A Spencer Love Affair: Eighteen Century Theatricals at Blenheim Palace


Alfred: Queen Victoria’s Second Son


Anna Amalia, Grand-Duchess: Patron of Goethe and Schiller


Edward IV: From Contemporary Chronicles, Letters & Records


Jasper: The Tudor Kingmaker


Kaiser Bill: A New Look at Imperial Germany's Last Emperor, Wilhelm II 1859-1941


Richard III: From Contemporary Chronicles, Letters and Records


The Prussian Princesses: The Sisters of Kaiser Wilhelm II


William Shakespeare, the Wars of the Roses and the Historians


Knight Errant: Lord Craven and the Court of the Winter Queen


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A Spencer Love Affair: Eighteen Century Theatricals at Blenheim Palace

Product no.: 978-1-78155-352-7
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A Spencer Love Affair: Eighteen Century Theatricals at Blenheim Palace is the true story of the love affair and marriage between the 4th Duke of Marlborough's favourite daughter Lady Charlotte Spencer and an Oxford Vicar, the Reverend Edward Nares. After their marriage in 1795 Lady Charlotte was banished from Blenheim Palace by her parents, never to return home. The affair stemmed from their acting together in the private theatricals performed at Blenheim's newly-created private theatre during 1785-1789, the year of the French Revolution.

The fashion for creating private theatres originated in France with Voltaire. In England it became fashionable amongst the aristocracy, gentry and clergy in the second half of the eighteen century. This included the Austen family at Steventon Vicarage where Jane Austen's family created their own private theatre, not in a palace but a barn. Later in life, Jane Austen was to include her childhood memories of these theatricals in her novel Mansfield Park. It was as Austen described, that these private theatricals led to dangerous intimacies amongst the actors, and this certainly seems to have been the case in the love affair between Revd. Edward Nares and Lady Charlotte Spencer.

THE AUTHOR

Allan Ledger is a historian with a particular interest in 18th Century society. He lives in Ascott-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire.

FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: hardback
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 31 colour ills.

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Alfred: Queen Victoria’s Second Son

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Prince Alfred, who was created Duke of Edinburgh in 1866 and became Duke of Saxe-Coburg Gotha in 1893, was the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A patron of the arts, pioneer philatelist and amateur violinist, he joined the Royal Navy as a boy and rose to become Admiral of the Fleet. At the age of eighteen, he was elected King of Greece by overwhelming popular vote in a plebiscite, although political agreements between the great powers of Europe prevented him from accepting the vacant crown. The most widely travelled member of his family, he had visited all five continents by the age of twenty-seven and while on a tour of Australia in 1868, he narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of a Fenian sympathiser.

Married to Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, the only surviving daughter of Tsar Alexander II, at one stage he had to face the possibility that he might be required to fight on behalf of the British Empire against that of his father-in-law. His last years were overshadowed by marital difficulties, alcoholism and ill-health, and the suicide of his only son and heir.

THE AUTHOR

John Van der Kiste has published over forty books including works on royal and historical biography, local history, true crime, music and fiction, and is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His previous titles include Queen Victoria’s Children, Kaiser Wilhelm II and The Romanovs: Tsar Alexander II of Russia and his Family. He lives in Devon.

FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: paperback
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 70 b/w photographs and illustrations

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Anna Amalia, Grand-Duchess: Patron of Goethe and Schiller

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In 1756, Anna Amalia, the nineteen-year-old princess of the House of Brunswick was married to Constantine, the young duke of the minor duchy of Saxe-Weimar- Eisenach. She bore Constantine two sons, but only three years after their marriage he died, leaving the young and inexperienced girl as regent.

Anna Amalia battled against court intrigues and financial pressures, but succeeded in holding the estates together for her eldest son, Karl August. Through times of famine and distress she succeeded in building a centre of culture and of excellence, encouraging men of letters and learning to her tiny court.

In 1775 Wolfgang Goethe joined the circle at Weimar, brought about through his friendship with the young Karl August, Anna’s son, recently become the reigning duke. Goethe soon entered into the dowager duchess’s literary circle and through their combined efforts, Weimar became a beacon of culture and one of the leading centres of the sentimentalist movement that became renowned throughout Europe as a literary and artistic grouping that emerged in response to the crisis of Enlightenment rationalism. In Weimar it took the form of Sturm und Drang, [storm and stress] which was intimately associated Goethe and Schiller. While a student at Strasbourg, Goethe had made the acquaintance of Johann Gottfried von Herder, another of Anna Amalia’s Weimar coterie, famous for his novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774); [The Sorrows of Young Werther], which epitomized the spirit of the movement, and which made him world famous, inspiring a host of imitators.

Through the crisis of wars Anna’s circle held together -- even through Napoleon’s unwelcome entrance to Weimar in 1806. Anna finally bowed to the world in the following year, after reigning supreme as Germany’s cultural ambassadress for a period of more than thirty years. 

THE AUTHOR

Frances A. Gerard was the pen-name of Geraldine Fitzgerald. She wrote numerous works including: Some Celebrated Irish Beauties of the Last Century, 1895; Some Fair Hibernians, being a supplementary volume to Some Celebrated Irish Beauties of the Last Century; Angelica Kauffmann: A Biography, 1893; The Romance of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, 1901 and Wagner Bayreuth And The Festival Plays, 1901. These, in addition to Anna Amalia, which was published in 1902 and which appears to have been her last work. She also translated Black Diamonds by Hungarian novelist Mór Jókai, (1825- 1904), which was published in English in 1896.

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Edward IV: From Contemporary Chronicles, Letters & Records

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Edward IV (king from 1461–83), so often overshadowed by his younger brother and eventual successor Richard III is a controversial figure in his own right. Was he a lazy and licentious lightweight who much preferred his mistresses to his minsters and had little taste for the arduous day-to-day business of government? Or was he, rather, a wise and successful monarch who laid the foundations for over a century of Tudor rule?

This documentary study by the author of Richard III in the same series, presents contemporary and near-contemporary sources for Edward IV and his reign, enabling the reader to appreciate why the king's reputation has fluctuated so markedly, and provides and indispensible compendium for all who wish to enter the political world of Yorkist England.

THE AUTHOR

Keith Dockray was formerly a senior lecturer in medieval history and early modern history at the University of Huddersfield. He has written extensively on 15th century history and appeared in numerous television documentaries including the Channel 4 'courtroom' programme Trial of Richard III.

FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: paperback
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 26 b/w illustrations

 

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Jasper: The Tudor Kingmaker

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Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, Duke of Bedford, brother and uncle of kings, was a central figure in the Wars of the Roses, and the Lancastrian claimant during the reign of Edward IV. The second son of Owen Tudor and the widowed queen Katherine of Valois, he was the half-brother of Henry VI, who gave him a prominent role at court. As one of England’s major nobles and a potential successor to Henry, he was seen as a threat by Yorkists.

He took part in the major battles of the war, leading the Lancastrian forces at Mortimer’s Cross and Tewkesbury. The tempestuous politics in England meant that he had to spend time in exile in Brittany, taking his nephew, Henry, with him. Under Jasper’s influence, Henry prospered and returned to England to defeat Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, leading to the establishment of the Tudor dynasty. Despite his important place in history, Jasper has become the forgotten kingmaker, neglected by historians. This book is the first full academic study of him, drawing upon contemporary sources from England, Wales and France, and the wider historiography to present a detailed and superbly-researched biography.

THE AUTHOR

Sara Elin Roberts is a medieval historian, specializing in the history and literature of medieval Wales. A native of Anglesey, she grew up just a few miles from the ancestral home of the Tudor dynasty. A graduate of Bangor and Oxford Universities, she now lectures on medieval history at the University of Chester. In addition to her many publications for academic and general audiences, she has made regular appearances on television and radio, including the BBC series The Story of Wales.

FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: hardback
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 30 b/w illustrations

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Kaiser Bill: A New Look at Imperial Germany's Last Emperor, Wilhelm II 1859-1941

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Wilhelm II (27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was the eldest grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, three notable contemporary relations being his first cousins King George V of the United Kingdom, Marie of Romania, Queen consort of Romania and second cousin to Tsar Nicholas II of the House of Romanov, the last ruler of the Russian Empire before the Russian Revolution of 1917 which deposed the monarchy.

He became monarch in 1888 and ruled in peace for twenty-five years. Wilhelm’s father had been the hero of three wars and his mother the Princess Royal of Great Britain. When his father died prematurely of throat cancer, Wilhelm succeeded him at age twenty-nine and became the icon of the new ‘Wilhelminian’ age. Germany excelled in commerce, agriculture, trade, science, cars, the arts, and medicine. Already having Continental Europe’s greatest army, Wilhelm set about winning world power via overseas colonies and the building of a vast Imperial High Seas Fleet that rivalled Britain’s.

Eventually, he was defeated by the combined forces of the UK, US, France and Russia, and driven into exile by the red revolution. He remained politically active in exile, pressing for a return to the monarchy up to the time of his death in 1941. This is a fresh look at a much maligned figure, including his relationships with Bismarck, Hindenburg, Tirpitz, King Edward VII and Tsar Nicholas II, all on the precipice of global change. Was Wilhelm a visionary, a fool, or both?

THE AUTHOR

Blaine Taylor is an American author of eleven histories on war, politics, cars, biography, engineering, architecture, medicine, photography and aviation. The well-read historian is a former Vietnam War soldier and military policeman under enemy fire; political and crime newspaper reporter; award-winning medical journalist; international magazine writer; winner of four political campaigns as a press secretary; and a US Congressional aide on Capitol Hill, Washington, in 1991 to 1992.

FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: hardback
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 60 b/w photographs

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Richard III: From Contemporary Chronicles, Letters and Records

Product no.: 978-1-78155-313-8
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No English king has suffered wider fluctuations of reputation than Richard III, perhaps the most controversial ruler England has ever had. Vilified by critics as a ruthless master of intrigue and a callous murderer, he has been no less extravagantly praised by defenders of his reputation against Tudor and Shakespearian charges of tyranny.

Richard III: From Contemporary Chronicles, Letters and Records, by its presentation of contemporary and near contemporary sources, enables the reader to get behind the mythology and gain a more realistic picture of the king. An invaluable collection of the primary sources presented clearly and concisely, it demonstrates just why Richard has remained an enigma for so long. Established as an essential part of the literature on Richard III since its first publication under the title Richard III: A Reader in History, this new edition has been completely revised and considerably expanded to offer an indispensable source book for historians, students and the general reader. Also, this up to date edition includes a chapter in relation to the exciting discovery of Richard III’s skeleton that was found under a car park in Leicester.

The genesis of this book came from a summary guide produced by Keith Dockray for all of his second year undergraduate students. Upon this foundation has been built an accessible and enjoyable history of this fascinating king, as seen by those who knew him at the time.

THE AUTHORS

Keith Dockray was formerly a senior examiner in medieval history and early modern history at the University of Huddersfield.

Peter Hammond is a medieval historian and leading authority on the reign of Richard III. For thirty years, he was the research officer of the Richard III Society and is currently a vice president of the society. He is probably best known for his books The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury and Food and Feast in Medieval England. With Dr Anne Sutton, he wrote The Coronation of Richard III: The Extant Documents and Richard III: The Road to Bosworth Field. As an editor, he has compiled a new edition of Historic Doubts on the Life of Richard the Third by Horace Walpole. He has also written and contributed to many other books and magazines on medieval and local history.

FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: paperback
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 66 colour illustrations

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The Prussian Princesses: The Sisters of Kaiser Wilhelm II

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Kaiser Friedrich III and his consort Victoria, Princess Royal of Great Britain, had six children who lived to maturity, the eldest being Kaiser Wilhelm II. The three younger sisters, Victoria, Sophie and Margaret, were particularly supportive of their mother during her widowhood and remained close throughout their lives. Like their parents, they would know much sorrow as adults.

Victoria’s romance with Alexander of Battenberg, Prince of Bulgaria, was thwarted by Bismarck for political reasons and she married twice, firstly to a minor German prince and secondly to a young Russian adventurer who left her to die in poverty. Sophie married the future King Constantine of Greece, whose ill-starred reign saw them forced to leave their throne not once but twice, both dying in exile. Margaret married a prince of Hesse-Cassel, both became members of the Nazi party, and she lived to see her family and house become victims of theft on a major scale at the hands of occupying forces at the end of the Second World War.

Using previously unpublished sources, this is the first biography to tell the lives of all three princesses.

THE AUTHOR

John Van der Kiste has published over forty books including works on royal and historical biography, local history, true crime, music and fiction, and is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His previous titles include Queen Victoria’s Children, Kaiser Wilhelm II and The Romanovs: Tsar Alexander II of Russia and his Family and Alfred: Queen Victoria's Second Son for Fonthill . He lives in Devon.

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William Shakespeare, the Wars of the Roses and the Historians

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For historians of the Wars of the Roses, William Shakespeare is both a curse and a blessing: a curse because he immortalized the Tudor spin on fifteenth-century civil wars that helped justify Elizabeth I's occupation of the English throne; a blessing because, without Shakespeare's eight -play Plantagenet history cycle, hardly anyone beyond specialists in the history of the period would know of their existence. Moreover, no mere historian will ever paint a more compelling and dramatic picture of England's Lancastrian and Yorkist kings, and the Wars of the Roses, than William Shakespeare.

The book begins with an examination of the context, content and significance of each of the plays from Richard II to Richard III, and then considers the contemporary, near-contemporary and Tudor sources on which Shakespeare drew; how such authors chose to present fifteenth- century kings, politics and society; and in what ways historians since Shakespeare have sought to reinterpret the Wars of the Roses era. The book ends with a retrospective assessment of Shakespeare's Plantagenet plays, both in performance and as a result of their impact on historical writing.

The Plays: Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Henry V, Henry VI Parts1, 2 and 3 and Richard III.

THE AUTHOR

Keith Dockray was formerly a senior lecturer in medieval history and early modern history at the University of Huddersfield. He has written extensively on fifteenth-century history and appeared in numerous television documentaries including the Channel 4 'courtroom' programme Trial of Richard III.

FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: paperback
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 24 b/w illustrations

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Knight Errant: Lord Craven and the Court of the Winter Queen

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  • A fascinating portrait of the tragic Winter Queen, Elizabeth of Bohemia. Elizabeth (1596-1662), sister of Charles I, became Queen of Bohemia for one winter before being defeated in battle and fleeing into exile
  • The first biography of William, 1st Earl of Craven, a wealthy and generous supporter of Elizabeth who risked his life and spent a fortune in her cause 
  • A thoroughly researched and very readable account of Lord Craven’s dramatic life 
  • A tale of plots, intrigue, battles, court cases, family quarrels and architecture 

Elizabeth of Bohemia, known to some as the Winter Queen and to others as the Queen of Hearts, was one of those rare figures whose personality still fascinates us across the centuries. The daughter of James I, she combined charm and humour with courage in the face of adversity after she and her husband were driven from the throne of Bohemia. Of the many men who championed her cause, Lord Craven was the most faithful. Brave, wealthy, and supremely generous, this latter-day knight errant threw everything he could into his efforts to recapture the Palatinate for his heroine, risking his life and spending enormous sums in financing a military campaign. After all schemes had come to naught he came to live at Elizabeth’s threadbare court in the Hague, supporting her financially and befriending her talented but unruly family while giving discreet help to the royalists in the Civil War. His estates, confiscated by the Commonwealth, were returned at the Restoration, and he busied himself in planning fine houses for Elizabeth’s use on her return to England in 1661. Sadly she died the following year, but Ashdown House in Berkshire still remains as a poignant memorial to Craven’s single-minded devotion.

Knight Errant: Lord Craven and the Court of the Winter Queen is a compelling and exhaustively researched account of the public and private travails of the exiled queen and her faithful admirer.

THE AUTHOR

Robin Haig was born in 1959. Educated at Winchester College and St Andrews University, he graduated with an MA in Modern and Medieval History in 1982. He is the author of A History of Theatres and Performers in Herefordshire (2002) and in 2009 was commissioned to write a series of short histories of Cambridge colleges for Cambridge 800, a book published to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the foundation of Cambridge University. He lives in Herefordshire, where in roughly equal measures he combines writing with growing cider apples.


FORMAT
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: hardback
Extent: 224 pages
Illustrations: 28 colour illustrations

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Alfred: Queen Victoria’s Second Son Alfred: Queen Victoria’s Second Son
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The Prussian Princesses: The Sisters of Kaiser Wilhelm II The Prussian Princesses: The Sisters of Kaiser Wilhelm II
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A Spencer Love Affair: Eighteen Century Theatricals at Blenheim Palace A Spencer Love Affair: Eighteen Century Theatricals at Blenheim Palace
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11 - 20 of 21 results