Discover the golden age of sixteenth-century England and its fascinating monarch. Elizabeth the 1st was perhaps the most influential sovereign England has ever known. Her father, Henry VIII, brutally murdered her mother and declared her a bastard; as he kept taking and discarding wives, Elizabeth had to build intelligence and presence to stay alive in the intrigue-laden Tudor court. When she at last ascended the throne, it was to inherit a bankrupt, famished, and powerless country.
Richard III: one of the most divisive and enigmatic figures in British history. Few monarchs have been held in greater infamy than Richard Plantagenet, who would later ascend the throne as King Richard III; his character has been passionately besmirched and defended, and the arguments still rage after several centuries. He was depicted as a deformed monster in Shakespeare's play, but maybe this was to obey the will of the Tudor monarchy of the time. His real tragedy was both personal and political; his story, replete with intrigue, murder, war, and treachery. Richard III laid the foundations for modern government, often taking the side of the people against the barons; for this, he eventually paid a terrible price.
Henry V is one of the most famous monarchs England ever had. His story is one of incredible rise against overwhelming odds: as heir to the throne, he began as a complete failure, his reputation very low, as he was an insecure ruler and victim to plots and cabals to remove him from power. While England was at war with France, everything seemed to go from terrible to terribly worse. The Battle of Agincourt was one of the most impressive gambles ever taken in military history.
The bar was high after the glorious reign of the Sun King. Louis XV, his successor, had a difficult time driving the country through religious disputes, intellectual shifts and economical hardness. This eventually led to a steep economic decline, which played an important role in the reaction of the French people against the monarchy, and eventually gave way to the French Revolution.
The History of France: from Louis II to Louis XVIII: Understand a crucial part of the history of French monarchy, with this collection of portraits of some of the most spectacular rulers of France. This catalog lists the kings named Louis, from Louis II (877-879), a king whose wisdom was greater than his authority, to Louis XVIII who reigned during the Restauration of the French Monarchy after the fall of Emperor Napoleon. For each one of these Kings, you will find a detailed description of the style of his reign and his political achievements.
The Sun King's reputation still stands on his reign, rich in art and literature, his brilliant court and invincible armies. He was in power for 72 years, the longest reign of any monarch in European history; he made France the leading European power, set up the lavish palace of Versailles to be sure the rebellious nobility would always be before his eyes, and consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.
Louis XI: this rebellious king was first called "The Prudent", in reference to his cunning ways, and then, "The Universal Spider" when it appeared that his ceaseless intrigues had turned into full-blown webs of plots and conspiracies. Learn how the Cunning King of France was able to eliminate his rebellious vassals, expand royal power, and strengthen the economic development of his country, all through the power of isolating treaties, precise timing, and intense diplomatic activities.
King Edward I "Longshanks", or the "Hammer of the Scots", was a major figure of Medieval England. Arguably one of the most controversial British monarchs, he was portrayed as an ignominious villain in Mel Gibsons' Braveheart; but the reality was different. Indeed, his reign stands among the most dramatic and important of the entire Middle Ages, as Edward I brought war and conquest on an unprecedented scale; but he is also credited for bringing together the largest parliaments ever, for his competent rulership, and for the magnificent chain of castles he had built.
A time of extreme religious unrest, a most magnificent and dangerous court, and strong ideas about the need for a perfect heir: all this may have been enough to transform an intelligent, compassionate and generous young king into such a bloody monster that he was eventually called the "English Nero". Henry VIII is most remembered for his six marriages, two of which ended with beheadings.
Henry Tudor was born in a country ravaged by conspiracies, coups, and ruthless violence. He belonged to the Plantagenet Royal Family, House of Lancaster. They were engaged in a bloody battle with the House of York, in a conflict that had been going on for years for control of the throne of England: the War of the Roses. Through ruse and guile, Henry Tudor made sure he emerged as the only claimant to the Crown. When he ascended the throne, he managed to unite the two warring houses by his marriage with Elizabeth of York, effectively ending the civil war while founding the Tudor dynasty; but to many, he remained an usurper and a false king. His story is rich with treachery, intrigue, and ruthlessness, while he was a capable monarch.
Louis VI was a warrior king, but at the end of his reign, his weight had become so great that it had become difficult for him to lead in the field - hence his nickname "The Fat". He was a strong and competent ruler, who managed to considerably reinforce his power in the kingdom, and largely contributed to the subsequent centralization of authority in France. Learn about his soar to power, his struggles with the "robber barons", and his successes in alliances and coalitions.
Louis-Charles Bourbon, or the Dauphin, never actually reigned, but became either a symbol of martyrdom or the object of one of the most successful acts of substitution ever performed. He enjoyed a charmed early childhood in the palace of Versailles, as the heir of the most powerful throne in Europe; when the French Revolution unfolded in all its horror, his family was incarcerated, and the orphaned boy-King had to endure the hostility and abuse of a nation.
At the climax of the French Revolution, King Louis XVI was executed by guillotine. When the young Louis XVII, Louis XVI's son, died in prison in June 1795, Louis XVIII succeeded his nephew as titular King. His reign was marked by exile, first because of the Revolution, and then of Napoleon, who set to conquer Europe and become Emperor of the French - before a coalition defeated him and restored Louis XVIII to the throne.
Louis Philippe (1773-1850) is France's first "constitutional monarch", having being properly elected by the National Assembly. He lived through the French Revolution, during which he saw his brother and sister-in-law, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, guillotined by extreme revolutionaries. Then, Napoleon Bonaparte seized the throne, declared himself emperor, and began the conquest of Europe; after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, France welcomed Louis Philippe back as an elected King.
Henry IV of France, also known as the "Good King Henry", was King of France from 1589 to 1610. Born a Catholic but raised a Protestant, he barely escaped assassination in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, and later led Protestant forces against the royal army, before being called to the French succession upon the death of his cousin Henry III.
Understand a crucial part of the history of French monarchy, with this collection of portraits of some of the most spectacular rulers of France. This catalog lists the kings named Louis, from Louis XIII the Just who stood up against political intrigues, to Louis XVIII who reigned during the Restauration of the French Monarchy after the fall of Emperor Napoleon. For each one of these Kings, you will find a detailed description of the style of his reign and his political achievements.