Less than forty years after the Elizabethan golden age England is at war with itself, split between loyalty to the Crown and Parliament. Family is set against family, friend against friend in bloody civil war. At the head of this disintegrating kingdom is the figure of Charles I.
In this groundbreaking biography never before published royal letters and newly uncovered manuscripts reveal a king who is principled, radical and brave, but also fatally blinkered, his maligned queen Henrietta Maria, a warrior and political player as impressive as any Tudor consort. Here too are the heirs to a fatal Tudor inheritance who befriend and betray them: the peacocking Henry Holland, whose brother engineers the king’s fall; and the powerful ‘last Boleyn girl’, Lucy Carlisle.
This is a story for our times, of populist politicians and religious wars, of a new media and the reshaping of nations. For Charles it ends on the scaffold. Condemned as a traitor and murderer, yet also heralded as a martyr, the death of the White King will sow the seeds of a new Britian and a new world.
'The most gripping revisionist history I have read in a long time...there has never been a better account of his trial'. The Spectator
' formidable research' The Times
' A riveting study' The Daily Telegraph
'...her depiction of Charles's queen is a revelation..
White King is that rare thing, a page turning history that gently but insistently asks provocative questions about a period on which our ideas have become all too fixed'.
The Financial Times
'Leanda de Lisle demonstrates with great skill that there was nothing inevitable about the civil war. It could all have turned out so very diffeRently' Sunday Telegraph
'A grand tragedy ..related with searing pathos'. Country Life
'Fascinating' Andrew Marr
“Leanda de Lisle has approached one of the great icons of history with understanding and compassion. She takes her readers through the twists and turns of the English Civil war so that they understand the enormity of the regicide and the errors and courage of the king”
“Charles I has long eluded even the most scholarly of biographers; his personal contradictions require a writer of rare talent to let us appreciate the long-hidden character of the king...well-researched and beautifully written”