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The Life of Henrietta Anne (Kindle)

Daughter of Charles I

English Civil War Social History Women of History Tudors & Stuarts Biographies Royal History

By Melanie Clegg
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 11.3 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781473893122
eBook Released: 10th November 2017

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Henrietta Anne Stuart, youngest child of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, was born in June 1644 in the besieged city of Exeter at the very height of the English Civil War. The hostilities had separated her parents and her mother was on the run from Parliamentary forces when she gave birth with only a few attendants on hand to give her support. Within just a few days she was on her way to the coast for a moonlit escape to her native France, leaving her infant daughter in the hands of trusted supporters. A few years later Henrietta Anne would herself be whisked, disguised as a boy, out of the country and reunited with her mother in France, where she remained for the rest of her life. Henrietta’s fortunes dramatically changed for the better when her brother Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660. After being snubbed by her cousin Louis XIV, she would eventually marry his younger brother Philippe, Duc d’Orléans and quickly become one of the luminaries of the French court, although there was a dark side to her rise to power and popularity when she became embroiled in love affairs with her brother in law Louis and her husband’s former lover, the dashing Comte de Guiche, giving rise to several scandals and rumours about the true parentage of her three children. However, Henrietta Anne was much more than just a mere court butterfly, she also possessed considerable intelligence, wit and political acumen, which led to her being entrusted in 1670 with the delicate negotiations for the Secret Treaty between her brother Charles II and cousin Louis XIV, which ensured England’s support of France in their war against the Dutch.

I have read several books by Ms Clegg and have never been disappointed.
The life of Henrietta Anne, born during the tumultuous times at the end of her father's reign, she was lucky to have survived the fall of the monarchy. She spent her young days at the French court, being close to becoming the queen at some point, and then manouvering in the labirynth of court intrigues. She was always close to Charles II, and played some part in secret negotiations between the English ad French courts.
Well-written and well-researched, this book casts new light on the English princess who still remains in the shadow of her mother and brother.

NetGalley, Beata B. Reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Fabulous read! This author just added herself to my favorites list! Can't wait to read more by her.

NetGalley, Donna Pingry

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Melanie Clegg, who as far as I can tell is an independent biographer, writes about interesting women. Henrietta Anne Stuart is a perfect subject for her. Henrietta Anne was born in Exeter during the civil war waged in Britain, and was smuggled out of England to her mother's native France where she spent the rest of her short life.

Henrietta Anne shows up in many biographies of Louis XIV because she, poor thing, ended up married to the king's reprobate brother, Phillipe. The fact that he had boyfriends, some of them quite horrible, was not the problem in and of itself. Fidelity was not expected in royal marriages, and really, who cares if your husband's extramarital affairs are with men or women? The problem was that Phillipe was notoriously abusive to Henrietta Anne, and she had limited ways to defend herself.

This book, like all of Melanie Clegg's books, is well-researched and well-written, I thoroughly enjoyed it. So often one reads about the major figures of history, but wonders about some of the lesser players. Henrietta Anne is someone I have always wanted to know more about; she is always described as charming and knowing just what to say, much like her brother, King Charles II. And stuck in that horrible marriage,

I am glad that Clegg wrote this book and I read it. I thought that she sounded like someone of whom I wanted to know more, and this biography was it.

NetGalley, Barbara Bernstein

This is a biography of the youngest child of Charles I of England who was executed by Parliament during the English Civil War. It goes through the English Civil War when Henrietta Anne was born, through her years as a dependent on foreign royalty for her home and even her clothes on her back, to her difficult marriage and the early years of Louis XIV (the Sun King)’s reign and the building of the magnificent Versailles.

It was interesting to read about how she was the child of a royal couple who actually cared for each other (a rarity in those days), how she was close to some of her siblings even though they were separated by years and geographically—sometimes countries away from one another. The description of Louis XIV’s court and entertainments were fun to read. I was particularly interested in how she played a big role in getting a treaty between France and England.

NetGalley, Juliane Silver

A well researched book on the life of Charles II's little sister.
It details her hard life from being born in England during the Civil War, to her growing up as a poor relation in the French court while witnessing her mother alienate her brothers by trying to force them to convert to Catholicism.
It also details her marriage to Phillipe, duc d' Orleans, his scandalous affairs with men and how she persuaded her brother to sign a secret treaty that would mean him supporting French policy in Europe, even if it clashed with other alliances for money that would make him financially independent from Parliment.
Melanie Clegg does a great job in taking us back to the 1600s and showing us what life was like for a pauper princess growing up among her rich cousins.

NetGalley, Emma Potter

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the life of Henrietta Anne Stuart in this book by Melanie Clegg. Prior to reading I did not know much about her, and found this book easy to follow and understand. The book was also very well researched, giving a level of detail that is interesting for both newcomers to the Stuart period, as well as those who have more knowledge in the area. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about the Stuart period and the role Henrietta Anne played in it.

NetGalley, Georgina Fairs

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Charles II is my favorite British King, so I've always been interested in his beloved little sister. I knew she had rather a tragic life, like so many of her fellow princesses.. Fairy tales notwithstanding, the daughters of even modestly successful farmers or merchants likely had much happier lives than the daughters of kings!
I really enjoyed this entertainingly written and well cited book. Clegg did a marvelous job of keeping the narrative focused on Henrietta Marie while still providing enough background to keep her grounded in history.

NetGalley, Tammy Buchli

"The Life of Henrietta Anne" is a well- written, engaging biography. That was a pleasant surprise for me. Usually, when royals are written about, it's the monarch or his wife that get the attention. It was nice to see someone else's life presented. Henrietta certainly went through a lot, particularly in her marriage. To have such an immature and jealous person for a spouse...I felt bad for her. But what I particularly liked was just how intelligent she was, so much so that her brother and brother-in-law viewed her as an integral part in some of their political negotiations. That was impressive to me considering the usual attitude of women not being astute enough for such a role... it was an enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Mariama Thorlu-Bangura

A solid account of the life of Henrietta of England, from her birth during the Civil War to her youth as the 'poor dependant' of the French royal family, to her - often unhappy - marriage to Prince Philippe of France. Much emphasis is placed on Henrietta Anne's role in the treaty between her brother (Charles II of England) and her brother-in-law (Louis XIV of France). Trusted by both men, she was a conduit for secret communication between them.

This is a readable text and it shed light on some details of the period which I had previously not known, so I am glad I read it.

NetGalley, Adam Windsor

Henrietta Anne is not a famous royal daughter and is often overlooked — so I was interested to read more about her. The book kept my attention and I liked the new information it supplemented me. The writing was easy to read and I'm glad to know more about her. It's sad that there's not more books about her, as she seemed tp be such a complex woman.

NetGalley, Nicole Kiers

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have read several books where Henrietta Anne Stuart was a supporting character. She was always presented in a favorable light. In this book she is presented the same way. She was born to King Charles I and his French wife Henrietta Maria. Born during the English Civil War she started out in a precarious position. Eventually smuggled out of England and taken to France where her mother had already escaped to, she would live out her life in the French court. Described as charming, charismatic and delightful she was considered the darling of the French court she was also politically savvy and the King counted on her for help dealing with her brother the King of England who loved her very much. Prince Philippe who was King Louis XIV younger brother fell in love with her and they were eventually married. He was emotionally abusive towards her and it was a very chaotic marriage but did produce several children.

I enjoyed reading about her life in this very well researched and written book. I have no doubts that anyone interested in this time in history would enjoy learning about this woman's life.

NetGalley, Jaime Shaw

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The daughter of Charles I, Henrietta Anne was the daughter of King Charles I. Born in Exeter, Devon, during a brief period when it was under Royalist control at the height of the English Civil War, she never knew her father (who was executed) and had to be smuggled out of the country disguised as a boy at a young age when the war started going badly for the Royalist side. She spent most of her early life in exile in France with her mother whose persistent attempts to convert everyone to Catholicism seem to have put a few people's backs up. Then, in 1660, her brother became King Charles II and - well, I don't want to spoil the whole story. Read it yourself!
Needless to say, this is a good book about an intriguing and often overlooked 17th century figure.

NetGalley, Chris Hallam

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have wanted to read this for a long time, and I was not disappointed in my expectations! Everyone focuses on the Tudors, but the Stuarts had as much drama in there lives, and Henrietta Anne is one of history’s most overlooked players.

NetGalley, Caroline Palmer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Life of Henrietta Anne: Daughter of Charles I by Melanie Clegg is a great biography of the sister of Charles II. Beyond fascinating!

I absolutely loved reading and learning about Henreitta Anne Stuart. She was so much more than just the daughter of Charles I and the sister of Charles II. I sadly knew such little about her, but after reading this book, I can now say that I have a wonderful insight into the jam-packed and eventful life of this complex woman.

It was engaging and bittersweet to learn more about her life and the important role that she played.

I highly recommend this!

NetGalley, Rachel Fox

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A meticulously researched bit of history which details the life of Henrietta Anne, or Minette as her brother, Charles the second, used as her pet name, as she was his beloved younger sister. This covers the Civil War period, and her subsequent time at the French court, and is very well written as well as being a brilliant piece of historical research. I knew about the life of Madame, but I wanted to know more, because I am fascinated by her. I have read many of the books written by this author before, and was very pleased to get a complementary copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The author has written some good books, but the research on this book is impressive, and I have not read all her books, so it would be difficult to say this is the best. However the amount of research and the ease of reading makes this book my favourite out of the books that I have read by this author. I would highly recommend the book..

NetGalley, Mary Hawkes

This is a good biography of Henrietta Anne. From the very beginning of this book I was completely hooked and could not put it down. The Life of Henrietta Anne was a well-written and well-researched. I recommend The Life of Henrietta Anne: Daughter of Charles I by Melanie Clegg to anyone who is interested in this period of history

Read the complete review online here.

The New Royalty World

★★★★★ I was extremely impressed with this book and the work that was done by Melanie. This biography had everything in it that I could possibly wish for, so much so I didn’t want it to end. It is very clear to see that Henrietta Anne is much underrated and such an extraordinary woman.

I highly recommend The Life of Henrietta Anne: Daughter of Charles I by Melanie Clegg to anyone who is interested in this period of history or would like to learn more about an extraordinary woman within history.

Read the complete review here.

Where There's Ink There's Paper

As featured and reviewed on

Lil's Vintage World, YouTube

I studied the English Civil War as part of my Open University degree course back in the late 1980s - how I would have loved to have had access to this fascinating book back then! Rich in detail and information, the amazing life of Henrietta Maria and Charles I's daughter read almost like a James Bond novel! Superb, intimate history of someone I didn't give a second thought to back then...

Books Monthly

Author interview as featured in

History of Royals, November 2017

About Melanie Clegg

Fascinated by history from a very early age, Melanie Clegg graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in History of Art. She originally turned to writing historical fiction and her women’s history blog, Madame Guillotine, as a means of escaping from the dull admin jobs that she found herself doing, before becoming a full time writer and historian.

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