Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di

Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di

by Kris Waldherr

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767928991
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/28/2008
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 684,554
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Kris Waldherr is an author, illustrator, and designer whose art has been exhibited in the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She is the author of The Lover’s Path and The Book of Goddesses, and creator of The Goddess Tarot. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Doomed Queens: Royal Playing Cards 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
SBSMI More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book on a whim because the title and the cover art were so intriguing. I had never read any of Waldherr's work... and now I can't wait to add her books to my library! Doomed Queens is a fascinating look at a myriad of women who had wealth, power, and everything a woman could want -- except security. Victims of arranged marriages, their husbands' whims, and other such ploys, these women often became pawns in the male struggle for wealth, fame, and power. Even though the title suggests morbid reading, the book is actually quite delightful. The stories are brief (one or two pages) and the illustrations (sketched by Waldherr) are incredible. Just when one thinks things are getting way too tragic, Waldherr brings in some humor to "lighten things up." There is a healthy balance of tragedy and comedy. The book is filled with interesting sidebars, fun quizzes, and tongue-in-cheek "morals-to-the-story." A symbol at the beginning of each story helps the reader identify the woman's fate. Oh, yes, and then there are the paper dolls! Truly a delightful book, this is worth the read!
shawna16 More than 1 year ago
It takes a special book to keep me up late, flipping pages and burning the midnight oil. DOOMED QUEENS by Kris Waldherr has joined that select set. I could not put it down!

I confess, I am one of those people sometimes found reading People magazine on line at the grocery store. I harbor a secret fascination about the ins and outs of royalty whether of countries or of Hollywood. If you are such a person--either unabashed, or in secret--then you will also love DOOMED QUEENS.

The usual suspects are all here (Boudica, Cleopatra, Anne Boleyn, Princess Diana), but there are also many new faces (to me, at least): Arsinoe IV (who knew Cleopatra had a sister?!), Urraca of Castile, Mangamal of India, and others...all of whom also met a tragic end.

Let's face it: women in power have a tough row to hoe. Witness all the election hoopla around our own "American queens," Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Even in our supposedly enlightened age, ambition in women is not especially rewarded. It's no wonder queens through history have been driven to extremes. There's a lot to learn from these remarkable women, not the least of which is, keep your head. Kris Waldherr lays it all out in her balanced, breezy, irresistible book.
Mair More than 1 year ago
But I felt like there could have been more depth included in the biographies. I wanted to know more about these women. However, this book is great as a starting point. There were a lot of interesting women who I never knew existed.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.
MaryLikestoRead More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be fascinating, almost macabre, with its depiction of these women and their manners of execution. This contrasts with the beautiful typography and illustrations, which are humorous and a bit scary all at once! Look for the memento mori that abound.

There are some very touching moments as well and I would recommend this book enthusiastically. Very hard to put down.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was well-written and entertaining, and taught me quite about about a lot of royals I had never even heard of. Each story averages about 2 pages a piece, which is just enough to give you a good taste of what happened. It¿s also perfect if you want to read a story or two before picking up something else you¿re reading. Accompanying these accounts are vignettes on some of the different methods of death or the lineage of royal families, and some great illustrations. Despite the subject matter, this was a fun read.
combover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Only complaint is that some of the inside illustrations are not of the best quality. However, these look to be archival images that have fallen into the public domain and not those of an illustrator for this book. Otherwise, very interesting read.
LucyB. on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kris Waldherr, author and illustrator of Doomed Queens- Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends From Cleopatra to Princess Di , has created an-all around engaging and entertaining historical read. Beautifully illustrated, the dreamy-eyed queens, accompanied by their fellow skeletons, meet their final tragic fate; recollected in this captivating book.Not only does this novel tell us about the lives of these queens, it does so in a concise, yet complete, summary of events that takes us back to that particular time in history. Despite the dark finales (after all, the book¿s about `doomed queens¿), Kris Waldherr¿s writing style is upbeat and witty, making it so much fun to read, you just won¿t be able to put it down.I loved the way the author was able to keep me interested in every queen by keeping it brief, filled with information and detailed with lovely illustrations to complement the scene. The `Cautionary Moral¿ at the end of every story is hilarious as well as to the point. This book is definitely a wonderful initiation for anyone who would like to begin learning about important historical figures.It¿s especially important to note that this book is unique in its conception. First of all, it¿s very rare to see a book this original in its creativity¿would you believe that the front and back covers are actually `queen cut-outs¿? This book is completely interactive. It contains a Graphic key to explain the cause of each queen¿s death; an illustrated timeline; an historical explanation sidebar in every chapter, as well as a quiz; queens¿ quotes; the method of death and so much more. The grand finale of this book is the quiz that you take for yourself to know whether you too, are a doomed queen¿Very special.From the introduction, p.7`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¿No matter how your end finally arrives, one truth remains: Your fall from grace is not your call, though your actions may encourage it. It is your fate. After all, you are a doomed queen- and, if one is to go by the lessons of history, the only good queen is a dead one.¿The ultimate reading entertainment¿It¿s definitely one of a kind!
Saint-GermainBS More than 1 year ago
A thumbnail overview of some interesting and eccentric (to say the least!) queens throughout history, this book is written in an easy-to-read, quick-paced, and delightfully irreverent style. This is a good resource for those who seek just a "quick & dirty" sketch of the subjects without going into the obsessive details.
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