Books

The King's Mistress: The True and Scandalous Story of the Woman Who Stole the Heart of George I

As the mistress and possible secret wife of George I, Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg was England's first Georgian queen in all but name. Her nickname amongst the English, who loathed her and found her scrawny, was 'the Maypole'. Others sources complained she was excessive in her greed; she had no love for George and would have 'sold him to the highest bidder'; she was dim-witted; she was dull; she stood by passively as George pursued younger and more attractive mistresses; she condoned incest, willingly sharing George's affections and his bed with his half-sister, Sophia Charlotte.

Yet this scandalous gossip only tells one kind of story. It doesn't mention how Melusine charmed George away from his wife, the beautiful and tempestuous Sophia Dorothea of Celle, and bound him to her until his death. Nor does it show how her gentle nature and good sense helped keep George's notoriously dysfunctional family from tearing itself apart. It gives no credit to her astonishing rise from minor courtier to the ranks of the most powerful women in Europe, or for how her love of music saw her mixing with everyone from George Frideric Handel to the flamboyant theatrical impresario John James Heidegger.

In The King's Mistress, Claudia Gold brings Melusine, and the many contradictions that make her such a fascinating character, vividly to life.

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Women Who Ruled: History's 50 Most Remarkable Women

'Poisoners', 'whores', 'witches' and 'murderers' - or so their enemies claimed. From Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, to the villainous Catherine de Medici and her flying squadron, to England's 'Gloriana' Elizabeth I, and the modern phenomenon of female prime ministers - Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto - Claudia Gold looks at three and a half thousand years of history to examine the lives of fifty of the worlds' most exceptional rulers - all of them women.
 
Claudia Gold writes historical non-fiction. Her latest book, 'The King's Mistress' is a biography of the Duchess of Kendal, the extraordinary woman who became England's first Georgian queen in all but name. Claudia has written and researched for a number of TV documentaries on film and education. She has a Masters degree in medieval history.
 
Claudia is currently writing a biography of Henry II which will be published by HarperCollins.
 
On 'Women Who Ruled'
 
'In this vivid, sweeping history, Claudia Gold brings to life fifty extraordinary women united not just by sex, but by talent, intellect and driving ambition. Well-known matriarchs such as Cleopatra, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Elizabeth I jostle for position with comparatively unsung heroines such as Theodora, Empress of Byzantium, Margaret I of Denmark, and Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. A staggering achievement.' 
Tracy Borman
 
'Incisive, cogently argued, passionate and at times even moving, this book both puts women centre-stage in the telling of our global history and reminds us what civilization owes to strong-willed, intelligent women.' 
Andrew Roberts


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Queen, Empress, Concubine: Fifty Women Rulers from the Queen of Sheba to Catherine the Great

The number of women who have ruled as queens or empresses, or governed as presidents or prime ministers, remains but a small subset of the total of those who have attained ultimate political power. But this elite group of women, who - through dynastic succession, democratic election or other means - have reached the heights of political and ceremonial leadership, includes some of the most influential and charismatic figures of world history. Queen, Empress, Concubine paints vivid portraits of the lives of 50 extraordinary women who have held positions of executive or ceremonial power throughout history, from the Queen of Sheba to Margaret Thatcher. Each biographical profile sets its subject clearly in the culture and context of its time, enabling author Claudia Gold not only to tell the stories of 50 courageous and fiercely independent women, but also to provide a fascinating and informative alternative social history of the last 3,500 years.

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Click here to see a list of the 50 women featured in the book
Hatshepsut
Nefertiti
Puduhepa
Deborah
Bathsheba
The Queen of Sheba
Jezebel
Tomyris
Cleopatra
Livia
Boudica
Zenobia
Theodora
Wu Hou
Matilda
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Blanche of Castile
Isabella 'The She-Wolf'
Margaret I of Denmark
Margaret of Anjou
Isabella of Castile
Caterina Sforza
Juana 'the Mad'
Lucrezia Borgia
Roxelana
Mary Tudor
Catherine de Medicis
Elizabeth I
Lady Jane Grey
Mary Queen of Scots
Nur Jahan
Anne of Austria
Christina of Sweden
Mary II
Queen Anne
Maria Theresa
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson
Catherine the Great
Marie Antoinette
Queen Victoria 
Lakshmi Bai
Cixi
Liliuokalani
Golda Meir
Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Indira Gandhi
Eva Perón
Margaret Thatcher
Elizabeth II
Benazir Bhutto