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Having enjoyed the long weekend which marks the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, I offer up some novels about female monarchs both real and imagined.
· Elizabeth Woodville is The White Queen in the novel by Philippa Gregory, whose marriage to Edward IV unites the warring houses of Lancaster and York.
· Sue Townsend’s political satire about republicanism, The Queen and I, begins with the House of Windsor losing its royal status and the family having to grapple with common life.
· An erratic king has brought his kingdom to the brink of ruin and his three daughters demand that he name an heir in The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton.
· The Queen of the Nile is the subject of the lush and sweeping saga by Margaret George, The Memoirs of Cleopatra.
· The life of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter is imagined in Clare McHugh’s novel A Most English Princess, as she marries the Emperor of Prussia and becomes the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm.
· The process of Becoming Marie Antoinette is charted in a novel by Juliet Grey, which moves suddenly from an idyllic childhood in Vienna to the glamour and politics of the French court at Versailles.
· Carolyn Meyer chronicles the days and nights of the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots, in The Wild Queen.
· Rewriting the Arthurian legend from the perspectives of its female protagonists, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon portrays Gwenhwyfar as a desperately unhappy High Queen.
· A YA coming of age verse novel, The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta describes a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London, who finds his identity as a drag queen.
· Ramoth, the last Queen dragon of Pern is introduced in Dragonflight, the first book of the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey; Queen dragons are the dominant females of the species and can command another dragon even against the will of their rider.