• Humanities & Social Sciences
      July 2019

      Arbella Stuart

      The Uncrowned Queen

      by Jill Armitage

      In 1562, Elizabeth I, the last of Henry VIII’s children, lay dying of smallpox, and the curse of the Tudor succession again reared its head. The queen was to recover, but the issue remained: if the queen did not produce an heir, who was next in line to succeed? Lady Arbella Stuart was cousin to both the English queen and James VI of Scotland, a woman whose parents’ marriage had been orchestrated to provide an heir to the English throne. Raised by her formidable grandmother, Bess of Hardwick, Arbella lived her life in Elizabeth’s shadow and, unfortunately, at her mercy. In this book, Jill Armitage revitalises Arbella’s tale, focusing on her lineage, her life and her legacy. Through her story we discover a well-born, well-educated woman desperate to control her own fate, but who is ultimately powerless against those in the scheming Tudor court; and the author explores the harsh consequence that comes from being on the wrong side of the revenge of a jealous, calculating queen.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      September 2019

      Four Queens and a Countess

      Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Lady Jane Grey and Bess of Hardwick: The Struggle for the Crown

      by Jill Armitage

      When Mary Stuart was forced off the Scottish throne she fled to England, a move that made her cousin Queen Elizabeth very uneasy. Elizabeth had continued the religious changes made by her father and England was a Protestant country, yet ardent Catholics plotted to depose Elizabeth and put Mary Stuart on the English throne. So what was Queen Elizabeth going to do with a kingdomless queen likely to take hers? She had her placed under house arrest with her old friend Bess of Hardwick, then married to her fourth husband, the wealthy and influential Earl of Shrewsbury. The charismatic Scotswoman was treated more like a dowager queen than a prisoner and enjoyed the Shrewsbury’s affluent lifestyle until Bess suspected Mary of seducing her husband. But for sixteen years, with the never-ending threat of a Catholic uprising, Bess was forced to accommodate Mary and her entourage at enormous cost to both her finances and her marriage. Bess had also known the doomed Jane Grey and Mary Tudor, Queen of France. She had been in service in the Grey household and companion to the infant Jane. Mary Tudor had been godmother to Bess’s fifth child. Four Queens and a Countess delves deep into the relationships of these women with their insurmountable differences, the way they tried to accommodate them and the lasting legacy this has left. The clash of personalities and its deadly political background have never been examined in detail before.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      January 2020

      Celtic Queen

      The Life of Cartimandua, Ancient Britain's Other Boudicea

      by Jill Armitage

      The British queens Cartimandua and Boudicea were two Celtic noblewomen, recorded by classical writers as part of a tradition of women who showed particular courage, ambition and political skill, and who were just as formidable in war as their husbands. Th

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