Scotland has been torn apart by civil war, and the young and passionate Catholic Mary Queen of Scots is in the hands of her enemies. Under duress, Mary abdicates in favour of her son, James VI, and flees to England for safety, boldly seeking refuge with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. But Elizabeth has never trusted the ambitious Catholic queen and has Mary imprisoned.
"And Her Soul Yearned to be Free"
One of history's most complex and alluring women, Anne Boleyn was irresistible to kings and commoners alike. Daughter of an ambitious country lord, Anne was sent to France to marry well and raise the family's fortunes. She soon surpassed even their greatest expectations when King Henry VIII swore he would put aside his loyal queen to make Anne his wife.
"Lady in the tower. I loved it."
When William X dies, the duchy of Aquitaine is left to his 15-year-old daughter, Eleanor. But such a position for an unmarried woman puts the whole kingdom at risk. So on his deathbed William made a will that would ensure his daughter’s protection: he promised her hand in marriage to the future King of France. Eleanor grows into a romantic and beautiful queen, but she has inherited the will of a king, determined to rule Aquitaine using her husband’s power as King of France. Her
Victoria and Albert have been destined for one another since birth. However, the passive Albert is well aware that marriage to a quick-tempered, demonstrative woman like Victoria could result in unnecessary scenes and stormy court feuds. And he is right. The young queen, as well as having to endure her constant pregnancies, is in perpetual revolt against anyone encroaching on her position – and Albert is doing just that. Despite attempts on her life and political crises
On the morning of 20 June 1837, an 18-year-old girl is called from her bed to be told that she is Queen of England. The young queen’s first few years are beset with court scandal and malicious gossip: There is the unsavoury Flora Hastings affair, a source of extreme embarrassment to the queen; the eternal conflict between Victoria and her mother; and the young queen’s hatred for Sir John Conroy, her mother’s close friend. Then there is the Prime Minster, Lord Melbourne - "Lord M" - worldly cynic and constant companion to the queen, himself a veteran of many a latter-day scandal.
At just six days old, Mary Stuart became Queen of Scots. At just six years old, she was betrothed to the Dauphin Francois, the future King of France. Reluctantly leaving Scotland, Mary is raised in the decadent French court in preparation for becoming the Queen of France. But her reign with Francois is short-lived. Widowed at 18 years old, Mary is once again forced to leave her home to return to Scotland. Now a Catholic queen in a Protestant country, Mary must rule with caution and choose her next husband prudently.
"Really Enjoyed it"
Albert is dead and the queen is preparing to spend the rest of her life in mourning. Yet the last years of her reign are to be momentous ones. Palmerston, then Gladstone and Disraeli, govern her empire through the high noon of its heyday. However, the court at Windsor, Balmoral, Osborne at Buckingham Palace is perpetually shocked by the actions of the queen’s son, the Prince of Wales. Forever in pursuit of horses, women and scandal, this is the heady harbinger of Edwardian years to come.
The young Princess Victoria, strictly confined within the boundaries of Kensington Palace, is being moulded for her awesome future as Queen of England. Surrounded by her dolls and closely guarded by her domineering mother and faithful governess, she slowly becomes aware of the bitter conflicts that surround her. The jealous and scheming Duke of Cumberland is a constant threat to her rightful accession …her mother’s sinister friend, Sir John Conroy, makes her uneasy … and the bickering between her mother and the king seems never-ending.
At just 18, Lucrezia Borgia, the alluring daughter of the Pope, has already had her life touched by dishonour and tragic loss. In the decadent society of 15th-century Rome, violence is commonplace and scandal is never far from the infamous Borgia family. In the aftermath of her brother Giovanni’s brutal murder, Lucrezia knows she must build a life for herself if she is to break away from the corrupt world her family is tied to.
Reckoned by those about him to be the most handsome man in the country, Edward IV has risen to the throne with the help of Warwick, the kingmaker. But even Warwick’s trusted advice cannot convince the king to ignore his passion for the beautiful widow Elizabeth Woodville – and when she refuses to become his mistress the two are married. Beloved of the people, Edward proves himself to be a strong king. Despite his mistresses, Elizabeth is loyal to the illustrious king, provding him with many children....
The 12-year marriage of Henry and Katharine has declined from an idyllic union into an uneasy stalemate. The king's love for his aging queen has grown cold, and he is angry with her failure to give him the heir to the throne he desperately wants. When the seductive Anne Boleyn arrives at court, the king is captivated by her dark beauty and bold spirit and becomes obsessed by the desire to possess her.
"Not much of a secret"
The marriage of Katharine of Aragon and King Henry VIII was a right royal match. England loved the young lovers, but hardly were they wed when powerful people in Henry's court were spinning webs of intrigue around the innocent royal pair. Spanish spies, the Pope's men, the Queen's seductive ladies-in-waiting, and especially the King's brilliant advisor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, all were obsessed with one question: Would Queen Katharine be able to give Henry the healthy son he so desperately wanted?
"It looms over her"
In the eyes of the world, Katharine of Aragon was a precious object to be disposed of for the glory of Spain. Her parents, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, sent her to England to become the bride of Arthur, Prince of Wales. But soon her frail husband was dead, and a fateful question loomed: was the marriage consummated, or was the young widow still a virgin?
"Long and Oriental"
When Henry VI becomes king, it is soon clear that he would be more suited to a quiet life. Richard, Duke of York, is convinced that he would make a better king and has more right to the crown. But Margaret of Anjou, Henry’s new French wife, is a formidable woman who is just as determined to keep Henry on the throne. Most powerful of all is the Earl of Warwick, and with his support of Richard of York the War of the Roses begins.
On the death of Henry V, a nine-month-old baby is made King of England. Ambitious men surround the baby king, including his two uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester. In Lancastrian England and war-torn France, there are three women whose lives are to have a marked effect on the future. Katherine de Valois, haunted by an unhappy childhood, finds love in an unexpected quarter and founds the Tudor dynasty; Joan of Arc leaves her village pastures on the command of heavenly voices; and Eleanor of Gloucester is drawn into a murder plot and becomes the centre of a cause celebre.
Edward the Second has been barbarously murdered in Berkeley Castle on the orders of his wife Queen Isabella and her lover, and 15-year-old Edward the Third is now king. Young Edward has already fallen in love with Philippa of Hainault and, to prevent him enquiring into the details of his father’s death, Isabella allows the marriage to take place. While some suggest that Edward has a claim on the French throne, he is reluctant to pursue it.
Edward II's first act on coming to the throne is to recall Piers Gaveston from exile, and the new king's devotion to the shrewd and avaricious young man soon becomes a scandal. It is assumed that when Edward marries one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe his inclinations will change, but nothing can make him swerve from his attachment to Gaveston, who is clearly making the most of royal favour. The new Queen Isabella, accustomed to adulation, is bitterly humiliated; and she is not a woman to forget.
The news of Henry III's death reached his son Edward on the long road home from the Holy Land. Now he was England's king and a man fit for his destiny. Through all the years of his reign, through stark personal tragedy and chill forebodings as his son grew into a weak, corrupted price, Edward I strove to weld a nation united from England, Scotland and Wales.
The first half of the 13th century is dominated by two women, as proud and ambitious as they are beautiful, yet different in all other ways. Isabella is a medieval Helen of Troy, flamboyant and passionate - wife to King John and mother to Henry III. Blanche of Castile, serene and virtuous, is Queen of France, wife of Louis VIII and mother of Louis IX. The two women hated each other on sight. Isabella will stop at nothing, not even murder, in her passion to destroy the French queen.
"I regret buying this audiobook"
Marguerite, eldest daughter of the Count of Provence, married a king of France - and now her sister Eleanor is determined to make just as grand a match. Good fortune and wily cunning bring her Henry of England. He is a good and generous husband, but a weak king. He rules a nation that still remembers his cruel and foolish father, King John. As Henry showers gifts on his new bride, his extravagance forces him to levy ever-greater taxation on the land, and the spectre of a revolt soon looms against him.