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Forgotten Royal Women (Paperback)

The King and I

P&S History Social History Women of History Biographies Royal History

By Erin Lawless
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 108
Illustrations: 80
ISBN: 9781473898172
Published: 13th February 2019



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Great women are hidden behind great men, or so they say, and no man is greater than the king. For centuries, royal aunts, cousins, sisters and mothers have watched history unfold from the shadows, their battlefields the bedchamber or the birthing room, their often short lives remembered only through the lens of others.

But for those who want to hear them, great stories are still there to be told: the medieval princess who was kidnapped by pirates; the duchess found guilty of procuring love potions; the queen who was imprisoned in a castle for decades.

Bringing thirty of these royal women out of the shadows, along with the footnotes of their families, this collection of bite-sized biographies will tell forgotten tales and shine much needed light into the darkened corners of women's history.

As Featured on


I thought the writing made information easy to digest and actually had a bit of humour in there too! Making it not only easy to learn, but fun as well. I really enjoyed this and it gave me that little dose of history that I definitely craved. Once again, if you like history, the royal family or learning about royal women, give this book a go!

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Life and Tea Blog

This is another collection of short biographies of women, some probably mythological, but most were very definitely real. As expected some are longer than others, depending on when they lived and how close to the throne they were. Some I already knew a bit about, but I enjoyed learning about new people.

As with most of the vignet type of biographies, that Pen and Sword do so well, the chapters were short but enlightening, with pertinent details of the time and place in which the women lived to anchor them. The writing was fluid, engaging and easy to read and I believe I got through this book in one sitting.

Good place to start any in-depth study of one of the women, to get the outline of their lives.

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Rosemarie Cawkwell, Blogger

Lawless describes her mini-biographies as ‘little tales’ and hopes that they whet her readers’ appetites to know more. They are delightfully written, and I would like to know more about some of them although I suspect that in many cases there is little more to be known.

Historical Novels Review

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in royal history or women’s history. I would say that it is fascinating to read all the little biographies, with some that you can quite sympathise with.

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UK Historian

Full in review-
A Writer's Blog

A Writer's Blog, July 2019

For someone just dipping their toe, this will make the perfect starting point. The women featured are not the "big ticket names" one would readily associate with this topic - which makes a refreshing change. The stories are your typical vignettes and aren't mean to be anything more, which enabled author Erin Lawless to cover quite a number of women associated with the thrones of England, Scotland and Wales... Overall, the content was spot on; the style was easy and not overly bogged down with facts and figures, which can sometimes be off-putting for someone just starting out; and most of the major career / life high (and low) points were covered.

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Melisende's Library

Featured by

This England, Summer 2019

Fun, light reading.

GoodReads, ConstantReader

3-4 page profiles of 30 lesser-known women from UK history (1300 BC - 1817 AD); this claim is quite accurate, since there was only a scant few I knew of already. Lawless has a way with ancient history, in that it's informed by verbal and written accounts as well as archaeology, but also told in a way that kind of transforms and fleshes out what you know of stories from folklore.

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GoodReads, Kristine Fisher

I thoroughly enjoyed Erin Lawless’ easy-going style of writing and although the stories are rather short, they seem to be correct and well-researched.

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History of Royal Women

The concept of the book is to bring to life those women who get left behind or forgotten about in history. Each chapter gives an overview of their life and achievements, it is not heavily detailed, but it is a great starting point to discover some amazing female characters. What I like about this book is you do not have to read it chronologically, you can jump in at any chapter to read about who intrigues you the most.

Often books like this tend to focus on England, but Erin covers ladies from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Germany. It also spans a broad timeline, so there truly is something for everyone's interests.

From reading this book i have discovered some amazing characters whom I am definitely going to research further, One notable woman that stood out to me was Grace O'Malley, a kick-ass pirate queen from Ireland who lived during the reign of Elizabeth I - need I say more?

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GoodReads, Laura Rowley

Forgotten Royal Women was a well-written, well-researched, thoroughly enjoyable read. This book offered such a great selection of lesser known but still utterly fascinating royal women who lived throughout some thrilling and fascinating historical times... This book is pack full of kick-ass, intelligent and powerful women that completely deserve there place within history! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about some extremely important and sassy women within history.

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Where There's Ink There's Paper, Lauren Gent

This is the most wonderful surprise of a book. These royal women, some of whom I’ve not heard of, some I have, are all neatly explained in these tight short chapters. I found most of them to be our first feminists, most of them strong women. They all lived in interesting times. There’s AElfthryth, pronounced Alf-frith, who had King Edward in 978, murdered, so that her son could become King. And there are many similar tales about 29 other women. My favorite is Princess Charlotte. All are fascinating and all are worth reading about. I loved this book! And I could read 30 more stories of history’s forgotten women!

Ellie Potts Barrett, Freelance

Listed in 'New Releases'

Berkshire Life, May 2019

A superb book.

Books Monthly

This is a really great introduction to some lovely historical figures that, as the title suggests, tend to be forgotten about. I highly recommend this read, especially during Women’s History Month!

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The Creative Historian

Article: 5 forgotten queens and princesses of Scotland as featured by

The Scotsman (online), 1st April 2019 - words by Alison Campsie

You feel yourself drawn into the lives of the fascinating women and living and laughing or fiercely seething beside them... a book to read for the heck of it, for fun, it’s a fascinating little book and I did enjoy it very much.

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The Medieval Library

About Erin Lawless

Erin Lawless is the bestselling author of several works of contemporary fiction with HarperCollins. A Classicist by training, graduating from the University of London, Erin decided to combine her love of a good narrative with her love of history, blogging regularly about any fascinating historical titbit, anecdote or personage that appealed. With her trade mark humour and just a smidge of irreverence, Erin gives the bite-size biography a modern and accessible flavour. Find out more at www.erinlawless.co.uk.

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