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The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots: Elizabeth I and Her Greatest Rival (Hardcover)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Queen Victoria, a new history of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I that reveals how the most important relationship of their life—their friendship—changed them forever.
Elizabeth and Mary were cousins and queens, but eventually it became impossible for them to live together in the same world.
This is the story of two women struggling for supremacy in a man’s world, when no one thought a woman could govern. They both had to negotiate with men—those who wanted their power and those who wanted their bodies—who were determined to best them. In their worlds, female friendship and alliances were unheard of, but for many years theirs was the only friendship that endured. They were as fascinated by each other as lovers; until they became enemies. Enemies so angry and broken that one of them had to die, and so Elizabeth ordered the execution of Mary.
But first they were each other’s lone female friends in a violent man’s world. Their relationship was one of love, affection, jealousy, antipathy—and finally death.
This book tells the story of Mary and Elizabeth as never before, focusing on their emotions and probing deeply into their intimate lives as women and queens. They loved each other, they hated each other—and in the end they could never escape each other.
About the Author
Kate Williams is a professor of history at the University of Reading and the author of England’s Mistress, Becoming Queen Victoria, and The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Williams expertly and entertainingly details the twisty and sordid path to the monarch’s execution. In framing Mary’s story as being one about ‘how we really think of women and their right to rule,’ Williams hints at its ongoing resonance.
A sharp new history of two adversarial monarchs. Though parts of the story may be well-known to readers of royal history, Williams injects enough fresh viewpoints to make it a satisfying whole.
A refreshing, engaging biography. Tudor-Stuart enthusiasts will appreciate the greatly vibrant tone in this account.
This very readable and fast-paced biography relates the story of Mary Stuart in a fresh and engaging way. Highly recommended.
Kate Williams has succeeded brilliantly in bringing us a fresh Mary—one who she has set in a gloriously rich context, while making her tragic heroine irresistibly real and relevant. But the true triumph of this book lies in the perfect balancing of Williams’s excellent research with the need to keep the pages turning. Its pace is perfect, and there isn’t a line wasted in this taut, dramatic, and utterly beguiling biography.
— Charles Spencer, author of 'To Catch a King'
There is much to cover in this elegant synthesis of royal biography and political thriller, and Williams is adroit in her handling of it. A scintillating, provocative analysis of Mary and Elizabeth’s reigns and their relationship.
Looks past tired stereotypes to give fresh insights into Mary’s tumultuous life and death.
What makes [the book] special is Williams’s understanding of how gender shaped Mary’s life.