Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, December 04, 2017

Make some royal family reading time this season

Between the real world announcement of another royal marriage in the making(congrats to Prince Harry and Megan!) and Netflix ready to release the second season of their historical fiction series The Crown, it's safe to say that British royalty has a nice revival moment on hand in pop culture.

To that end, I've rounded up a few novels about English regal reigns from the past to whet our colonial appetites for what's to come. First up is Daisy Goodwin's Victoria, which the author has already adapted into a miniseries airing on PBS.

Both the book and the show chronicle the early days of Queen Victoria's ascendancy to the throne, which gave the forcibly sheltered young woman a chance to become independent yet still also bound by duty and tradition. From her close ties to Prime Minister Lord Melbourne to resisting the influence of her mother's suitor Sir John Conroy, Victoria slowly but surely proves herself to be the formidable queen that history notes her as being.

I've watched Season One of Victoria and eager to see S2(which will debut in January of 2018),which should be a splendid way to keep warm during the cold winter months to come. I have only read Goodwin's The American Heiress yet just from that book, I know her to be an engaging writer who knows how to spin a story web as intricately beautiful as any royal tapestry:

To go a little further back in time, Philippa Gregory showcases The Last Tudor, as in Lady Jane Grey and her two sisters, Katherine and Mary.

With the demise of Henry the VIII's last legitimate son, Jane finds herself placed in a position to take the throne and is backed by Protestant forces wishing to avoid having the Catholic Princess Mary in power.

However, such plans go awry fatally and when Elizabeth I comes to power, Katherine risks all by marrying her lover Ned Seymour in secret. When he has to leave the country, she discovers herself to be with child and unable to prove that she is married which raises many suspicions and sends Katherine to the Tower.

As Mary shares a similar fate, Gregory highlights what each woman had to go through in a time where control of their lives was something that a rare few females of that day could imagine, not to mention find a way to do so and survive . Despite such struggles, the bonds of sisterhood gave them strength to endure and then some:

If you really want to find out who might be considered the great grandmother of English matriarchs, Elizabeth Chadwick has a trilogy of novels that follow the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine into history.

Starting with The Summer Queen , Eleanor becomes a young bride of the intended King of France,who proves to be an ineffective leader at best and as she gains her freedom from him via annulment, The Winter Crown sees Eleanor joining forces with Henry of Normandy as he becomes the new King of England.

The final book in the trio is appropriately titled The Autumn Throne, as it shows Eleanor in the last years of her life still doing her duty by brokering a marriage for her son Richard the Lionhearted and trying to keep the peace between him and his brother John. This epic tale of a woman who shaped the course of the monarchy of England for many generations afterward is one that deserves to be retold over time and Chadwick honors that literary legacy well:

 These books should be a good start as we go along to check on the latest news of the impending royal wedding and check out Season Two of The Crown. I just started watching Season One and could kick myself for waiting this long to embrace this remarkable series. On the other hand, once I am done with that, my wait for more won't be as long:

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