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Kings And Queens Of Scotland Hardcover – 27 May 1999
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Ranging from the 11th to the 17th centuries, this book aims to capture the personalities beneath the gowns of the kings and queens of Scotland, whilst at the same time recording the landmarks of each reign.
About the Author
Nicholas Best was educated in Kenya and at Trinity College, Dublin. He was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards, which gave him the material for his satirical novel WERE YOU AT WATERLOO? He left the Army to be a financial journalist, but soon became a full-time writer. He was fiction critic for the FINANCIAL TIMES for ten years and has written history books, travel books and many radio scripts. His work has been translated into many languages.
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It is what you will buy as a souvenir during a trip to Scotland. At most 200 words per king, it will not give you much information apart from the sequence in which they ruled.
This book shows the limitations of buying through the Internet, and not in bookshops. You have to be careful to read the description (including, in this case, the dimensions!) and the reviews. When I carefully look at the information in Amazon, I must admit it is all there ... but I was not expecting such a tiny book ... rather, a normal book.
Very disappointed. Had I seen it in a shop, I would not have bought it, except, as I said, as a souvenir.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Mary was spoiled: she was treated better than even her future husband because she was a regnant queen already whereas the other children were merely "potentials." Mary was engaged to, married, and nursed her brief king of a husband, Francois II, till he died. She was the Dowager Queen of Scotland by the time she turned 18! Quite a heady adventure. And then to be tossed out on her ear by Catherine De' Midici and thrown to the wolves--the nobility of Scotland--immediately must have blown her mind. As a half-French, non-fluent, Catholic woman, Mary really had three strikes against her. She was foolish to marry Darnley, foolish to ride out in battle with him, foolish--at least impractical--to maintain her religion, foolish to keep him so close as to endanger Rizzio's life, foolish to be involved with Darnley's death (to whatever extent but at least in marrying the biggest suspect), foolish to be unable to navigate relationship with her lairds or manage any affection or loyalty from her people. Beauty is only skin-deep.
Of course her downfall was being so closely related to Elizabeth and having the audacity and foolhardiness to connive her throne. Did you know that it was when Mary first quartered England's royal arms in her Coat of Arms when she married Francois that she sealed her fate? She's was on everyone's radar as of that point, a true threat to Elizabeth. They were not cousins but first cousins once removed: Henry VII was Elizabeth's grandfather but Mary's great grandfather.
Anyway, one reason I'm so hepped up on Mary is that my husband is from Carlisle England and she was first locked up in its castle when she escaped to England. I've been in the castle and they still have the Lady's Walk where she could glumly see Scotland and a reported ghost which may be Mary.
But also her confinement with the Earl of Shrewsbury fascinates me. His countess, Bess of Hardwick, is responsible for preserving and conserving the bulk of Mary's needlework which was the most substantial activity available to Mary for her 18 years in England. I also study Bess as a woman of great power in England, second in riches only to Elizabeth. Bess was born 5 years before and died 5 years after Elizabeth and was one of her special Ladies of the Privy Chamber. In building the New Hardwick Hall, Bess commissioned fantastic tapestries and embroideries. Bess also "created" a newborn child, Arbella, who was as big a threat to Elizabeth as Mary because she was Mary's niece. (Bess's daughter married Darnley's brother without permission and Arbella was the unhappy issue of that marriage.)
Oh, I've really strayed from this book. However, Mary is shown in the most portraits (3) and since she's the cover girl of the book, I guess you can grant me some leeway? Besides, in the historic battle where we're supposed to choose our favorite between Elizabeth and Mary, we see that Mary "lost by a head" but perhaps had the last laugh because the Tudor line was snuffed out with Elizabeth and replaced with the Stuarts. But what a poor bloodline for monarchs!!
I really like this book for putting names to faces and the nuggets of information.