The Queen of Four Kingdoms

Written by HRH Princess Michael of Kent
Review by Jo Ann Butler

Yolande of Aragon was born in 1384, the daughter of Aragon’s King James I, and granddaughter of King John II of France. Daughters of royalty were bargaining chips, betrothed at tender ages to princelings or the sons of dukes to cement alliances. Yolande herself was wedded to Louis II, Duke of Anjou, in an effort to settle conflicting claims to the kingdom of Naples by Aragon and Anjou. The son of Naples’ king, Louis was troubled by other claimants, and spent many years in Italy fighting to hold that realm, leaving Yolande to rule Anjou and Provence.

Though she never saw three of them, nor actually ruled Aragon, Yolande became known as the Queen of Four Kingdoms (Aragon, Naples, Jerusalem, and Cyprus). However, as Duchess of Anjou, Yolande proved herself truly a queen, using her influence as England and its Burgundian allies grappled with France over control of conquered lands. When Yolande financed the army led by Joan of Arc with Anjou’s wealth, she indirectly picked Charles VII to rule France.

HRH Princess Michael of Kent, the author of three bestselling histories, has turned her hand to historical fiction with The Queen of Four Kingdoms. Her education in history and her family background show in her deep understanding of the intertwined lineages of Europe. The complexity of Yolande’s story leads Her Royal Highness to rely on a narrative style, but it is clear, smoothly told, and an entertaining story. Readers with a taste for fiction about – and written by – royalty will love The Queen of Four Kingdoms.