Monday, September 23, 2013

Turbulent Indeed

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

Summary: It was, from the start, a dangerous experiment. Charles I of England was a Protestant, the fifteen-year-old French princess a Catholic. The marriage was arranged for political purposes, and it seemed a mismatch of personalities. But against the odds, the reserved king and his naively vivacious bride fell passionately in love, and for ten years England enjoyed an era of peace and prosperity.

When Charles became involved in war with Puritan Scotland, popular hatred of Henrietta’s Catholicism roused Parliament to fury. As the opposition party embraced new values of liberty and republicanism—the blueprint for the American War of Independence and the French Revolution—Charles’s fears for his wife’s safety drove him into a civil war that would cost him his crown and his head.

Rejecting centuries of hostile historical tradition, prize-winning biographer Katie Whitaker uses a host of original sources—including many unpublished manuscripts and letters—to create an intimate portrait of a remarkable marriage.

Review: A tale of the ire and eventually love between Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France.

I will admit to not having much interest in this time period. For English history, I usually only read until Queen Elizabeth’s reign and occasionally I will read colonial history and about the French Revolution. From what I gathered from reading this book, this time period is certainly an explosive one with plenty of action and intrigue. While I will be focusing my reading in the coming year on the medieval period, I will try to read more about the 1600s.

Since this book focuses on the relationship between Charles I and Henrietta, it doesn’t go into too much detail about the political climate or why certain events developed the way they did. It also skips years after Charles I and Henrietta are finally in love. Despite the time skipping, you do get an idea of how the relationship between Charles I and Henrietta was. If it’s love, it’s rather cloying and obsessive love. I know that the relationship between the two was strained early on, but it’s no surprise considering that Henrietta was only fifteen from what I remember. Their relationship was certainly a tragic one.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy books about royal marriages or the 17th century.

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