Seven years ago, I woke up extra early, brewed several cups of strong tea, and watched the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. On May 19, I plan on doing the same for the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. If you’re also a fan of history, you’re probably wondering about the countless royal marriages that have preceded this one. Check out the following novels and nonfiction books dedicated to exploring some of the most celebrated, passionate, and complex marriages throughout royal world history.
As one of the most famous royal marriages in history, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's mutually adoring relationship makes for an engrossing, problematic, and, at times, tragic story. Gillian Gill opens our eyes to the complexities behind the relationship between two profoundly determined and authoritative people.
It was the most influential marriage of the nineteenth century–and one of history’ s most enduring love stories. Traditional biographies tell us that Queen Victoria inherited the throne as a naïve teenager, when the British Empire was at the height of its power, and seemed doomed to find failure as a monarch and misery as a woman until she married her German cousin Albert and accepted him as her lord and master. Now renowned chronicler Gillian Gill turns this familiar story on its head, revealing a strong, feisty queen and a brilliant, fragile prince working together to build a family based on support, trust, and fidelity, qualities neither had seen much of as children. The love affair that emerges is far more captivating, complex, and relevant than that depicted in any previous account.
In this fascinating Cinderella-esque true story, a young French woman of low standing uses her wit and charm to embark on an atmospheric rise in social standing—all the way to marrying France's Sun King. Bringing the opulent and decadent world of seventeenth-century France to vivid life, this biography chronicles a remarkable yet often overlooked woman.
A romance steeped in legend, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA depicts the ups and downs, political intrigue, and quest for power that epitomized the relationship between the two iconic leaders. With her in-depth knowledge of ancient history, the late Colleen McCullough crafted a breathtaking novel of the last days of the Roman Republic.
The second of an epic trilogy about the life of Empress Joséphine—wife of Napoléon Bonaparte—TALES OF PASSION, TALES OF WOE follows her as she struggles to balance the responsibilities of being empress, survive amongst the Bonaparte family, and make sense of the bloody battles her husband wages. This eloquent and moving novel pulls back the curtain on a famously passionate and tumultuous marriage.
As a seemingly storybook tale that ended in shocking violence, the fall of the Romanov Dynasty continues to haunt readers. With compulsively readable prose, NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA is a behind-the-scenes look at a family—headed by two loving yet flawed people—in the midst of revolution in their empire and personal turmoil in their lives. It was written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of several outstanding books on Russian history.
In this commanding book, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté, Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history—the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.
When an ordinary young woman marries into the Japanese royal family, she struggles to prove herself not only to the people of Japan but to her suspicious in-laws as well. With evocative, poignant, and moving prose, John Burnham Schwartz effortlessly demonstrates, through the lens of postwar Japan, the profound difficulties of adjusting to a life of constant scrutiny and isolation.
Based on the life of Japan’s Empress Michiko, THE COMMONER explores the truth behind the fairy tale of a commoner marrying into the Japanese imperial family. A tale of love, duty, isolation, tragedy, and prejudice, this moving novel examines the awesome highs and incredible lows of modern royalty, especially for the women who marry into it.
In the history of Europe, there hasn't been a matchmaker with influence as far-reaching as Queen Victoria. Read the insightful, engaging, and colorful QUEEN VICTORIA'S MATCHMAKING, and you will discover how she arranged the marriages of her grandchildren (she had more than 30), and that these marriages were an effort to expand her own royal legacy—done without regard for personal feelings or whether the matches might end in disaster.