June 21 , 2010


Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England


Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, was the first woman to be crowned Queen of England and formally recognised as such by her subjects. Beyond this, however, little is known of her. No contemporary images of her remain, and the chroniclers of her age left us only the faintest clues as to her life. Who was this spectral queen?

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King's Mistress, Queen's Servant

Henrietta Howard, later Countess of Suffolk, was the long-term mistress and confidante of King George II. She was also, as Tracy Borman's wonderfully readable biography reveals, a dedicated patron of the arts; a lively and talented intellectual in her own right; a victim of adultery; a passionate advocate for the rights of women long before the…

In this first major biography, Tracy Borman sifts through the shards of evidence to uncover an extraordinary story. Matilda was loving and pious, possessed strength, ambition and intelligence, and was fiercely independent. All of these attributes gave her unparalleled influence over William. But although Matilda would provide an inspiring template for future indomitable queens, it led to treachery, revolt and the fracturing of a dynasty.

Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror takes us from the courts of Flanders to the opulence of royal life in England. Alive with intrigue, rumour and betrayal, it illuminates for the first time the life of an exceptional, brave and complex queen pivotal to the history of England.

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