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Linda Porter was the winner of the 2004 Biographers Club/Daily Mail Prize, and her first two books, Mary Tudor: The First Queen and Katherine the Queen: the Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr were both published to great acclaim. She is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine and History Today. She lives in Kent.
The struggle between the fecund Stewarts and the barren Tudors is generally seen only in terms of the relationship between Elizabeth I and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. But very little has been said about the background to their intense rivalry. Here, Linda Porter examines the ancient and intractable power struggle between England and Scotland, a struggle intensified during the reigns of Elizabeth and Mary's grandfathers. Henry VII aimed to provide stability when he married his daughter, Margaret, to James IV of Scotland in 1503. But he must also have known that Margaret's descendants might seek to rule the entire island. Crown of Thistles is the story of a divided family, of flamboyant kings and queens, cultured courts and tribal hatreds, blood feuds, rape and sexual licence on a breath-taking scale, and violent deaths. It also brings alive a neglected aspect of British history - the blood-spattered steps of two small countries on the fringes of Europe towards an awkward unity that would ultimately forge a great nation. Beginning with the unlikely and dramatic victories of two usurping kings, one a rank outsider and the other a fourteen-year-old boy who rebelled against his own father, the book sheds new light on Henry VIII, his daughter, Elizabeth, and on his great-niece, Mary Queen of Scots, still seductive more than 400 years after her death.
According to the great diarist, John Evelyn, Charles II was 'addicted to women', and throughout his long reign a great many succumbed to his charms. Clever, urbane and handsome, Charles presided over a hedonistic court, in which licence and licentiousness prevailed. Mistresses is the story of the women who shared Charles's bed, each of whom wielded influence on both the politics and cultural life of the country. From the young king-in-exile's first mistress and mother to his first child, Lucy Walter, to the promiscuous and ill-tempered courtier, Barbara Villiers. From Frances Teresa Stuart, 'the prettiest girl in the world' to history's most famous orange-seller, 'pretty, witty' Nell Gwynn and to her fellow-actress, Moll Davis, who bore the last of the king's fifteen illegitimate children. From Louise de Keroualle, the French aristocrat - and spy for Louis XIV - to the sexually ambiguous Hortense Mancini. Here, too, is the forlorn and humiliated Queen Catherine, the Portuguese princess who was Charles's childless queen. Drawing on a wide variety of original sources, including material in private archives, Linda Porter paints a vivid picture of these women and of Restoration England, an era that was both glamorous and sordid.
A further addition to Under the Hood (ISBN 9781910298350) and Under the Bed (ISBN 9781911320104), this time it's about keeping things under your hat and what can happen when it falls or gets stuck. Written in conjunction with counsellor Helen Cozens, Under the Hat contains more true stories about client's experiences and what can happen in therapy. Linda and Helen have both been working with clients for over twenty years and they now share some of the same stories of the kind of problems that they have to face when working. The book is packed with information about the different types of therapies that are available, what to expect during therapy, what not to expect during therapy; and it also includes a lot of DIY tools for self help. The book is suitable for adults and it follows family history through generations and it's fascinating explanations will resonate with many readers.
The fact that the English Civil War led to the execution of King Charles I in January 1649 is well known, as is the restoration of his eldest son as Charles II eleven years later. But what happened to the king's six surviving children is far less familiar. Casting new light on the heirs of the doomed king and his unpopular but indefatigable Catholic queen, Henrietta Maria, acclaimed historian Linda Porter brings to life their personalities, legacies, feuds and rivalries for the first time. As their calm and loving family life was shattered by war, Elizabeth and Henry were used as pawns in the parliamentary campaign against their father; Mary, the Princess Royal, was whisked away to the Netherlands as the child bride of the Prince of Orange; Henriette Anne's redoubtable governess escaped with the king's youngest child to France where she grew up under her mother's thumb and eventually married the cruel and flamboyant Philippe d'Orleans. When their 'dark and ugly' brother Charles eventually succeeded his father to the English throne after fourteen years of wandering, he promptly enacted a vengeful punishment on those who had spurned his family, with his brother James firmly in his shadow. A tale of love and endurance, of battles and flight, of educations disrupted, the lonely death of a young princess and the wearisome experience of exile, Royal Renegades charts the fascinating story of the children of loving parents who could not protect them from the consequences of their own failings as monarchs and the forces of upheaval sweeping England.
`Linda Porter has done a marvellous job in bringing Katherine Parr to life. In so doing, she evokes the whole terrifying and exciting world of the Tudor courts, packed with intrigue and danger' A.N. Wilson, Reader's Digest In this, the first full-scale biography of Katherine Parr, Linda Porter illuminates the life of the queen history has largely forgotten - or at least misremembered. Twice widowed before her marriage to the king, she was not as well versed in the ways of monarchs and her fervent political and religious views made waves in the treacherous waters of the Tudor court. The queen who 'survived' did so only by the skin of her teeth. And though the story of her life has been curiously neglected, she left an enduring impression on English history. 'Colourful and well paced . . . Katherine's was indeed a remarkable life' Matthew Dennison, Mail on Sunday `[A] nuanced picture of family allegiances and intellectual background' Jenny Uglow, Financial Times
A striking and sympathetic portrait of England's first Queen, Mary I - whose character has been vilified for over 400 years. Instead of the bloodthirsty bigot of Protestant mythology, Mary Tudor emerges from the pages of this deeply-researched biography as a cultured renaissance princess, a courageous survivor of the violent power struggles that characterised the reigns of her father, Henry VIII, and brother Edward VI. The author does not belittle Mary's burning of heretics, which earned her the subriquet 'Bloody Mary', but she also had many endearing personal qualities and talents, not least the courage of leadership she showed in facing down Northumberland's rebellion. A well-balanced and readable biography of Mary I is long overdue.
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