Henrietta Maria: Conspirator, Warrior, Phoenix Queen (Hardback)Leanda de Lisle (author)
Bracingly revisionist and powerfully argued, de Lisle's monumental biography of Charles I's reviled bride recasts Henrietta Maria as a much more tolerant, witty and intelligent consort than she has hitherto been given credit for.
A myth-busting biography of Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, which retells the dramatic story of the civil war from her perspective.
Henrietta Maria, Charles I's queen, is the most reviled consort to have worn the crown of Britain's three kingdoms. Condemned as that 'Popish brat of France', a 'notorious whore' and traitor, she remains in popular memory the wife who wore the breeches and turned her husband Catholic - so causing a civil war - and a cruel and bigoted mother.
Leanda de Lisle's White King was hailed as 'the definitive modern biography about Charles I' (Observer). Here she considers Henrietta Maria's point of view, unpicking the myths to reveal a very different queen. We meet a new bride who enjoyed annoying her uptight husband, a leader of fashion in clothes and cultural matters, an innovative builder and gardener and an advocate of the female voice in public affairs. No bigot, her closest friends included 'Puritans' as well as Catholics, and she led the anti-Spanish faction at court linked to the Protestant cause in the Thirty Years' War. When civil war came, the strategic planning and fundraising of his 'She Generalissimo' proved crucial to Charles's campaign.
The story takes us to courts across Europe, and looks at the fate of Henrietta Maria's mother and sisters, who also faced civil wars. Her estrangement from her son Henry is explained, and the image of the Restoration queen as an irrelevant crone is replaced with Henrietta Maria as an influential 'phoenix queen', presiding over a court with 'more mirth' even than that of the Merry Monarch, Charles II. It is time to look again at this despised queen and judge if she is not in fact one of our most remarkable.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 770 g
Dimensions: 242 x 160 x 43 mm
A thrilling biography - DANIEL BROOKS, The Daily Telegraph
Competent, intelligent, fun... de Lisle...has a visceral understanding of the complex emotions that swirled inside Henrietta Maria - The Times, Books of the Year*
A shrewd and elegant reassessment of Charles's I consort and widow... She was certainly a fighter - Clare Mulley, Spectator, Books of the Year*
Brilliantly written, mesmerising, superb scholarship and totally immersive . . . a total game changer - KATE WILLIAMS, author of Rival Queens: the Betrayal of Mary Queen of Scotts
With grace and sensitivity, de Lisle cuts through the misogyny to reveal a different Henrietta Maria . . . De Lisle understands that history is a story of people; she possesses a visceral understanding of the emotions that swirled inside Henrietta Maria . . . she was not England's greatest queen, but she was probably the most remarkable - GERARD DEGROOT, The Times Book of the Week
De Lisle has made a speciality of bringing Tudors and Stuarts back to blazing life... The result is deeply satisfying and makes an excellent companion to her earlier much-admired biography of Charles I, White King - Kathryn Hughes, Sunday Times
A captivating, richly detailed historical tale that shines a light on the hidden genius of an extraordinary woman - Literary Review
de Lisle turns her attention to [Charles I's] wife, Henrietta Maria, similarly shading with nuance a character who can sometimes be reduced to primary-colour simplicity - History Today
A glorious resurrection of one of the most misrepresented queens of England . . . finally, thanks to Leanda de Lisle's meticulous research, she has a biography worthy of her fascinating life - AMANDA FOREMAN, author of A World on Fire
Henrietta Maria's remarkable life is recounted with gusto in this sharp, sparky book... it makes vivid use of recent work on her court and queenship, brings people and personalities to the fore and will be a particular delight to those new to the period - ANNA KEAY, Spectator
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