Inglorious Royal Marriages: A Demi-Millenium of Unholy Matrimony

Written by Leslie Carroll
Review by Caroline Wilson

This is the latest installment in Leslie Carroll’s chronicles of royal relationships, both legally and not so legally binding. This part of the series takes a look at the marriages contracted for dynastic reasons; as a result, most were notoriously unhappy. Each section is devoted to the husband and wife involved in the marriage. Some of the royals documented are Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou, Catherine of Braganza and Charles II, Anne of Austria and Louis XIII, and Marie of Romania and Ferdinand I.

The book is very readable. It doesn’t get bogged down like a lot of non-fiction and is filled with fascinating stories from the medieval period all the way through World War II. The book’s focus on some lesser-known nobles is a boon for those readers who love all the intricacies of royal life. As with her other works, Carroll sometimes goes into too much detail, particularly about the political maneuverings at the time. A little more attention to the daily lives of the subjects would have made Inglorious Royal Marriages a jewel in the crown. Nonetheless, the book is recommended for those readers who enjoy social and royal history.