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Entertaining the Braganzas (Hardback)

When Queen Maria of Portugal visited William Stephens in 1788

P&S History Biographies

By Jenifer Roberts
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 232
ISBN: 9781526715210
Published: 22nd October 2018



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Maria I of Portugal was a monarch with absolute power. William Stephens was the illegitimate son of a Cornish servant girl; he sailed for Lisbon at the age of fifteen to become one of the richest industrialists in Europe. The contrast between these two people could not have been greater – they were poles apart in every facet of their lives – yet they formed an unlikely friendship in the stifling formality of the Portuguese court.

William, a man of genius, built up a thriving glass factory in a small village seventy miles north of Lisbon. Maria, the reigning queen of Portugal, spent three days here in the summer of 1788, sleeping for two nights in the house of an Englishman, a man who was not only low-born and illegitimate, but also a Protestant, a heretic in the eyes of the Portuguese.

Entertaining the Braganzas is the story of this unique event in royal history, an intimate glimpse into the world of absolute monarchy, a snapshot of court life in the old Europe, just one year before the French Revolution began to change the face of the continent. It is also the story of two extraordinary people whose very different lives came together at a time of great upheaval in European history.

The Queen and the glass maker

This book is excellent in detail and allows the reader to make their own judgement of how the Braganzas treated the population in general in what was still in effect, a semi feudal society, albeit within an emerging glass industry.

Wiltshire Gazette and Herald/Wiltshire Times (14/12/18)

About Jenifer Roberts

Jenifer Roberts is the successful author of 'The Beauty of Her Age', 'The Madness of Queen Maria', 'Fitz: The Colonial Adventures of James Edward FitzGerald' and 'Glass: The Strange History of the Lyne Stephens Fortune'. She excels at in-depth historical biographies and has an extraordinary talent for bringing her subjects to life. 'Entertaining the Braganzas' is her first book for Pen and Sword.

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