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Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Hearts

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The dazzling new biography of one of history's most misunderstood queens Elizabeth Stuart is one the most misrepresented - and underestimated - figures of the seventeenth century. Labelled a spendthrift more interested in the theatre and her pet monkeys than politics or her children, and long pitied as 'The Winter Queen', the direct ancestor of Elizabeth II was widely misund The dazzling new biography of one of history's most misunderstood queens Elizabeth Stuart is one the most misrepresented - and underestimated - figures of the seventeenth century. Labelled a spendthrift more interested in the theatre and her pet monkeys than politics or her children, and long pitied as 'The Winter Queen', the direct ancestor of Elizabeth II was widely misunderstood. Nadine Akkerman's biography reveals an altogether different woman, painting a vivid picture of a queen forged in the white heat of European conflict. Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James VI and I, was married to Frederick V, Elector Palatine in 1613. The couple were crowned King and Queen of Bohemia in 1619, only to be deposed and exiled to the Dutch Republic in 1620. Elizabeth then found herself at the epicentre of the Thirty Years' War and the Civil Wars, political and military struggles that defined seventeenth-century Europe. Following her husband's death in 1632, Elizabeth fostered a cult of widowhood, dressing herself and her apartments in black, and conducted a long and fierce political campaign to regain her children's birthright - by force, if possible - wielding her pen with the same deft precision with which she once speared boars from horseback. Through deep immersion in the archives and masterful detective work, Akkerman overturns the received view of Elizabeth Stuart, showing her to be a patron of the arts and canny stateswoman with a sharp wit and a long memory. On returning to England in 1661, Elizabeth Stuart found a country whose people still considered her their 'Queen of Hearts'. Akkerman's biography reveals the impact Elizabeth Stuart had on both England and Europe, demonstrating that she was more than just the grandmother of George I.


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The dazzling new biography of one of history's most misunderstood queens Elizabeth Stuart is one the most misrepresented - and underestimated - figures of the seventeenth century. Labelled a spendthrift more interested in the theatre and her pet monkeys than politics or her children, and long pitied as 'The Winter Queen', the direct ancestor of Elizabeth II was widely misund The dazzling new biography of one of history's most misunderstood queens Elizabeth Stuart is one the most misrepresented - and underestimated - figures of the seventeenth century. Labelled a spendthrift more interested in the theatre and her pet monkeys than politics or her children, and long pitied as 'The Winter Queen', the direct ancestor of Elizabeth II was widely misunderstood. Nadine Akkerman's biography reveals an altogether different woman, painting a vivid picture of a queen forged in the white heat of European conflict. Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James VI and I, was married to Frederick V, Elector Palatine in 1613. The couple were crowned King and Queen of Bohemia in 1619, only to be deposed and exiled to the Dutch Republic in 1620. Elizabeth then found herself at the epicentre of the Thirty Years' War and the Civil Wars, political and military struggles that defined seventeenth-century Europe. Following her husband's death in 1632, Elizabeth fostered a cult of widowhood, dressing herself and her apartments in black, and conducted a long and fierce political campaign to regain her children's birthright - by force, if possible - wielding her pen with the same deft precision with which she once speared boars from horseback. Through deep immersion in the archives and masterful detective work, Akkerman overturns the received view of Elizabeth Stuart, showing her to be a patron of the arts and canny stateswoman with a sharp wit and a long memory. On returning to England in 1661, Elizabeth Stuart found a country whose people still considered her their 'Queen of Hearts'. Akkerman's biography reveals the impact Elizabeth Stuart had on both England and Europe, demonstrating that she was more than just the grandmother of George I.

34 review for Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Hearts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pete Langman

    A must-have for historical novelists and seventeenth-century fanatics alike, this is a fantastic example of the biographer’s art, as it takes a woman many think they know and comprehensively rewrites her story. Using many letters that have lain unread for centuries, and deep research that refuses to simply accept the stories that have grown up around her, Akkerman strips away the myth and shows us the woman. Elizabeth Stuart was far from the spendthrift, frivolous princess whose ambition led to A must-have for historical novelists and seventeenth-century fanatics alike, this is a fantastic example of the biographer’s art, as it takes a woman many think they know and comprehensively rewrites her story. Using many letters that have lain unread for centuries, and deep research that refuses to simply accept the stories that have grown up around her, Akkerman strips away the myth and shows us the woman. Elizabeth Stuart was far from the spendthrift, frivolous princess whose ambition led to the Thirty Years’ war and the idea that she was a bad mother who preferred the company of her monkeys to her children is shown to be as nonsensical as the pejorative title of Winter Queen under which her reputation has laboured. Instead, the author presents us with the ‘Queen of Hearts’ who had to be physically restrained from visiting the front before the battle of White Mountain – she was eight months pregnant – and who many of her father’s subjects wished was his heir rather than her brother Charles. Yes, she was difficult, stubborn and often wrong, but she was also witty, intelligent and brave – you don’t spear boars from horseback while pregnant without having something extra about you! A fascinating book about a woman who lived on the ragged edge of history for much of the seventeenth century and was subsequently marginalised by generations of historians. Oh, and it’s stuffed full of fabulous images to boot. What’s not to love?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helen Carolan

    Dear lord this was heavy going. I love my history and had hoped this tome about the little wrote about Elizabeth Stuart known as the winter queen would be engaging. Sadly it was way to overblown and repetitive for my liking.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mieneke

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alix McKenzie

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Spivey

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

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    Adina Stene

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  9. 4 out of 5

    Helyn

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shira More

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura Williams

  12. 5 out of 5

    James Harrison

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aryssa

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Richards

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cricket

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emma

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    Emrys

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Neal

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elise

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Smith

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Pierce

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    Sara

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ilse

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lady Chelsea

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vigee

  27. 5 out of 5

    Haley Wofford

  28. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kyli

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  31. 4 out of 5

    Geevee

  32. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Bossons

  34. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

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