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On March 15, 1348, Joanna I, the queen of Naples, stood trial for her life before the Pope and his court in Avignon. She was 20, and accused of murdering her cousin and husband, Hungarian prince Andrew. That she won her acquittal--arguing her own case in Latin--was remarkable in its own right; that she would go on to rule over one of Europe's most glittering courts for more than 30 years was extraordinary.

For the first time, Nancy Goldstone tells the full story of one of the most courageous and accomplished women in history, who challenged the powers of her time, and whose life highlights the dynastic rivalries and alliances across Europe in the dramatic 14th century. She was the only woman in her time to rule in her own name. Dedicated to the welfare of her subjects and realm, Joanna reduced crime, built hospitals and churches, encouraged the licensing of women physicians, and lured some of the most important writers and artists of the century to her glamorous, elegant court, which rivaled that of Elizabeth I of England in power and scope. Around her also swirled war, plague, and the intrigue and treachery that would ultimately be her downfall. As Nancy Goldstone reveals, in Joanna's legacy are found the seeds of both the Renaissance and the Reformation. For anyone who has enjoyed the works of Alison Weir, Amanda Foreman, and Antonia Fraser,The Lady Queen will be must reading.

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