framework for the world we know today. Praise for Queen of the Conqueror “[Tracy Borman] brings to life Queen Matilda’s enormous accomplishments in consolidating early Norman rule. Alongside her warrior husband, William I, Matilda brought legitimacy, a deeper degree of education, diplomatic savvy and artistic and religious flowering to the shared Norman-English throne. Borman . . . the chief executive of Britain’s Heritage Education Trust, fleshes out the personality of this fascinating woman, who set the steely precedent for subsequent English female sovereigns by displaying great longevity and stamina in a rough, paternalistic time. . . . A richly layered treatment of the stormy reign that yielded the incomparable Bayeux Tapestry and the Domesday Book.”—Kirkus Reviews “Tracy Borman tells this story with a steady eye and a steady hand, tracing what can be known of Matilda’s part in the events that were to change the course of English history.”—Helen Castor, Literary Review From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Alison Weir
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2011-04-18
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
'George III is alleged to have married secretly, on 17th April, 1759, a Quakeress called Hannah Lightfoot, daughter of a Wapping shoemaker, who is said to have borne him three children. Documents relating to the alleged marriage, bearing the Prince's signature, were impounded and examined in 1866 by the Attorney General. Learned opinion at the time leaned to the view that these documents were genuine. They were then placed in the Royal Archives at Windsor; in 1910, permission was refused a would-be author who asked to see them. If George III did make such a marriage when he was Prince of Wales, before the passing of the Royal Marriages Act in 1772, 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, if they ever existed.' From Britain's Royal Families Britain's Royal Families is a unique reference book. It provides, for the first time in one volume, complete genealogical details of all members of the royal houses of England, Scotland and Great Britain - from 800AD to the present. Here is the vital biographical information relating not only to each monarch, but also to every member of their immediate family, from parents to grandchildren. Drawing on countless authorities, both ancient and modern, Alison Weir explores the royal family tree in unprecedented depth and provides a comprehensive guide to the heritage of today's royal family.
Author: Sarah Gristwood
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2016-11-29
"Sarah Gristwood has written a masterpiece that effortlessly and enthrallingly interweaves the amazing stories of women who ruled in Europe during the Renaissance period."--Alison Weir Sixteenth-century Europe saw an explosion of female rule. From Isabella of Castile, and her granddaughter Mary Tudor, to Catherine de Medici, Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth Tudor, these women wielded enormous power over their territories, shaping the course of European history for over a century. Across boundaries and generations, these royal women were mothers and daughters, mentors and protégées, allies and enemies. For the first time, Europe saw a sisterhood of queens who would not be equaled until modern times. A fascinating group biography and a thrilling political epic, Game of Queens explores the lives of some of the most beloved (and reviled) queens in history.
Author: Joanna Courtney
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 2015-05-07
The Queens of the Conquest trilogy 1066. Three Queens. One Crown. As a young woman in England's royal court, Edyth, granddaughter of Lady Godiva, dreams of marrying for love. But political matches are rife while King Edward is still without an heir and the future of England is uncertain. When Edyth's family are exiled to the wild Welsh court, she falls in love with the charismatic King of Wales - but their romance comes at a price and she is catapulted onto the opposing side of a bitter feud with England. Edyth's only allies are Earl Harold Godwinson and his handfasted wife, Lady Svana. As the years pass, Edyth finds herself elevated to a position beyond even her greatest expectations. She enjoys both power and wealth but as her star rises the lines of love and duty become more blurred than she could ever have imagined. As 1066 dawns, Edyth is asked to make an impossible choice. Her decision is one that has the power to change the future of England forever . . . The Chosen Queen by Joanna Courtney is the perfect blend of history, fast-paced plot and sweeping romance with a cast of strong female characters - an unforgettable read. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Chadwick and Philippa Gregory.
Author: Lisa Hilton
Publisher: Open Road Media
Release Date: 2013-05-07
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
“A compelling trek through English history in the company of some remarkable women.” —Kirkus Reviews Though their royal husbands occupy the lion’s share of history books, the queens of early England are fascinating subjects in their own right. Lisa Hilton’s Queens Consort vividly evokes the lives and times of England’s first queens, from Matilda of Flanders and the Norman conquest of England to Elizabeth of York and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. By profiling twenty different queens, Hilton provides an intricate and dramatic composite of the English monarch: from the ruthless Isabella of France, who violently gained control of England by dispatching Edward II, to the beloved Matilda of Scotland, known for her intelligence and devotion despite her philandering husband, Henry I; and from a girl who was crowned at the age of nine to a commoner who climbed the social ladder at the most opportune moment. Queens Consort dispels many of the myths that have surrounded these women for centuries, while simultaneously illuminating lesser-known facts about their lives.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. 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 From the Trade Paperback edition.
For historical fiction readers, a tantalizing new novel from New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir about the passionate and notorious French queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Renowned for her highly acclaimed and bestselling British histories, Alison Weir has in recent years made a major impact on the fiction scene with her novels about Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. In this latest offering, she imagines the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the beautiful twelfth-century woman who was Queen of France until she abandoned her royal husband for the younger man who would become King of England. In a relationship based on lust and a mutual desire for great power, Henry II and Eleanor took over the English throne in 1154, thus beginning one of the most influential reigns and tumultuous royal marriages in all of history. In this novel, Weir uses her extensive knowledge to paint a most vivid portrait of this fascinating woman. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Sara Cockerill
Publisher: Amberley Publishing Limited
Release Date: 2014-09-09
Eleanor of Castile, the remarkable woman behind England's greatest medieval king, Edward I, has been effectively airbrushed from history; yet she had one of the most fascinating lives of any of England's queens. Her childhood was spent in the centre of the Spanish reconquest and was dominated by her military hero of a father (St Ferdinand) and her prodigiously clever brother (King Alfonso X the Learned). Married at the age of twelve and a mother at thirteen, she gave birth to at least sixteen children, most of whom died young. She was a prisoner for a year amid a civil war in which her husband s life was in acute danger. Devoted to Edward, she accompanied him everywhere, including on Crusade to the Holy Land. All in all, she was to live for extended periods in five different countries. Eleanor was a highly dynamic, forceful personality who acted as part of Edward s innermost circle of advisers, and successfully accumulated a vast property empire for the English Crown. In cultural terms her influence in architecture and design and even gardening can be discerned to this day, while her idealised image still speaks to us from Edward s beautiful memorials to her, the Eleanor crosses. This book reveals her untold story.
Author: Joanna Courtney
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers Aus.
Release Date: 2016-04-26
The Constant Queen is a powerful, absorbing novel which tells the story of a daring Viking warrior, his forgotten queen and a love that almost changed the course of history. 'You need not take England without me, Hari, because I will be your constant queen - there with you; there for you. ' Elizaveta is princess of Kiev, but that doesn't stop her chasing adventure. Defying conventions, she rides the rapids of the Dneiper alongside her royal brothers and longs to rule in her own right as a Queen. Elizaveta meets her match when the fearsome Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrives at her father's court seeking fame and fortune. He entrusts Elizaveta to be his treasure keeper, holding the keys to his ever-growing wealth - and eventually to his heart. Theirs is a fierce romance and the strength of their love binds them together as they travel across the vast seas to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. In 1066, their ambition carries them to the Orkneys as they plan to invade England and claim the crown . . . PRAISE FOR THE SERIES "Gripping, intriguing, romantic" Tracy Bloom "A fascinating and gripping read, I was hooked from the first page and didn't want to put it down" Bookbabblers "Absorbing and emotional" Candis magazine
Author: Joanna Courtney
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 2017-05-18
A crown can be won, blood cannot be changed. The Conqueror's Queen is the third title in Joanna Courtney's sweeping historical series, The Queens of Conquest. William of Normandy is a rough man, but what more can you expect of an illegitimate son trying to muscle his way into a dukedom? After a violent start to their courtship, Mathilda of Flanders discovers William to be a man of unexpected sensitivity, driven by two goals: to prove himself by becoming a great ruler and to build a warm and secure family. Mathilda has grown up safe in the love of her powerful parents, her rough and tumble brothers and, above all, her younger sister and closest confidante, Judith. Now, though, they must separate. Judith marries the glamorous Earl Torr and departs for life in England and Mathilda heads to Normandy with William. When William's cousin King Edward of England weakens, his eyes are cast across the narrow sea to the glittering throne he promised Mathilda as a young bride. Mathilda supports him keenly in his challenge, longing to live close to her sister once more. But as reward for his support for William, Torr wants more than William is prepared to cede and there will be no alliance. The two sisters find themselves not only on either side of a sea but of a bitter battle, and the events of 1066 bring great personal loss, as well as victory, to the Conqueror's Queen.