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 livessome 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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(280mm x 216mm x 25mm)
University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
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US Kirkus Review »
A most handsome volume, demi-tasse rather than coffee-table scale, decorated with a sizable collection of black-and-white and color illustrations and some elegant plates complementing J. P. Brook-Little's exegeses on royal heraldry. Along with those essential genealogical tables and maps, Lady Fraser has assembled a group of historians to cover the various houses: John Gallingham (Norman and Angevin); Peter Earle (Plantagenet); Anthony Cheetham (Lancaster and York); Neville Williams (Tudor); Maurice Ashley (Stuart); John Clarke (Hanover); Jasper Ridley (Victoria and Edward VII) and Richard Luckett (Windsor). In her introductory defense of the project, Lady Fraser asserts that "the personalities and peculiar characteristics of various sovereigns played at least some part in the shaping of events" and further muses on the specificity of biography which avoids untoward prediction or abstraction. Her contributors share Fraser's enthusiasm, and although specialists are often tempted to scholarly axe-grinding, these are precise and carefully balanced portraits of rulers and their times. It is left to the editor to point out some very contemporary "lessons to be learnt." For the English monarchs shelf - the definitive staple, for years to come. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Antonia Fraser
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).