Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings

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by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
     
 

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You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, and you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But real princesses didn't always get happy endings. Sure, plenty were graceful and benevolent leaders, but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power—and all of

Overview

You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, and you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But real princesses didn't always get happy endings. Sure, plenty were graceful and benevolent leaders, but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power—and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev slaughtered her way to sainthood while Princess Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back. Princesses Behaving Badly offers true tales of all these princesses and dozens more in a fascinating read that's pefect for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/27/2014
London-based McRobbie flirts with real controversy only to evade it in this collection of rotten royal behavior, and her book suffers for it. During her unhappy marriage to society photographer Earl Snowdon, Queen Elizabeth II's younger sister Margaret—notorious for her poor choice in men and being a spoiled, aimless, and ill-tempered alcoholic—allegedly enjoyed a threesome that was captured in photos so compromising that Britain's MI5 staged an elaborate heist in 1971 to steal them back. Banished to Constantinople to marry a Roman senator, 5th-century Honoria wrote to Rome's worst enemy, Attila the Hun, for help, sending her ring, which the barbarian chose to interpret as a marriage proposal and used as his excuse to invade Rome. Although Sarah Winnemucca lectured to thousands of whites as a "civilized" Indian princess and agitated on behalf of her Piute tribe to President Rutherford Hayes, Native Americans saw "her as a pawn in the pay of the U.S. government." McRobbie mostly ignores the escapades of contemporary royals like Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who has an illegitimate son with a convicted drug dealer; Sarah Ferguson, who sold access to Britain's Prince Andrew; or Monaco's Stephanie, lately divorced from a circus performer. Unfortunately, while McRobbie has the subject matter, her prose is sloppy, her attempts at cleverness fall flat, and her thumbnail portraits are shallow. Illus. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“Forget conventional fairy-tale endings…From pirate princesses to princesses with bizarre beauty routines to warrior royalty, this book shows there's a lot more to life than a cookie-cutter story.”—Bustle

“History has produced some very real, very dangerous ladies who make their movie and book counterparts seem lame by comparison. From Nazi spy to bloodthirsty killer, these women were not meek in any way. Heck, one of them even wore a mask of raw veal! You’ll find out all this and more in this little book of miniature biographies.”—Geeks of Doom
 
“...McRobbie includes a good mix that will satisfy anyone who loves tales of history and audacity.”—Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez

“...an important and impressive contribution to the feminist narrative.”—Bust magazine
 
“Princess, diva, pain in the ass — all terms that resonate throughout Princesses Behaving Badly, which tells of royal terrors who make modern gossip queens seem as demure as Snow White.”—New York Post

“McRobbie gives many of these princesses exactly what their stories require: a narrative that tells their stories in broad strokes, without omitting any of the juicy details.” —ForeWord Reviews

“Irreverent, informative, and entertaining, Princesses Behaving Badly is the perfect companion to royal novels.” —Jennifer Conner, Literate Housewife

“...[Princesses Behaving Badly] is a major addition to feminist libraries, and more importantly, it’s lots of fun!”—Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594746444
Publisher:
Quirk Publishing
Publication date:
11/19/2013
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
162,348
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Linda Rodriguez McRobbie has written for the Boston Herald, Christian Science Monitor, CNN Money, US News & World Report, and Mental Floss. She lives in London with her husband, son, and cat.

Douglas Smith is an award-winning illustrator. He is perhaps best known for illustrating Gregory Maguire’s Wicked novels.

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Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Bookhobbit More than 1 year ago
This book will definitely dispel any ideas you might have about sweet princesses in ruffles!  We are introduced to many women who did not fit that mold, from ladies that murdered their way to the top to ones that sacrificed all for the people around them. Some are sneaky, some are lacking in morals, some are just plain mean, and some have courage that is astounding.  If you enjoy history, you'll enjoy this book.  It's very readable - not dry at all.