A Royal Passion: The Turbulent Marriage of King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France

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9780393060799: A Royal Passion: The Turbulent Marriage of King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France
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A royal marriage, based on romantic passion and ferocious, unbridgeable religious differences, ends in tragedy―a history worthy of Shakespeare.

It was, from the start, a dangerous experiment. Charles I of England was a Protestant, the fifteen-year-old French princess a Catholic. The marriage was arranged for political purposes, and it seemed a mismatch of personalities. But against the odds, the reserved king and his naively vivacious bride fell passionately in love, and for ten years England enjoyed an era of peace and prosperity.

When Charles became involved in war with Puritan Scotland, popular hatred of Henrietta’s Catholicism roused Parliament to fury. As the opposition party embraced new values of liberty and republicanism―the blueprint for the American War of Independence and the French Revolution―Charles’s fears for his wife’s safety drove him into a civil war that would cost him his crown and his head.

Rejecting centuries of hostile historical tradition, prize-winning biographer Katie Whitaker uses a host of original sources―including many unpublished manuscripts and letters―to create an intimate portrait of a remarkable marriage. 16 pages of illustrations

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About the Author:

Katie Whitaker is the author of Mad Madge, winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. She lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two children.

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Stories of royal romance ordinarily involve kings and their acknowledged and shown-off mistresses or queens and their kept-secret male lovers. But occasionally popular historians enjoy bringing to the fore one of those uncommon arranged royal marriages that blossom into true romance. Such is the case with this biographer and her subject: the marriage of the ill-fated Charles I of England (executed in 1649, upon the termination of a civil war between monarch and Parliament) and the wife who brought a much-needed national alliance, Henrietta Maria, a princess of the French royal house. Whitaker pursues a more nuanced understanding of the royal pair as she chronicles a marriage that, granted, got off to a rocky start but definitely evolved into a love affair. She sees Charles less as the cold, arrogant, passive-aggressive person of historical reputation and more as a man who never faltered from his mission to uphold the religious and political principles in which he truly believed. The queen here is not a husband-domineering shrew but a woman of courage and drive. For good readers of European history and biography. --Brad Hooper

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