Rival Queens
Kate Williams

Book cover image

Narrated By: Emma Cunniffe

Duration: 17 hours and 1 minute

What to expect

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Rival Queens by Kate Williams, read by Emma Cunniffe.

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'Scintillating, provocative... An elegant synthesis of royal biography and political thriller.' Daily Telegraph
A Times History Book of the Year

Mary and Elizabeth: cousins, rivals, queens. They allied and fought and plotted - but could never escape their bond... A story which inspired the Hollywood film MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.

At the end of the Tudor era, two queens ruled one island. But sixteenth-century Europe was a man’s world and powerful voices believed that no woman could govern. All around Mary and Elizabeth were sycophants, spies and detractors who wanted their dominion, their favour and their bodies.

Elizabeth and Mary shared the struggle to be both woman and queen. But the forces rising against the two regnants, and the conflicts of love and dynasty, drove them apart. For Mary, Elizabeth was a fellow queen with whom she dreamed of a lasting friendship. For Elizabeth, Mary was a threat. It was a schism that would end in secret assassination plots, devastating betrayal and, eventually, a terrible final act.

Mary is often seen as a defeated or tragic sovereign, but Rival Queens reveals instead how she attempted to reinvent queenship and the monarchy – in one of the hardest fights in royal history.
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'Brings us a fresh Mary, set in a gloriously rich context, a tragic heroine - irresistibly real and relevant... There isn’t a line wasted in this taut, dramatic and utterly beguiling biography.' Charles Spencer author of Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I

‘The perfect combination of scholarship and storytelling, meticulous research and emotional insight, Kate Williams brings Mary vividly to life in all her complexities and contradictions.’ Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers

'It takes a special kind of historian to turn an old story on its head. Eye-opening, provocative, this is the great rivalry re-imagined for the #MeToo generation.' Lucy Worsley

Genre

Biography: historical, political & military

Listen to a sample

What makes [Rival Queens] special is William’s understanding of how gender shaped Mary’s life. This is a feminist history.

The Times

The perfect combination of scholarship and storytelling, meticulous research and emotional insight, Kate Williams brings Mary vividly to life in all her complexities and contradictions.

Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers

Scintillating, provocative... An elegant synthesis of royal biography and political thriller.

Daily Telegraph

It takes a special kind of historian to turn an old story on its head. Eye-opening, provocative, this is the great rivalry re-imagined for the #MeToo generation.

Lucy Worsley

Brings us a fresh Mary, set in a gloriously rich context, a tragic heroine - irresistibly real and relevant... There isn’t a line wasted in this taut, dramatic and utterly beguiling biography.