A Royal Passion: The Turbulent Marriage of King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France

Katie Whitaker, Norton, $26.95 (396p) ISBN 978-0-393-06079-9
According to British historian Whitaker (Mad Madge), Charles I attempted a military coup against Parliament because the legislature was on the verge of charging his beloved Catholic wife, Queen Henrietta Maria, with high treason, and Charles was determined to save her whatever the cost. That effort ended with Charles's defeat and execution, and a nine-year bloody civil war that led to the birth of the first modern republic. For reasons of international diplomacy, Protestant Charles had wed the Catholic sister of France's Louis XIII. The early years of their marriage were tempestuous because of religious differences and the machinations of Charles's adviser, the Duke of Buckingham. But Charles clung to his wife after Buckingham's assassination, involving her in major political decisions. Parliament became alarmed that by seeking Catholic funding for Charles's war with rebel Scots, Henrietta was involved in a dangerous Catholic conspiracy to enable Charles to govern without Parliament. Making judicious use of wide-ranging primary sources, including the couple's letters, memoirs, and speeches, this persuasive and perceptive biography of a marriage gives Henrietta her due as Charles's shrewd, capable political ally. 16 pages of illus. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
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Paperback - 363 pages - 978-0-7538-2803-8
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