This essential reference is a concise, accessible guide to the great dynasties of English royalty. A collection of biographical sketches that encompasses the period from the establishment of monarchical power by the early Norman kings through the reign of Elizabeth II, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England tells the stories of many monarchs and their colorful lives—some merry, some cruel, some heroic, others sinister. Antonia Fraser and a collection of distinguished contributors bring the people and events to life in this lavishly illustrated volume that is both engrossing history and an excellent reference tool.
This updated edition includes a new essay describing the recently tumultuous reign of the Windsors. Included are details of the weddings of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, and of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson; the acrimonious collapse of the marriages; the effect the media have had on the royal family's image; and the fire at Windsor Castle. Such recent events as Diana's tragic death, the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the launching of Queen Elizabeth's own website are also discussed.
Accompanying the text are 175 contemporary illustrations and drawings of the royal coats of arms, with their significance explained by J.P. Brooke-Little, Richmond Herald of Arms. This is a dazzling story of a thousand years of English history, as told through the lives and deeds of the nation's sovereigns.
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Antonia Fraser is an internationally acclaimed writer. Her historical biographies include Mary, Queen of Scots (1993), Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1996), Charles II (1974), and The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1993). Her most recent work is Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot (1997).From AudioFile:
Eight historians (including Neville Williams for the Tudors and Andrew Roberts for the Windsors) tell the story of the royal houses of England from 1066 to the present. Fraser's somewhat apologetic introduction acknowledges the limits of monarchical history, but this fascinating and mesmerizing chronology has too many colorful characters and startling reversals to ever feel limited. At last, one learns why Henry IV was Henry Bolingbroke and his son Henry V was Henry Monmouth (after the castles where they were born), who exactly Lady Jane Grey was, and why a line of German princes ended up on the English throne. McCaddon's initially harsh, schoolmarmish tone turns out to wear well, bringing vigor and continuity to what easily might have been a numbing chronology of names and centuries. In her commanding voice this unsurpassable listening experience stirs both mind and imagination. D.A.W. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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