Henrietta Maria: The Warrior Queen Who Divided a Nation

Pegasus. Sept. 2022. 432p. ISBN 9781639362806. $29.95. HIST
De Lisle (The White King: Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr) is a prolific royal biographer, who gives her unique insight about whether Queen Henrietta of England caused the English Civil Wars or became a victim of patriarchal propaganda. Daughter of Marie de’ Medici and sister to kings and queens in Europe, Henrietta Maria left for England at age 15 to marry Charles I. Influenced by her strong and powerful mother, she sought to return Catholicism to England and live alongside the country’s Protestants. Her loyalty was to her religion and her husband. Fun loving, courageous, and determined, she lived as a strong royal, a connected woman of her time, seeking to bring alliances and peace through connection and strength. De Lisle uses a plethora of primary sources, including the Queen’s own letters and others’ memoirs, to paint a complex portrait. De Lisle also recommends two rehabilitative biographies: Katie Whitaker’s A Royal Passion and Dominic Pearce’s Henrietta Maria.
VERDICT Providing just enough historical context to understand the Queen’s actions, De Lisle writes an accessible and well cited biography that will be enjoyed by those with an interest in this period of upheaval.
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