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Published in May 2016
Modern British Royalty
The Queen at 90: A Royal Birthday Souvenir by Gill Knappett. A biography of Queen Elizabeth II in pictures.
The Queen's People. Featuring 42 portraits by Hugo Rittson Thomas, this hand-bound limited-edition volume captures the pageantry of the modern Royal Court's intricate ceremonial dress and regalia. Includes an essay by the Garter Principal King of Arms.
The State Visits of Edward VII: Reinventing Royal Diplomacy for the Twentieth Century by Matthew Glencross. Explores the revival of the ceremonial state visit, using information from the Royal Archives, memoirs and newspapers.
Edward VIII: The Uncrowned King by Piers Brendon. Drawing on unpublished material, this biography traces Edward's tumultuous life from bright young prince to troubled sovereign, wartime colonial governor, and sad expatriate.
British Royal History
Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen by Kathryn Warner. Wife of King Edward II, Isabella of France (c. 1295-1358) rebelled against her husband and forced the first-ever abdication of an English king.
The Sister Queens: Isabella & Catherine de Valois by Mary McGrigor. Catherine de Valois, bride of Henry V, conducted a passionate love affair that founded the Tudor dynasty. Her sister Isabella was married aged seven to Richard II and fled England following his murder.
On the Trail of the Yorks by Kristie Dean. Explores the places associated with members of the royal York dynasty, including cathedrals, castles, battlefields and manor houses.
Tudors and Stuarts
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years by John Guy. Only after she reached age 50 did Queen Elizabeth I begin to wield real power in her own right. This biography reveals the woman behind the polished veneer: wracked by insecurity, often too anxious to sleep alone, confronting war, economic crisis, and conspiracy.
James I: Scotland's King of England by John Matusiak. Biography of the flawed if well-meaning ruler, whose passionate commitment to time-honoured principles of government would, ironically, prove his undoing.
The Last Royal Rebel: The Life and Death of James, Duke of Monmouth by Anna Keay. An excellent biography of King Charles II's illegitimate son. Here's my review of the book.
In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII by Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger. A guidebook to manors, castles, and palaces that played host to Henry's queens.
The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore. The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into an empire? And how did they lose it all?
The Cult of St Erik in Medieval Sweden by Christian Oertel. The veneration of a royal saint from the 12th century to the 16th century.
Constructing Autocracy: Aristocrats and Emperors in Julio-Claudian Rome by Matthew B. Roller. How the imperial regime managed to establish itself, and how Roman elites made sense of it. New paperback edition.
Ties of Kinship: Genealogy and Dynastic Marriage in Kyivan Rus' by Christian Raffensperger. An analysis of the dynastic marriages of the descendants of Volodimer (Vladimir I), ruler of the medieval East Slavic state of Kievan Rus. Includes genealogical charts.
Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars by Elena Maria Vidal. Biography that consider Marie Antoinette in light of her heritage as a child of the Habsburg dynasty and a representative of Christendom.
Betsy and the Emperor by Anne Whitehead. Brings to life Napoleon's last years on Saint Helena, revealing the role of the Balcombe family and pretty teenager Betsy Balcombe.
Celestial Women: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China From Song to Qing by Keith McMahon. Follows the strong and active women, of both high and low rank, who counseled emperors, ghostwrote for them, and dominated them when they were weak.
Four Seasons: A Ming Emperor and His Grand Secretaries in Sixteenth-Century China by John W. Dardess. How Emperor Jiajing and his four successive grand secretaries managed affairs of state, drawing on the grand secretaries' personal writings.
China's Lost Imperial Garden: The World's Most Exquisite Garden Rediscovered by Guo Daiheng. Built in 1707, the Old Summer Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan) has been digitally reconstructed in recent years. This book reveals what the garden was like in its prime.
Exile in Colonial Asia: Kings, Convicts, Commemoration edited by Ronit Ricci. Many people were touched by exile within and from colonial Asia between the 17th and early 20th centuries, among them royalty, slaves, convicts, rebels, soldiers and officials.
Working Towards the Monarchy: The Politics of Space in Downtown Bangkok by Serhat Ünaldi. For decades the architecture in central Bangkok has helped protect the sacred aura of Thailand's monarchy. When marginalized Thais turned against royal charisma, they attacked the architecture that represented and supported it.
Seleukid Royal Women: Creation, Representation and Distortion of Hellenistic Queenship in the Seleukid Empire edited by Altay Coskun and Alex McAuley. Scholars examine how royal women of the Seleucid dynasty were represented in visual and textual media.
Imperial Exile by Keith Bowers. This book tells the story of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie's exile in Bath, England in the 1930s after his country was invaded by Italy. (Currently available at Amazon.com for Kindle only.)
Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir. Fictional account of the life of Henry VIII's first queen, who was forced to fight for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart. This is the first novel in Weir's Six Tudor Queens series.
Mistress of the Court by Laura Purcell. Novel about King George II's mistress Henrietta Howard, who started her career as his wife's lady-in-waiting.
Published in April 2016
Queen Elizabeth II
Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne by Christopher Andersen. This book promises to reveal the relationships and rivalries of Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Queen Elizabeth at 90: The Story of Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch by the editors of LIFE Magazine. A look at the Queen's more than 63-year reign, with dozens of photos.
Long to Reign Over Us: Official Souvenir Album by Leah Kharibian. Contains a selection of the most famous portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, plus informal photos and pictures of jewelry, dresses, and gifts from visiting heads of state.
British Royal History
Henry IV by Chris Given-Wilson. At age 32, Henry IV (1399-1413) seized the English throne from his cousin Richard II. This biography reveals Henry as a cultured, extravagant, and skeptical monarch who crushed opposition ruthlessly. From the Yale English Monarchs series.
Richmond Park: From Medieval Pasture to Royal Park by Paul Rabbitts. The history of London's largest Royal Park. Its royal connections begin with Edward I in the 13th century, when it was known as the Manor of Sheen.
Penguin's British Monarchs Series
William II: The Red King by John Gillingham. Killed by an arrow while hunting, William Rufus was a ruthless, irascible man, but he established permanent Norman rule in England and handed out effective justice.
Stephen: The Reign of Anarchy by Carl Watkins. The reign of Stephen (1135-1141) saw England plunged into a civil war that illuminated the fatal flaw in the powerful Norman monarchy.
Henry V: From Playboy Prince to Warrior King by Anne Curry. How Henry's efforts to expunge his past failures defined his kingship, and how his success at the battle of Agincourt transformed his standing in the eyes of all generations to come.
William IV: A King at Sea by Roger Knight. Best known for his naval career and for living for 20 years with the actress Mrs. Jordan, William was a disaster in whatever field he found himself.
Edward VII: The Cosmopolitan King by Richard Davenport-Hines. To the despair of his parents, Edward rebelled as a young man, living a life of pleasure. But as king he made a distinct contribution to European diplomacy.
Representations of Renaissance Monarchy: Francis I and the Image-Makers by Lisa Mansfield. Analyzes portraits and imagery of French king Francis I, one of the most frequently portrayed rulers of 16th-century Europe.
The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia by Susan Jaques. Biography of the German princess who became ruler of Russia. She sought to modernize Russia through acquisition of art, which she used as a form of diplomacy.
Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire by Peter H. Wilson. Traces the empire from its origins within Charlemagne's kingdom in 800 to its demise in 1806. It represented the ideal of unified Christian civilization, but this did not prevent emperors from clashing with popes.
The Habsburg Empire: A New History by Pieter M. Judson. Shows why the Habsburg Empire mattered so much, for so long, to millions of Central Europeans.
Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt by Marie Vandenbeusch, Aude Semet, and Margaret Maitland. Essays and 180 color photographs of monumental sculpture, funerary objects, jewelry, and other objects from the British Museum.
Cleopatra's Needles: The Lost Obelisks of Egypt by Bob Brier. Built by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, three massive obelisks nicknamed "Cleopatra's Needles" were moved to Paris, London, and New York in the 19th century, a feat of engineering under nearly impossible conditions.
Nimrud: The Queens' Tombs by Muzahim Mahmoud Hussein, translated and edited by Mark Altaweel and McGuire Gibson. The author's 1989 discovery of tombs of Neo-Assyrian queens in the palace of Ashurnasirpal in Nimrud (Kalhu/Calah) was electrifying news for archaeology. This book includes numerous full-color plates.
The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man's Wealth Shaped the World by Frank L. Holt. Although Alexander owed his vast fortune to war, battle also distracted him from managing his spoils. Much was wasted, embezzled, or deliberately destroyed.
Ritual, Violence, and the Fall of the Classic Maya Kings edited by Gyles Iannone, Brett A. Houk, and Sonja A. Schwake. Maya kings whose kingdoms didn't prosper were subject to the destruction of monuments and even violent death. This book evaluates the scapegoat king and the demise of traditional kingship in the early 9th century.
John II Komnenos, Emperor of Byzantium: In the Shadow of Father and Son edited by Alessandra Bucossi and Alex Rodriguez Suarez. Papers about the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus, who reigned from 1118 to 1143.
Saladin: The Sultan Who Vanquished the Crusaders and Built an Islamic Empire by John Man. Biography of the 12th century ruler of Egypt and Syria who was a builder, literary patron, and theologian.
The Rivals of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie. A novel about the beautiful Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, and her many rivals. This is the second book in the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy; the first book is The Sisters of Versailles.
Books About African Royalty
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