Thursday, November 25, 2021

My Queen, My Love

 "I am yours after death, if it be possible."  Henrietta Maria to Charles I, 31 August (Old Style) / 11 September, 1642

Today Mayapple Books announces the release of My Queen, My Love: A Novel of Henrietta Maria, being the first volume of the Henrietta of France Trilogy. I hope to write the other two volumes over the next few years. From the Amazon page:

The youngest daughter of Henri IV, the first Bourbon King of France, Henriette-Marie always knew she would have to marry a prince. When the Prince of Wales, Charles Stuart, travels through Paris he sees her dancing at the Louvre and within two years a marriage is arranged. However, Henriette is Catholic and Catholicism is banned in England. In preparing to become Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, Henriette has no idea of the obstacles that must be overcome before she can find happiness with Charles. The main hindrance, she soon realizes, is not the difference in religion but Charles' best friend, George Villiers, the handsome Duke of Buckingham, who is resolved to subdue Henriette to his will. Buckingham forgets that Henriette is also half Medici and underestimates her determination to succeed as well as the depth of her love for Charles. My Queen, My Love is the first novel in the Henrietta of France Trilogy by acclaimed author Elena Maria Vidal. It describes the early years of the tumultuous marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria which preceded the English Civil Wars of the Seventeenth Century.

As a teenager I had in my room a print of the Van Dyck portrait of Henrietta Maria, Queen of England, the original of which is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Maryland or Mary's Land, my home state, was named in honor of the Queen of the ill-fated Charles I; the colony was founded as a refuge for Roman Catholics. When exploring the old church yards of Catholic parishes in southern Maryland, the names on the gravestones are English rather than the usual Irish, Polish, Slovak and German. It no doubt pleased the Catholic Queen that there was a place where her brethren in the faith could go to escape the persecution in their native land.  

Half Bourbon and half Medici, the life of Henrietta Maria of France (1609-1669) was turbulent from the beginning. Her father, the famous Henri IV, was assassinated when she was an infant. At fifteen years old she was sent to marry Charles Stuart, who was a decade or so older. After the initial clashing of cultures and personalities, theirs became one of the most devoted in the history of royal marriages, and was blessed with nine children. During the troubles which led to the English Civil War, Henrietta Maria became a liability to Charles because of her religion and her meddling, both perceived and actual. But her courage and her devotion fueled the royalist cause, as she sold her jewels to raise money for arms and led soldiers to aid her husband.

Some early endorsements of My Queen, My Love:

“Henrietta Maria’s life is so richly improbable that it’s unusual that she hasn’t attracted the attention of more historical novelists. Now, we have an exciting, beautifully-researched, and sympathetic first installment in a new trilogy inspired by this remarkable seventeenth-century queen.” —Gareth Russell, author of A History of the English Monarchy: From Boadicea to Elizabeth I and An Illustrated Introduction to the Tudors

 "Dreams of princesses, fairy tale palaces, and living happily ever after collide with the realities of favorites, mistresses, courtiers, and intrigues in the lives of Marie de Medici and her daughter Henrietta Maria in this first volume of Elena Maria Vidal's Henrietta of France trilogy. Vidal depicts the religious conflicts of the seventeenth century vividly in this historical novel, as the marriage of King Charles I of England and Queen Henrietta Maria overcomes many obstacles of language, faith, and even different calendars. Even knowing how their story ends, the reader looks forward to Vidal's delicate and dramatic retelling."—Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

“'Henrietta Maria - for those who know of her at all - is one of the most divisive figures during one of the most volatile periods in British history. With My Queen, My Love, the first in her trilogy of Henrietta Maria, E.M. Vidal has brought Henrietta Maria's passion and character to life with remarkable skill'.” —Andrea Zuvich, author of Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain

“Like the works by Sharon Kay Penman and other exceptional historical fiction authors, My Queen, My Love takes the reader on an intense journey back in time, allowing the reader to feel immersed in the era, the events, the people, the loves and the tragedies (and so much more). Beautifully told.” —Readers’ Favorites

“Elena Maria Vidal’s new historical novel captivated me from the beginning. The fascinating story of the often tumultuous life of Henrietta Maria of France, a devout Catholic Queen living in post-Reformation England, is beautifully written. This will especially be appreciated by readers who want to immerse themselves in the world of 17th century England and France. The characters are well-developed and believable. I highly recommend this remarkable book to all who enjoy a compelling story.” —Ellen Gable, award-winning author

My Queen, My Love chronicles the passionate marriage of Charles I, grandson of Mary Queen of Scots, and Henrietta Marie of France during the perilous years of 17th century England. Naive Henriette’s teenage love for her husband and King must navigate English hatred of her Catholicism. Elena Maria Vidal envelops readers in period detail with each rustle of silk, every whispered prophecy. A richly told tale of intrigue and betrayal, loyalty and hope, My Queen, My Love rushes headlong toward the tumultuous history of the English Civil War.” —Mary Jo Anderson, author of Male and Female He Made Them

Charles I and Henrietta Maria

Their children: Mary, James, Charles, Elizabeth and Anne

 Some historical background from the Royal Collection Trust:

Henrietta Maria, youngest daughter of the French King Henri IV and Marie de' Medici, was Queen Consort to Charles I, and mother of both Charles II and James II. Henrietta Maria shared her husband's love of the arts, and was a keen patron of artists, sculptors and architects.

Henrietta Maria was descended from the Medici family on her mother's side. The Medici were some of the greatest and most powerful patrons of the arts across Europe, from the fifteenth century onwards. Henrietta Maria would have grown up surrounded by the presence of artists and works of art in the service of monarchy and magnificence. Henrietta Maria married Charles I in 1625. The sculptor Hubert le Sueur came to London as part of Henrietta Maria's entourage, and it was Henrietta Maria who was responsible for the arrival in England of the painter Orazio Gentileschi, and his daughter, Artemisia. (Read more.)

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