In a world historically dominated by male rulers, the women who have sat on thrones of their own shine out brightly. Some queens and empresses were born to greatness, while others fought their way to power. Queens ranges from the... Read moreRead less
In a world historically dominated by male rulers, the women who have sat on thrones of their own shine out brightly. Some queens and empresses were born to greatness, while others fought their way to power. Queens ranges from the ancient world to the present day, telling the stories of these women who ruled, from murderous former courtesan Wu Zetian in 7th century China to Elizabeth I, the ‘Virgin Queen’ of England. In 6th century Constantinople, Empress Theodora, who had been a street performer before catching the eye of Emperor Justinian, extended rights for women, passing laws that allowed them to divorce and own property and made rape a crime punishable by death. In 12th century Europe, Eleanor of Aquitaine first married the king of France and then the king of England. At the Mughal court in Lahore in the early 17th century, Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, was the political powerhouse behind the throne. In more recent history, the book explores the reigns of Catherine the Great, revealing how a minor German aristocrat came to rule and expand the Russian Empire, Queen Victoria, whose family dominated the world in the early 20th centuty, and her more recent descendent, Elizabeth II, the longest-ruling queen in history.
Female rulers are often described as ambitious rather than bold, as devious rather than diplomatically astute and as intriguers and meddlers, all characterizations that are destructive to the reality of women’s lives in the world’s monarchies. Even genealogies still often leave out the women of royal families, overlooking their genuine contributions. To some extent, we will never know these great women of history as well as we know their menfolk; the sources simply leave too many gaps. However, we can and will do better in giving the women rulers of history the recognition they deserve.
Carefully researched, superbly entertaining and illustrated throughout with more than 180 photographs and artworks, Queens highlights the true personalities and real lives of the women who became monarchs and empresses.
Format: 244 x 186mm hb
Word count: 53,000
Illustrations: 180 photos and artworks
“[A] brilliant tour of the nature of queenship throughout history and all over the world. Rather than the usual list of European monarchs, Jestice demonstrates an impressive range as she introduces readers to queens from Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, South America—wherever she can find evidence for women rulers… The book is more than an engaging history of women who all deserve to be better known. Each page features illustrations carefully chosen to represent the wide cultures these women came from… Even better, Jestice succeeds in proving that queens have played important parts throughout history—and continue to do so.”
ISBN 9781838862275 hb