From the pen of legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy comes an unforgettable true story of royalty, passion, and innocence lost.
Born into an impoverished branch of the noble Howard family, young Katherine is plucked from her home to live with her grandmother, the Duchess of Norfolk. The innocent girl quickly learns that her grandmother’s puritanism is not shared by Katherine’s free-spirited cousins, with whom she lives. Beautiful and impressionable, Katherine becomes involved in two ill-fated love affairs before her sixteenth birthday. Like her cousin Anne Boleyn, she leaves her grandmother’s home to become a lady-in-waiting at the court of Henry VIII. The royal palaces are exciting to a young girl from the country, and Katherine finds that her duties there allow her to be near her handsome cousin, Thomas Culpepper, whom she has loved since childhood.
But when Katherine catches the eye of the aging and unhappily married king, she is forced to abandon her plans for a life with Thomas and marry King Henry. Overwhelmed by the change in her fortunes, bewildered and flattered by the adoration of her husband, Katherine is dazzled by the royal life. But her bliss is short-lived as rumors of her wayward past come back to haunt her, and Katherine’s destiny takes another, deadly, turn.
On the road to greatness, one young woman must make an unthinkable choice.
For Princess Mary, life has never been simple, but through it all the love of her father, the Duke of York, has been a constant and reliable comfort. Despite his own loyalty to the Catholic Church, the Duke and his brother, King Charles II, raised Mary as a Protestant to protect her in a time of religious and political upheaval. In order to cement this safety and to ensure the stability of the family line, at age fifteen, Mary is married to her Protestant first cousin William, Prince of Orange.
However, in post-Restoration England, matters are rarely so simply settled. When Mary’s uncle, King Charles II, dies suddenly and without an heir, her beloved father is crowned James II. But a Catholic king is not the will of the people, and even Mary’s own husband is crying out for change. Can Mary take part in actions that will ultimately remove her own father from the throne and endanger his life? With family loyalty and the will of a nation at odds, what choice can a young princess make?
With emotional clarity and vivid historical detail, beloved author Jean Plaidy brings us into the court and behind the scenes as history unfolds—and the young princess and her groom become William and Mary—the legendary monarchs, and the only co-regents in the history of a nation.
Charles II is restored to the English throne, and his court is lively and even scandalous. The country is eager for succession to be clear and certain: The next king will be the son of Charles II and his queen, Catherine of Braganza. Yet Catherine, daughter of the king of Portugal and a Catholic, has never been popular with the English people. She is also having great difficulty conceiving an heir, even as many of Charles’s well-known mistresses are bearing his children with ease. Catherine is aware that courtiers close to Charles are asking him to divorce her and take another wife—yet she is determined to hold her title in the face of all odds.
The ninth novel in the beloved Queens of England series, The Merry Monarch’s Wife brings Catherine of Braganza to life and plunges readers into the tumultuous world of Restoration England.
In 1470, a reluctant Lady Anne Neville is betrothed by her father, the politically ambitious Earl of Warwick, to Edward, Prince of Wales. A gentle yet fiercely intelligent woman, Anne has already given her heart to the prince’s younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Unable to oppose her father’s will, she finds herself in line for the throne of England—an obligation that she does not want. Yet fate intervenes when Edward is killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Anne suddenly finds herself free to marry the man she loves—and who loves her in return. The ceremony is held at Westminster Abbey, and the duke and duchess make a happy home at Middleham Castle, where both spent much of their childhood. Their life is idyllic, until the reigning king dies and a whirlwind of dynastic maneuvering leads to his children being declared illegitimate. Richard inherits the throne as King Richard III, and Anne is crowned queen consort, a destiny she thought she had successfully avoided. Her husband’s reign lasts two years, two months, and two days—and in that short time Anne witnesses the true toll that wearing the crown takes on Richard, the last king from the House of York.
Katherine of Valois was born a princess, the daughter of King Charles VI of France. But by the time Katherine was old enough to know him, her father had come to be called “Charles the Mad,” given to unpredictable fits of insanity. The young princess lived a secluded life, awaiting her father’s sane moments and suffering through the mad ones, as her mother took up with her uncle and their futures became more and more uncertain. Katherine’s fortunes appeared to be changing when, at nineteen, she was married to King Henry V of England. Within two years, she gave birth to an heir—but her happiness was fleeting. Soon after the birth of her son, she lost her husband to an illness.
With Joan of Arc inciting the French to overthrow English rule, Katherine’s loyalty to her adopted homeland of England became a matter of intense suspicion. Katherine had brought her dowry and borne her heir; what use was she to England? It was decreed that she would live out her remaining years alone, far from the seat of power. But no one, not even Katherine herself, could have anticipated that she would fall in love with and secretly marry one of her guardians, Owen Tudor—or that a generation later, their grandson would become the first king of the great Tudor dynasty.
As Henry VIII’s only child, the future seemed golden for Princess Mary. She was the daughter of Henry’s first queen, Katharine of Aragon, and was heir presumptive to the throne of England. Red-haired like her father, she was also intelligent and deeply religious like her staunchly Catholic mother. But her father’s ill-fated love for Anne Boleyn would shatter Mary’s life forever. The father who had once adored her was now intent on having a male heir at all costs. He divorced her mother and, at the age of twelve, Mary was banished from her father’s presence, stripped of her royal title, and replaced by his other children–first Elizabeth, then Edward. Worst of all, she never saw her beloved mother again; Katharine was exiled too, and died soon after. Lonely and miserable, Mary turned for comfort to the religion that had sustained her mother.
In a stroke of fate, however, Henry’s much-longed-for son died in his teens, leaving Mary the legitimate heir to the throne. It was, she felt, a sign from God–proof that England should return to the Catholic Church. Swayed by fanatical advisors and her own religious fervor, Mary made horrific examples of those who failed to embrace the Church, earning her the immortal nickname "Bloody Mary." She was married only once, to her Spanish cousin Philip II–a loveless and childless marriage that brought her to the edge of madness.
With In the Shadow of the Crown, Jean Plaidy brings to life the dark story of a queen whose road to the throne was paved with sorrow.
When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me—my triumphs and most of my misfortunes—was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal—and in many ways their superior—but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner—an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was revered for her superior intellect, extraordinary courage, and fierce loyalty. She was equally famous for her turbulent relationships, which included marriages to the kings of both France and England.
As a child, Eleanor reveled in her beloved grandfather’s Courts of Love, where troubadours sang of romantic devotion and passion filled the air. In 1137, at the age of fifteen, Eleanor became Duchess of Aquitaine, the richest province in Europe. A union with Louis VII allowed her to ascend the French throne, yet he was a tepid and possessive man and no match for a young woman raised in the Courts of Love. When Eleanor met the magnetic Henry II, the first Plantagenet King of England, their stormy pairing set great change in motion—and produced many sons and daughters, two of whom would one day reign in their own right.
In this majestic and sweeping story, set against a backdrop of medieval politics, intrigue, and strife, Jean Plaidy weaves a tapestry of love, passion, betrayal, and heartbreak—and reveals the life of a most remarkable woman whose iron will and political savvy enabled her to hold her own against the most powerful men of her time.
One of history’s most complex and alluring women comes to life in this classic novel by the legendary Jean Plaidy.
Young Anne Boleyn was not beautiful but she was irresistible, capturing the hearts of kings and commoners alike. Daughter of an ambitious country lord, Anne was sent to France to learn sophistication, and then to court to marry well and raise the family’s fortunes. She soon surpassed even their greatest expectations. Although his queen was loving and loyal, King Henry VIII swore he would put her aside and make Anne his wife. And so he did, though the divorce would tear apart the English church and inflict religious turmoil and bloodshed on his people for generations to come.
Loathed by the English people, who called her “the King’s Great Whore,” Anne Boleyn was soon caught in the trap of her own ambition. Political rivals surrounded her at court and, when she failed to produce a much-desired male heir, they closed in, preying on the king’s well-known insecurity and volatile temper. Wrongfully accused of adultery and incest, Anne found herself imprisoned in the Tower of London, where she was at the mercy of her husband and of her enemies.
In this unforgettable novel of Queen Victoria, Jean Plaidy re-creates a remarkable life filled with romance, triumph, and tragedy.
At birth, Princess Victoria was fourth in line for the throne of England, the often-overlooked daughter of a prince who died shortly after her birth. She and her mother lived in genteel poverty for most of her childhood, exiled from court because of her mother’s dislike of her uncles, George IV and William IV. A strong, willful child, Victoria was determined not to be stifled by her powerful uncles or her unpopular, controlling mother. Then one morning, at the age of eighteen, Princess Victoria awoke to the news of her uncle William’s death. The almost-forgotten princess was now Queen of England. Even better, she was finally free of her mother’s iron hand and her uncles’ manipulations. Her first act as queen was to demand that she be given a room—and a bed—of her own.
Victoria’s marriage to her German cousin, Prince Albert, was a blissfully happy one that produced nine children. Albert was her constant companion and one of her most trusted advisors. Victoria’s grief after Prince Albert’s untimely death was so shattering that for the rest of her life—nearly forty years—she dressed only in black. She survived several assassination attempts, and during her reign England’s empire expanded around the globe until it touched every continent in the world.
Derided as a mere “girl queen” at her coronation, by the end of her sixty-four-year reign, Victoria embodied the glory of the British Empire. In this novel, written as a “memoir” by Victoria herself, she emerges as truthful, sentimental, and essentially human—both a lovable woman and a great queen.
In this "memoir" by Elizabeth I, legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy reveals the Virgin Queen as she truly was: the bewildered, motherless child of an all-powerful father; a captive in the Tower of London; a shrewd politician; a lover of the arts; and eventually, an icon of an era. It is the story of her improbable rise to power and the great triumphs of her reign–the end of religious bloodshed, the settling of the New World, the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Brilliantly clever, a scholar with a ready wit, she was also vain, bold, and unpredictable, a queen who commanded–and won–absolute loyalty from those around her.
But in these pages, in her own voice, Elizabeth also recounts the emotional turmoil of her life: the loneliness of power; the heartbreak of her lifelong love affair with Robert Dudley, whom she could never marry; and the terrible guilt of ordering the execution of her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. In this unforgettable novel, Elizabeth emerges as one of the most fascinating and controversial women in history, and as England’s greatest monarch.
The daughter of Henry IV of France, Princess Henrietta Maria, becomes a pawn in a political strategy to stabilize relations between two countries when her father marries her to Charles I of England. Sent abroad, she finds herself living in a Protestant country that views her own faith—Catholicism—with deep suspicion.
Yet her new husband is a man of principle and integrity, and Henrietta and Charles fall deeply in love. Henrietta is passionate about her faith, however, and soon politically powerful people, namely Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans, turn her loyalty to her religion into a focal point for civil war. As the royal couple watch the fall of Thomas Wentworth, first Earl of Strafford, the rise of Puritanism, and Englishmen fight Englishmen, they are undeterred in their dedication to each other and in their belief in the divine rights of king and queen—even as spies lurk in their very own household.
Loyal in Love offers an inside look at an unforgettable time in England’s history and at the life of a queen whose story of devotion and bravery has gone untold for too long.