Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sovereign Ladies (Book #50)
Over the past five centuries, England has as often as not had a queen rather than a king as head of state, thanks especially to the long reigns of both Elizabeths and Victoria. Sovereign Ladies: Sex, Sacrifice and Power--the Six Reigning Queens of England (Maureen Waller, 2007) traces their lives, along with Mary Tudor and Mary and Anne Stuart. Space doesn't allow Waller to go into great detail about any of her subjects, and she isn't completely linear, but since the only one of the queens I'd studied in any depth was Elizabeth I, I still found it readable and informative. And it certainly illustrates the gradual, inexorable loss of royal power as England transitioned from a near-absolute monarchy to a democracy with a royal figurehead.