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According to Queen Victoria’s grandmother, ‘The English like queens.’ It’s been proved time and again, through the success of monarchs like Elizabeth I, Victoria and our present queen, women who seem to be enduringly fascinating.
In this, their second book, The History Girls propose to take an in-depth look at five very different women: Elizabeth II and the Queens Regnant who went before her, dividing the subject matter between them as before.
This book will not be a series of potted biographies, but as an overview of each queen. We aim to dispose of the outlines of their lives seamlessly in short paragraphs or a subtle progression, while giving a lively focus on character and anecdotal evidence, which can achieve a vivid, in-depth portrayal.
We aim also to investigate whether the issues facing the Tudor and Stuart queens were the same as those facing Victoria and Elizabeth II. What has changed? Did Elizabeth II have in any sense to face the challenges that confronted her Tudor predecessors? How far were these queens regnant influenced by those who had gone before? In looking at how these women ruled or reigned, we aim to arrive at an ongoing assessment of the nature of English queenship. What special challenges or obstacles confronted them as female rulers? Was their sex a drawback? Or did they play it to their advantage?
Such a book could offer intriguing insights on Elizabeth II and her female predecessors at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. With your help we can make it happen.
When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne on 1952, her contemporaries hailed it as a ‘New Elizabethan’ age. The suggestion was of course that in the latter half of the twentieth century, as Britain recovered from the trauma of the Second World War, it might once again enjoy a boom, a burst of energy, of the kind it had known in the latter half of the sixteenth. The age of Shakespeare – the age of Elizabeth I.
The History Girls are all about history with attitude. History was lived by both sexes, but it was usually men who wrote it. The History Girls work together professionally, looking at key historic figures and moments from an insightful and lively female perspective, offering a timely investigation of the vital roles that women have played in history.
Alison Weir is the top-selling female historian in the United Kingdom, and has sold over 2.3 million books worldwide. She has published fifteen history books, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Princes in the Tower and Elizabeth the Queen, along with four historical novels including Innocent Traitor. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences, and an Honorary Life Patron of Historic Royal Palaces.
Kate Williams' Becoming Queen, about the youth of Queen Victoria and her cousin, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, was published in 2008. It was serialised in the The Sunday Telegraph and it was a Book of the Year in the The Spectator and Tatler. The Times selected it as one of the Top 50 Paperbacks of 2009. She presented Timewatch: Young Victoria for BBC2, acclaimed by the The Guardian as ‘telly history at its best’.
Sarah Gristwood has written for all the major UK broadsheets including the Telegraph, Times and Guardian and the author of two bestselling Tudor biographies, Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester. Her eighteenth century story Perdita: Royal Mistress, Writer, Romantic was selected as Radio 4 Book of the Week. In 2011 she published her first historical novel The Girl in the Mirror.
Tracy Borman is a historian and author of several highly acclaimed biographies, including Elizabeth's Women, which was Book of the Week on Radio 4, and most recently Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror. She is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine, and a historical expert on TV and radio, including Woman's Hour and the Today programme. Tracy is Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust and works for Historic Royal Palaces.
Siobhan Clarke has worked for Historic Royal Palaces for ten years and is based at Hampton Court Palace, where she is an HRP Guide Lecturer. As well as specialising in 16th century dress she delivers tours and lectures on Hampton Court Palace and the Banqueting House, Whitehall, for schools, universities, travel companies and corporate visitors. She has lectured for The National Trust and The Smithsonian Institute.
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