Mistress of the Monarchy
The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster
By Alison Weir
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345453242, 432pp.)
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Acclaimed author Alison Weir brings to life the extraordinary tale of Katherine Swynford, a royal mistress who became one of the most crucial figures in the history of Great Britain. Born in the mid-fourteenth century, Katherine de Roët was only twelve when she married Hugh Swynford, an impoverished knight. But her story had truly begun two years earlier, when she was appointed governess to the household of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and fourth son of King Edward III. Widowed at twenty-one, Katherine became John's mistress and then, after many twists of fortune, his bride in a scandalous marriage. Mistress of the Monarchy reveals a woman ahead of her time—making her own choices, flouting convention, and taking control of her own destiny. Indeed, without Katherine Swynford, the course of English history, perhaps even the world, would have been very different.
Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth and several historical biographies, including Mistress of the Monarchy, Queen Isabella, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England with her husband and two children.
"Weir brings alive the brilliant beauty whose descendants would sit on the British throne."—USA Today
"For those interested in the rarified realms of medieval British royalty, its trappings, intrigues, excesses, cruelties, and sex scandals, Alison Weir's latest excursion will be gratifying."—Star-Ledger
"One of history's greatest love stories . . . Swynford's colorful life played out against a backdrop of court life at the height of the age of chivalry."—Wisconsin State Journal
"Weir has accomplished a seemingly impossible task [in writing a] biography about a woman who left behind not a single image and not a single written word. . . Weir's meticulous and scholarly research has unearthed details that help bring Katherine to life."—Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
"Quite beguiling . . . Bowled over by this tale of true love, Weir recaptures its glow in a fluid, artfully assembled narrative."—Kirkus Reviews
"The historical research is meticulous and seamlessly integrated into the narrative. The result is a story of a real woman with virtues, flaws, and an altogether fascinating life." —Historical Novels Review