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Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe Paperback – 1 Jun 2009
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This highly readable book is set against the bloody and turbulent backdrop of medieval Europe...a fascinating account (CATHOLIC HERALD)
A gripping narrative -- the author is particularly good on the theatricality of the age (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)
PAPERBACK ORIGINAL Four beautiful sisters whose brilliant marriages made them queens of France, England, Germany and Sicily.See all Product description
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Recommended if you like good old-fashioned kings & battles history, less recommended if you like voluminous and deeply serious treatises with 100s of pages devoted to administrative reforms.
First one has to recognize that these sisters were married to kings indeed - the Kings of France, England, of the Romans (Germany) and of Sicily, but they were Queen Consorts not sovereigns. So it was their husbands which ruled not them. Their influence on their husbands was different and varied over time. One - Sanchia, the Queen of the Romans - definitely had no influence over her husband. While their maternal uncles of Savoy gained much influence through their nieces and became most important councillors to the kings, the queens themselves were part of this network. However, there is no evidence that these four sisters joined forces and jointly ruled over Europe. Very often, their realms were fighting each other or their husbands (two in France, two in England) were at odds with each other. Not denying that the Queens had of course influence, but I can not see that they jointly ruled Europe. So the title is quite sensational but the book's content does not match this.
I agree with the previous reviewer that there is a quite casual approach by the author and a sort of very popular language. On top I feel that she does not really understand European history. F.e. her description of the Holy Roman Empire seems to be rather bizarre.
Nevertheless, I feel that one nevertheless can learn quite a bit about the time, the personalities of the four couples and the politics of that period. I read to the end and I suppose I regard it slightly better than the previous reviewer but it is definitely not a must-have-read book.
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