A myth-busting biography of Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, which retells the dramatic story of the civil war from her perspective
A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEARSHORTLISTED FOR THE ELIZABETH LONGFORD PRIZE
Henrietta Maria, Charles I's queen, is the most reviled consort in British history. Condemned as the 'Popish brat of France' and a 'notorious whore', she remains in popular memory the woman who turned the king Catholic - so causing a civil war - and a cruel and bigoted mother. Leanda de Lisle unpicks these myths to reveal a very different queen.
We meet a new bride who enjoyed annoying her uptight husband, who was a passionate advocate for the female voice in public affairs and who, when civil war came, proved crucial to Charles's campaign. The image of the Restoration queen as an irrelevant crone is replaced with Henrietta Maria as an influential 'phoenix queen'. It is time to look again at this despised queen and judge if she is not in fact one of our most remarkable.