Until 1893, Mary Kingsley lived the typical life of a single Victorian woman, tending to sick relatives and keeping house for her brother. However, on the death of her parents, she undertook an extraordinary decision: with no prior knowledge of the region, she set out alone to West Africa to pursue her anthropological interests.
For a man with such conventional tastes and views, George V had a revolutionary impact. Almost despite himself he marked a decisive break with his flamboyant predecessor Edward VII, inventing the modern monarchy, with its emphasis on frequent public appearances, family values and duty. The author offers an account of his reign.
Edward VI, the only son of Henry VIII, became king at the age of nine and died wholly unexpectedly at the age of fifteen. This book gives full play to the murky, sinister nature of Edward's reign, and also an account of a boy learning to rule, learning to enjoy his growing power and to come out of the shadows of the great aristocrats around him.
One of the most dynamic, restless and clever men ever to rule England, Henry II (1154-89) was brought down both by his relationship with his archbishop Thomas Becket and his arguments with his sons, most importantly the future Richard I and King John. This account shows why Henry II left such a compelling impression on his contemporaries.
If Ethelred was notoriously 'Unready' and Alfred 'Great', King George VI should bear the title of 'George the Dutiful'. He was not born to be king, but he made an admirable one, and was the figurehead of the nation at the time of its greatest trial, the Second World War. This book is about this reluctant public figure, and the private man.
In September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain's longest-reigning monarch. During her long lifetime Britain and the world have changed beyond recognition, yet throughout she has stood steadfast as a lasting emblem of stability, continuity and public service. This book deals with her life and work.