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

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

by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie


View All Available Formats & Editions


This paperback edition offers true tales of these take-charge princesses plus dozens more in a fascinating read that’s perfect for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.

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 majestic 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. And Princess Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield with her toddler strapped to her back.

Product Details

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

About the Author

Linda Rodriguez McRobbie has written for Smithsonian Magazine, The Guardian, Atlas Obscura, Christian Science Monitor,, and other national publications. Find her online at

Read an Excerpt

Once Upon a Time: An Introduction

Excerpted from "Princesses Behaving Badly"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Linda Rodriguez McRobbie.
Excerpted by permission of Quirk Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Once Upon a Time: An Introduction 9

Warriors: Princesses Who Fought Their Own Battles

1 Alfhild, the Princess Who Turned Pirate 15

2 Pingyang, the'Princess Who Led an Army 20

Seven Warrior Queens of Antiquity 25

3 Olga of Kiev, the Princess Who Slaughtered Her Way to Sainthood 32

4 Khutulun, the Princess Who Ruled the Wrestling Mat 37

5 Lakshmibai, the Princess Who Led a Rebellion (with Her Son Strapped to Her Back) 41

Usurpers: Princesses Who Grabbed Power in a Man's World

6 Hatshepsut, the Princess Who Ruled Egypt as a King 51

A Family Affair: A Word about Royal Incest 56

7 Wu Zetian, the Princess who Became Emperor of China 58

Wei's Way 64

8 Njinga of Ndongo, the Princess Who Kept Male Concubines in Drag 66

Schemers: Princesses Who Plotted and Planned

9 Justa Grata Honoria, the Princess Who Nearly Wrecked the Roman Empire 75

10 Isabella of France, the "She-Wolf" Princess 79

The Sorceress Princesses 85

11 Roxolana, the Princess Who Went from Sex Slave to Sultana 92

12 Catherine Radziwill, the Stalker Princess 97

13 Stephanie von Hohenlohe, the Princess Who Parried for Hitler 105

Survivors: Princesses Who Made Controversial and Questionable Choices

14 Lucrezia, the Renaissance Mafia Princess 113

15 Malinche, the Princess Who Served Her Country's Conquerors 120

The War Booty Princess 126

16 Sophia Dorothea, the Prisoner Princess 127

Marriage or Insane Asylum? 134

17 Sarah Winnemucca, the Princess Accused of Collaborating 136

18 Sofka Dolgorouky, the Princess Who Turned Communist 144

Partiers: Princesses Who Loved to Live it Up

19 Christina, the Cross-Dressing Princess 155

20 Caraboo, the Phony Princess Who Hoodwinked England 162

Six Ways to Fake Princesshood 170

21 Charlotte of Prussia, the Princess Who Threw a Sex Party 182

22 Clara Ward, the Princess Who Ran Off with a Gypsy… and a Waiter… and a Station Manager 188

The Dollar Princesses 196

23 Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, the Punk Princess Who Went Corporate 200

Princess Excess 206

Floozies: Princesses Notorious for their Sexy Exploits

24 Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, the Princess Who Didn't Wash 213

Death and the Victorian Age 221

25 Pauline Bonaparte, the Exhibitionist Princess 223

26 Margaret, the Princess Who Caused a Bank Robbery 232

Three Princesses IWio Chucked Their Crowns for Love 241

Madwomen: Princesses Who Were Likely Mad, or Close to It

27 Anna of Saxony, the Princess Who Foamed at the Mouth 245

Three Mad Princesses (and One Who Probably Wasn't) 250

28 Elisabeth of Austria, the Princess Who Wore a Meat Mask 258

Beware the Black Dwarf 265

29 Charlotte of Belgium, the Princess Who Scared the Pope 266

Royal Hotline to Heaven 272

30 Franziska, the Amnesiac Who Became the Lost Romanov Princess 273

Famous Last Words 282

Selected Bibliography 287

Index 298

Acknowledgments 302

Customer Reviews