My review of ‘The Tragic Daughters of Charles I’ by Sarah-Beth Watkins

(c) Chronos Books

Sarah-Beth Watkin’s new book focuses on the three surviving daughters of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. Their two other daughters (Anne and Catherine) died young. While the stories of the future Charles II and James II are well-known, this book goes someway to putting their sisters in the spotlight.

The events of the Civil War meant that the Princesses Mary, Elizabeth and Henrietta-Anne lived very different lives. Mary, the eldest daughter, married Prince William II of Orange, which was partly to help fund her father’s campaign. Elizabeth spent most of the war in the hands of the parliamentarians. Along with her brother Henry, she famously saw her father on the day before his execution to say goodbye. Henrietta-Anne was born during the war itself, and had to be smuggled out of England by her governess, to join her mother in France and later married into the French Royal family.

As with Watkin’s previous books, this is a fast-paced, fascinating look at the lives of her subjects. Although all three sisters died before reaching 30, Watkins shows how their fortunes were linked to the status of their brother and fell and rose accordingly. It is a great starting point for anyone wanting to find out more about these Stuart Princesses.

Thank you to Chronos Books for my review copy

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