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Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Kris Waldherr

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1881263,528 (3.66)14
Member:Trina0401
Title:Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di
Authors:Kris Waldherr
Info:Three Rivers Press (2008), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Rating:****
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Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di by Kris Waldherr (2008)

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OK, you can't take this flippant little book seriously--how can you when every queen only gets a 2-3 page mini-biography? Nevertheless, it was clearly made with love and has the most cunning little paperdolls, though who could bear to cut such a nifty book? The epigrams where the author serves worth the lesson of each doomed life are worth the purchase price. ( )
1 vote gaeta1 | Nov 9, 2013 |
Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr

I read this book after reading a book about the children of Henry VIII, because I was intrigued about the subject of unlucky queens, and Henry's wives were certainly very unlucky to have been married to him. I enjoy history books but don't enjoy slogging through pages and pages of dry facts. This book was anything but dry facts! The author tells brief but informative stories about women (Queens) throughout history from Cleopatra to Lady Diana and explains their misfortunes to the reader in a unique way laced with witty humor. This book was a wild ride through history from the doomed queen point of view. It also served as a jumping off point for me to desire to do more reading about the women in this book. Highly interesting and very entertaining. Kudos to the author for the content and the nicely done artwork and layout of the book. The subject matter in this book can be a very depressing and the author's humor lightened it up while informing the reader. ( )
  kaida46 | Apr 28, 2013 |
This was less of a book and more of a bathroom reader... if I would have only read chapters while I was stopped at red lights, I probably would have liked it more. Instead, I read it in one sitting and was left wanting to know a hell of a lot more than I was told. ( )
  TeenieLee | Apr 3, 2013 |
Kris Waldherr's Doomed Queens offers a brief look at fifty royal women from ancient to modern times, from around the world, who met bad ends - either exiled or dead from illness/childbirth or the more sinister deaths by assassination, execution, poison, suicide, etc. The book is arranged chronologically starting in ancient times with Athaliah, Artemisia I, Olympias, Roxane, etc. ...and ending in semi-modern times with Alexandra Romanov, Eva Peron and Princess Diana.

Each woman receives two to three pages of concise biography, which is well researched, with interesting side-notes and digressions. Waldherr writes in a relaxed, conversational style, which is quite enjoyable, although at times it feels like she is trying too hard to be funny. The author also provides numerous beautiful black and white illustrations, making this a very lovely book. There is a useful bibliography at the back for those interested in learning more about the interesting and often tragic women portrayed in this volume. ( )
  catfantastic | Feb 11, 2011 |
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

DOOMED QUEENS recounts the tales of numerous unfortunate queens.

Some of these women died unhappily in exile or imprisoned, while others met more unfortunate ends such as suicide or assassination.

Readers will meet over fifty queens who met their doom. The timeline of queens discussed range from the biblical era of Athaliah to modern day Princess Diana. They are arranged by time periods and drafted in short and often humorous biographical information.

How would their lives have been different if they had been male?

A wonderful, entertaining non-fiction book for those curious about royalty, or a perfect sidekick for a fairy tale or royal novel. ( )
1 vote | GeniusJen | Oct 10, 2009 |
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Epigraph
A Queen of the past is not an Ex-Queen.
– John Ruskin

Women have been called queens for a long time,
but the kingdom given them isn't worth ruling.
– Louisa May Alcott
Dedication
For Theresa Park, a queen among women—
with affection and appreciation
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Introduction
[The executioner] shall not have much trouble, for I have a little neck. I shall be known as la reine sans téte.
~Anne Boleyn

Welcome to your favorite dream—and worst nightmare. You are cosseted in silk, crowned with gold, and bowed to. Courtiers laugh at your jokes and compliment your beauty, even when you know you're having a bad hair day. All envy you, but things change. Just years later, even those who admired you steer clear of your path. Your influence is on the wane for any number of reasons. The fault could be yours—maybe you weren't as clever as you thought in the scheming department. Or it could be that others are scheming against you.
Chapter One
Biblical Times and Beyond

Out of the Mouths of Babes
Mine honor was not yielded, but conquered merely.
~Cleopatra,
via William Shakespeare


It is in the ancient world that our survey of unfortunate queens begins. This era is anchored by two figures, Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. Though the two rulers shared little beyond a common ancestor and some serious ambition, both served to inspire the destruction of those close to them. Just call them the Typhoid Marys of blue bloods.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0767928997, Paperback)

Illicit love, madness, betrayal--it isn’t always good to be the queen

Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots. What did they have in common? For a while they were crowned in gold, cosseted in silk, and flattered by courtiers. But in the end, they spent long nights in dark prison towers and were marched to the scaffold where they surrendered their heads to the executioner. And they are hardly alone in their undignified demises. Throughout history, royal women have had a distressing way of meeting bad ends--dying of starvation, being burned at the stake, or expiring in childbirth while trying desperately to produce an heir. They always had to be on their toes and all too often even devious plotting, miraculous pregnancies, and selling out their sisters was not enough to keep them from forcible consignment to religious orders. From Cleopatra (suicide by asp), to Princess Caroline (suspiciously poisoned on her coronation day), there’s a gory downside to being blue-blooded when you lack a Y chromosome. Kris Waldherr’s elegant little book is a chronicle of the trials and tribulations of queens across the ages, a quirky, funny, utterly macabre tribute to the dark side of female empowerment. Over the course of fifty irresistibly illustrated and too-brief lives, Doomed Queens charts centuries of regal backstabbing and intrigue. We meet well-known figures like Catherine of Aragon, whose happy marriage to Henry VIII ended prematurely when it became clear that she was a starter wife--the first of six. And we meet forgotten queens like Amalasuntha, the notoriously literate Ostrogoth princess who overreached politically and was strangled in her bath. While their ends were bleak, these queens did not die without purpose. Their unfortunate lives are colorful cautionary tales for today’s would-be power brokers--a legacy of worldly and womanly wisdom gathered one spectacular regal ruin at a time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:54 -0400)

Illicit love, madness, betrayal-- it isn't always good to be the queen.

(summary from another edition)

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