“For better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” sounds rather threatening if you are in an inglorious marriage. Nobody knew that better than royalty. Royals may have had luxury, power, and glamour, but they were also often asked to make arranged marriages where they had no say in who their helpmate and bed mate would be. For some royal couples it was hate at first. Other royal couples tried desperately to make their marriage work, but just couldn’t. Others amused themselves in extramarital affairs. Meanwhile some women decided that they should take control and be the ruler of the marriage and the kingdom which crossed shocking gender lines. Royal marriages aren’t necessarily fairy tales. The bad royal marriage are the majority and not the minority. Proving this point perfectly, Leslie Carroll continues her fun and fresh take on royal marriages in “Inglorious Royal Marriages: A Demi Millennium of Unholy Matrimony”.
Carroll portrays many of the inglorious royal marriages in history with her fresh writing style which is the prefect blend of a European history class and reading US Weekly magazine. Carroll portrays so many different inglorious marriages ranging from marriages where there were affairs and mistresses like in the marriages of Margaret Tudor and Catherine of Braganza to marriages where the couple were just incompatible from the start seen in the marriage of Henrietta of England aka “Minette”. Some inglorious royal marriages had the wife completely ignored and neglected by their husband like in the case of Queen Mary of England while others like Maria Carolina of Austria, Marie of Roumania, and Margaret of Anjou pushed the neglect and unhappiness aside to become power players in monarchy and ruling. Meanwhile others like the beautiful Medici princesses Isabella and Eleonora met deadly fates in their marriages. Carroll takes a look at various disastrous royal marriages throughout royal history and shows the ups, downs, highs, lows, and scandalous moments of these inglorious royal marriages.
“Inglorious Royal Marriages” is a delicious mix of history and tabloids. Carroll’s writing style draws readers in with her detailed attention to history, but fun and fresh style of writing. Carroll has an approachable style of writing that makes readers learn about European politics and alliances without even knowing it. While readers should be grateful Carroll is a writer because of her delightful books, she would make a wonderful history teacher as well. History comes alive through her writing.
Carroll also chose unique figures to write about. While the marriage woes of Mary I of England and Catherine of Braganza are well-known, it is interesting to read about the marriage woes of the Medici princesses, the darling Minette, and the interesting and complex Marie of Roumania. All these women are so interesting beyond their royal marriages and it is a treat to get to know them better.
Carroll is a wonderful writer and historian. Mixing impeccably researched history with page 5 gossip, Carroll has created a series of historical works that will make you smile, laugh, cringe, shudder, and most importantly, learn history.
To purchase “Inglorious Royal Marriages”: http://www.amazon.com/Inglorious-Royal-Marriages-Demi-Millennium-Mismatrimony/dp/0451416767
For more information on Leslie Carroll: http://lesliecarroll.com/