A quirky yet educational list of Doomed Queens that is organized by time period. I learned a lot and was entertained- everything that I look for in a non-fiction book.
“While kings were also vulnerable to political upheaval… for the most part men pulled the strings at court. Therefore any woman blocking the way to power was a threat to be eliminated. Common ways to bump off an inconvenient consort included beheading, burning, drowning, poison, stabbing, strangling, starving, and forcing suicide.” pg 8, ebook. Shocking, isn’t it. One would think that a queen’s power would afford her a measure of protection, but it didn’t.
Here’s one of the facts I learned: “Arsinoe’s story has been overlooked in the face of her more successful older sister, Cleopatra… But in death, Arsinoe was buried with the queenly honors that had been denied her in life. Her remains were interred in a tomb in the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.” pg 31, ebook. If you’d like a historical fiction book about Arsinoe, may I suggest The Drowning King.
I also learned the Roman viewpoint of the fury of Boudicca, queen of the Iceni: “Dio Cassius later wrote, “All this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame.”pg 37, ebook. Silly Romans. Here’s a historical fiction about Boudicca if you’re interested: The Eagle and the Raven.
Doomed Queens includes plenty of puns and amusing witticisms. Take this passage from the chapter about Brunhilde: “… the queen of Austrasia incited a forty-year war between her realm and Neustria that made the Hatfields and the McCoys seem downright Merchant-Ivory. “ pg 44-45, ebook.
Or in Sibyl of Jerusalem’s entry: “Sibyl’s marital history took on Liv Taylor proportions as she became engaged, married, widowed, and annulled in varying combinations. pg 53, book. Burn.
Recommended for readers interested in royal stories and unfortunate yet powerful females. Reluctant readers may enjoy Doomed Queens because of the short chapters and light-hearted delivery of some seriously sad history.
Thanks for reading!