Not only are Marguerite's memoirs a history of the Court of France during seventeen momentous years (1565-82) documenting the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day and the religious struggles which unsettled that interval of time, but they also offer a distinguished insight into royal life at the end of the 16th century, methods of travel then in fashion, manners and customs of this era, and an exquisite sketch of the city of Liege. Marguerite was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth. She had abilities on the same order as Elizabeth's but with far dissimilar fortunes. Marguerite was reared in the school of misfortune. She was disgraced and disappointed when the populace of Prostestants and Catholics suspected every movement of government she enacted. She married twice, the second time to Henri IV, a union nullified by mutual consent. She said she wanted to preserve the peace of the kingdom and asked only for protection so she could enjoy the rest of her life. After the death of her mother and brothers she was sole heiress of the House of Valois, but because she was a woman she was excluded from all pretensions to the Crown of France. She was confined to a castle surrounded by mountains, but she amused herself by composing verses, playing the lute, reading the Bible and other books of piety. She was witty and eloquent and courteous of manner. Though she only referred to her remembrances of those initial 17 years, she was a perceptive narrator and attentive historian whose perspectives were a charming difference from those of more stoic and obtuse chroniclers. Please Note: This book is easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.
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