My biography of the first Marquess of Montrose is published in May 2023. He was the hero and the victim of the royal Stuarts, a man famous through Europe for unparalleled success and an astonishing fall. This is also the story of Charles I as King of Scots. Whether there would have been a civil war at all without the politics of Scotland, is one of the questions of history. My book is a study of kings and nobles wrestling with mystical loyalties, national identities, the legacy of the Reformation, and sheer ambition. Montrose was a 'Man of Contrarieties:' rebel and loyalist; soldier and poet; leader and follower; visionary and blind. There is so much new material since the last full biographies (in the 1970s) I find this is a good time to update and reassess his legend.
My biography of Henrietta Maria was published in November 2015 (paperback came three years later). The Bourbon princess married Charles I of England in 1625 when she was fifteen and spoke no English. Nor had she actually met him (it was a proxy wedding in Paris). There were fireworks before the marriage settled. The Queen presided over the Caroline Court of the 1630s, a patron of art and politics, a mother of, eventually, three boys, five girls. With the crisis of civil war Henrietta Maria fought tooth and claw for her husband's cause in England and on the continent of Europe, where she raised money and arms for the royalists. She survived civil war both in England and France, where she took refuge in 1644. In 1660 she returned to London as a widow, hoping against hope to sort out the marriages of her two eldest sons (Charles II and the future James II). In 1669 she died a surprising death in her magnificent French country house, Colombes.