New Book Chronicles 1,000 Years of British Royal Weddings

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In her new book, British historian, Emily Brand, explores royal weddings from 1066 to the present. She discusses how Royal Weddings today are designed to strengthen the institution of marriage and to “put on a good show,” but once held far more importance in the political sphere of the island nation. Filled with gossip, trivia, and full-color photos of weddings past, the book provides a concise overview of a millennium of British nuptials.

“In austere Britain, Englishmen gladly finance their monarchy, but in return they demand a good show” (Life magazine, 1947).

“In austere Britain, Englishmen gladly finance their monarchy, but in return they demand a good show” (Life magazine, 1947). Until the twentieth century, royal weddings were arranged to serve political ends. When a British prince married a princess from continental Europe, he strengthened the political ties between those two countries. For example, the vows that Richard II said beside Anne of Bohemia in1382 forged an alliance against enemy France in the Hundred Years’ War. Marriage was a diplomatic tool par excellence. Royal marriage, through the birth of legitimate sons, also preserved the peaceful passage of power from one generation to the next.

In her new book, Emily Brand (http://www.shirebooks.co.uk/store/Royal-Weddings_9780747810933) explores British royal weddings from 1066 to the present. She discusses how Royal Weddings today are designed to strengthen the institution of marriage and indeed to “put on a good show.” Filled with gossip, trivia and full-color photos, readers will learn the following:

  •     Kate Middleton & Prince William’s wedding will be the 38th royal wedding held in Westminster Abbey.
  •     Most Royal Weddings before the 20th Century were private affairs.
  •     Queen Victoria’s children and grandchildren married into almost every royal family in Europe.
  •     The wedding ring of Mary of Modena, the second wife of James II (1674) was crafted of gold and rubies by an Italian designer.
  •     In the 15th century, royal wedding ceremonies were followed by dancing and music, sometimes by a troupe of minstrels accompanied by a harp.
  •     Whenever possible, royal brides-to-be from foreign countries settled in England and became property of their adoptive nation.
  •     It was at the wedding of the Duke of Kent to Princess Marina of Greece that in 1934 that Queen Elizabeth laid eyes on Prince Philip. She wore Norman Hartwell at her wedding!

Royal Weddings will be published on March 22nd in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Kate Middleton and Prince William will be married on April 29th in London. Over one billion people are expected to tune in for the nuptials, which has been declared a national holiday in Great Britain.

Shire Publications was founded in 1962 by John Rotheroe. The company was purchased by the Osprey Group in 2007. Shire’s backlist of over 1,000 titles explores the history and heritage of the British Isles and it publishes 75 new books each year. For more information visit http://www.shirebooks.co.uk.

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John Tintera
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