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Sophia – Mother of Kings (Hardback)

The Finest Queen Britain Never Had

British History P&S History Social History Women of History Tudors & Stuarts Biographies 17th Century Royal History

By Catherine Curzon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 193
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526755346
Published: 14th October 2019

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Sophia, Electress of Hanover, was born to greatness. Granddaughter of James I and mother to George I, she was perhaps the finest queen that Britain never had.

As daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate and Elizabeth Stuart, Sophia emerged from an impoverished, exiled childhood as the Winter Princess, a young woman of sparky intelligence, cutting wit and admirable determination. Once courted by Charles II, Sophia eventually gave her heart to Ernest Augustus, at whose side she became the first Electress of Hanover and the mother of the first Georgian king of Great Britain.

Sophia: Mother of Kings, brings this remarkable woman and her tumultuous era vividly to life. In a world where battles raged across the continent and courtiers fought behind closed doors, Sophia kept the home fires burning. Through personal tragedy and public triumph, Sophia raised a family, survived illness, miscarriage, and accusations of conspiracy, and missed out on the British throne by a matter of weeks.

Sophia of Hanover became the mother of one of the most glittering dynasties the world has ever known. From the House of Stuart to the House of Hanover, this is the story of her remarkable life.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been a student of British history since 1966, majored in it in college, and read a great deal of history to this day. In all of that time I can honestly say that I never gave Sophia, the Electress of Hanover much of a thought. By the time she figures into British history as it is usually taught, she was elderly, ill, and useful only to the British as the closest Protestant heir to the throne. This sprightly biography rectifies all of that.

Sophia’s claim to the British throne was through her mother, Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of James I and his wife, Anne of Denmark. For those keeping score, Elizabeth was the sister of Charles I, and the aunt of Charles II and James II. Elizabeth married Frederick, the Elector Palatine, and the two of them were briefly the monarchs of Bohemia, leading to the sobriquets of the Winter King and Queen. Sophia was their twelfth child. (Better Elizabeth than me.)

After the Glorious Revolution, King William and Queen Mary had no children, and her poor sister, Queen Anne, went through numerous pregnancies only to lose her children to an early death or through miscarriage. The Protestant establishment of England did not want a Catholic monarch, which the waiting Stewarts were, so they reached back into the Protestant bloodline and came up with Sophia, who had married the Elector of Hanover, and had Protestant offspring.

In the event, Queen Anne outlived her great-aunt Sophia, and it was Sophia’s son George, the Elector of Hanover, who became the first of the Hanoverian monarchs. This biography makes clear how unfortunate this was; Sophia was educated, Interesting, intelligent, and would have made a good queen. Her son George was dour, uninteresting, and difficult.

This properly footnoted (I am an inveterate reader of footnotes) biography was a pleasure to read, and I can recommend it to any student of British history.

NetGalley, Barbara Bernstein

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I LOVE history and in particular being able to read about personages in history I've never heard of - this is one of those. So well researched, I learnt soooo much

Really interesting the way it was written - in Acts rather than chapters - original presentation - loved it

Some history / non fiction can be a bit dry and hard work to get through - This is NOT one of those books. The author brings the story and the era to life. I became so engrossed - it was one of those books you get completely lost in - wonderful

A fabulous read.

NetGalley, Maria Martignetti

I learnt a lot!

Watch the full video review here

Ghost Reader, YouTube

Sophia: Mother of Kings is a fascinating historical biography. It is well written and researched. A very interesting book.

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

If you are interested in a good biography of a noble woman from this period of European history, then this “tale of perhaps the finest queen that Great Britain never had” is right up your alley.

NetGalley, Justin Staley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved, loved, loved this one. I would say it was far from dry and boring. I might even dare to say it was a thrilling read. Might. I think for those that—like me—love history OR love the royal family OR both it will be a compelling read. Usually I complain when a book has lengthy chapters. I do. I need potential stopping places—lots of them. But the lack of chapters did not bother me. I sped through the first two acts. I was getting caught up in the story, talking about it with my mom, keeping her updated with all the twists and turns, tuning out distractions. I was INTO the book. It read like a real life soap opera. It used a lot of quotes from Sophia’s own diary or autobiography. So it felt personal. I will say that the book began to drag a bit towards the end. There comes a point when it’s less soap opera and more obituary column. But when it’s good, it’s GOOD.

NetGalley, Becky Laney

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was an excellent biography of a woman I knew very little about. I'm a lover of historical biographies and history in general, and this book did not disappoint. What a fascinating woman and an in depth look at a time period and locale I was woefully ignorant of. A real pleasure.

NetGalley, Catelyn May

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Like many others, I am fascinated by the lives of royalty and have read numerous books about European rulers throughout history. This, however, is the first time I have read anything about Sophia, Electress of Hanover, the daughter of the Winter Queen, Elizabeth of Bohemia, and granddaughter of King James I of England.

Catherine Curzon’s book was a fascinating look at the life of a very intelligent and capable member of the royal family who missed out on the chance to sit on the British throne by a matter of only a few weeks. It is a well-researched and enjoyable book and has sparked my interest in reading more about this intriguing historical figure.

If you are at all interested in history and the English monarchy, in particular, I believe you will find this book to be a great selection.

NetGalley, Kathy DiDomizio

This non fiction book is a fascinating and easy to read.
Well written and very interesting.
A must read for any fans of this era.

NetGalley, Tracey Shults

I hadn't read anything about Sophia prior to this and find her such a strong individual. She provided strength to her family through heartbreak and disaster, a truly inspirational lady.

It seems a shame she never got her chance to become Queen.

For those with an interest in history I'd recommend this.

NetGalley, Amy McElroy

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this book and learned so much more on the history of this woman and what this woman had to face to keep everything going! You will learn to love her and the people who surround this historical woman! Very good plot,believable in every sense! You will think about this book after you finish. Net Galley let me read this !! A lot of time went in to research of this time and story!!

NetGalley, Trick Wiley

I like to read once in a while a historical book but I am not a huge reader of non-historical-fiction. But this one is easy to read which makes it enjoyable. I don't know how good the research is but everything seemed logical as far as history can be logical. In history you can't always be certain but this is okay. I also like that this is about someone you don't know from regular history classes or documentaries. I am glad that I had the chance to read this book!

NetGalley, Saskia Kahl

This non-fiction is a fascinating and easily readable account of her life that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the period who would like to learn more about this woman who played an indirect role in bringing the Hanoverians onto the British throne.

NetGalley, Beata B. Reviewer

An interesting read about "the finest queen that Britain never had". As a lover of British history, particularly relating to the history of the Royal Family & those who were close to it, I had heard of Sophia of Hanover & knew that her descendants give us today's Royal Family, however I knew nothing of the woman, the politics or even the lineage that came with her. She seems like a formidable woman, who had Stuart blood & used it well!
Overall, I learnt a lot from the book yet it wasn't a difficult academic read.It is written in quite a chatty style, with phrases like "Frederick's father, helpfully named Frederick IV (get ready for a lot of not at all unique names like this)". There is some confusion around names but you can work out who is who eventually!

NetGalley, Lucy Faulds

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sophia is mentioned briefly in Catherine Curzon’s Queen’s of Georgian Britain. Thus, it was nice that there was a full length biography of this unknown woman. This biography emphasized Sophia’s intelligence and capability of ruling.
She was the granddaughter of James I of England. Her mother was Elizabeth of Bohemia, the Winter Queen. She was courted by her cousin Charles II and could have been queen of England. However, she married Ernest Augustus. Because she was smarter than her husband, she ran his kingdom in his stead. Thus, this biography shows a woman who is worthy to be well-known for she is the ancestress of Britain’s mornarchs and could have been a queen consort herself.

NetGalley, Lauralee Jacks

Very well written. Heavily researched. I enjoyed reading this narrative of a little known historical figure who seems well respected by many of her friends and family.

NetGalley, Donna Pingry

About Catherine Curzon

CATHERINE CURZON is a royal historian who writes on all matters 18th century at www.madamegilflurt.com. Her work has been featured on HistoryExtra.com, the official website of BBC History Magazine, and in publications such as Explore History, All About History, History of Royals, and Jane Austen’s Regency World. She has spoken at venues including Kenwood House, Wellington College, the Royal Pavilion, the Hurlingham Club, the National Maritime Museum and Dr Johnson’s House.


Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, can be found cheering on the mighty Terriers. Her previous books, Life in the Georgian Court, Kings of Georgian


Britain, Queens of Georgian Britain, The Scandal of George III’s Court, and Sophia: Mother of Kings are all available from Pen and Sword Books.


She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

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