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Books About French Royalty

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Book Categories: Royalty, Franks, Charlemagne, Holy Roman Empire, Capets, Louis IX, Valois Dynasty, Hundred Years' War, Early Modern France, Bourbons, Henry IV, Queen Margot, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Marie Antoinette, Revolution, Philippe Égalité, End of Monarchy, Louis Philippe I, Napoleon, Burgundy, Margaret of York, Corsica, Navarre, Palaces, DVDs, European Royalty

French Royalty & History

Kings, Queens & Courts

The Fleurs de Lis of the Kings of France, 1285-1488 by William Hinkle. French royal heraldry and genealogy.

Fleur de Lys: The Kings and Queens of France by Joy Law. Collection of anecotes about French kings and queens, from Hugh Capet to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. With 127 illustrations, eight in full color.

The Creation of the French Royal Mistress: From Agnés Sorel to Madame Du Barry by Tracy Adams and Christine Adams. This study explains why the tradition of a powerful royal mistress materialized in France but nowhere else in Europe.


The Cambridge Illustrated History of France by Colin Jones. A basic introduction to French history.

France: An Illustrated History by Lisa Neal. Outlines French history from prehistoric times to the present.

The Devil in the Holy Water, or the Art of Slander From Louis XIV to Napoleon by Robert Darnton. How slander helped to delegitimize French regimes and bring down governments.

Theorizing the Ideal Sovereign: The Rise of the French Vernacular Royal Biography by Daisy Delogu. Examines the ways in which biographical writings on kings could advance precise political aims.

Ritual, Ceremony and the Changing Monarchy in France, 1350-1789 by Lawrence M. Bryant. Collection of articles exploring images of the French monarchy in ceremonies created by townspeople and officials.

The Royal Touch: Sacred Monarchy and Scrofula in England and France by Marc Bloch, translated by J. E. Anderson. Explores the belief that kings had the power to cure people from all strands of society from illness and disease.

The Likeness of the King: A Prehistory of Portraiture in Late Medieval France by Stephen Perkinson. Examination of well-known images of kings, as well as objects such as royal seals.

Books About French Coronations

France and England

Clash of Crowns by Mary McAuliffe. About hostility between French and English kings, from its roots in the time of the Vikings to the cutthroat rivalry between Philip II and Richard Lionheart during the Third Crusade.

That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British From the Sun King to the Present by Robert and Isabelle Tombs. About the relationship between Britain and France. Their rivalry set the pattern of European imperialism, and their interaction did much to create the identity and culture of both.

Remembering Queens and Kings of Early Modern England and France: Reputation, Reinterpretation, and Reincarnation edited by Estelle Paranque. How royals were represented in art during their lifetimes and afterward, including pageants, plays, and modern manga and romance novels. Includes essays on Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette, Francis II, Mary Tudor, and others.

More Books About English Royalty

House of Capet

Capetian France 987-1328 by Elizabeth Hallam and Judith Everard. The history of France from Hugh Capet to Charles IV.

Capetians: Kings of France, 987-1314 by Jim Bradbury. Throws light on medieval France and the development of European monarchy.

Louis: The French Prince Who Invaded England by Catherine Hanley. A biography of King Louis VIII of France.

Monsieur: Second Sons in the Monarchy of France, 1550-1800 by Jonathan Spangler. The lives of François, duke of Alençon; Gaston, duke of Orléans; Philippe, duke of Orléans; and Louis-Stanislas, count of Provence.

Medieval Art in Motion: The Inventory and Gift Giving of Queen Clémence de Hongrie by Mariah Proctor-Tiffany. After the death of her husband, French king Louis X, Clémence fought for her status by displaying her possessions. Illustrated.

The Man Who Believed He Was King of France: A True Medieval Tale by Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri, translated by William McCuaig. In 1354, Giannino di Guccio, son of a merchant, set out to prove he was King Jean I.

Feudal Monarchy in France and England by Charles Petit-Dutaillis.

Capetian Royal Women

Capetian Women edited by Kathleen D. Nolan. Essays about the women of the Capetian royal dynasty in France, uncovering their influence in social, religious, cultural, and political spheres.

Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours by Fredric L. Biography of the 12th century viscountess who ruled a doomed society.

Pleasure and Politics at the Court of France: The Artistic Patronage of Queen Marie de Brabant (1260-1321) by Tracy Chapman Hamilton. Examines Marie's commissions from her arrival in Paris in 1274 until her death in 1321, and analyzes the impact of her patronage.

Queens in Stone and Silver by Kathleen Nolan. The creation of a visual imagery of queenship in Capetian France.

The Rebel Princess: A Novel of Suspense by Judith Koll Healey. Paris, 1207. Princess Alaïs, sister of King Philippe II of France, wants to settle down with her lover, William of Caen, but intrigue is afoot in the palace.

Books About the Franks
Books About Charlemagne
Books About Eleanor of Aquitaine

Louis IX

Saint Louis by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Gareth Evan Gollrad. Biography of King Louis IX of France (1214-1270) the central figure of Christendom in the 13th century.

The Sanctity of Louis IX translated by Larry F. Field. Louis IX of France reigned from 1226 to 1270. After his death on crusade, he was proclaimed a saint in 1297. This book offers the first English-language translations of two accounts of the king's life: one composed by Geoffrey of Beaulieu, the king's long-time confessor, and the other by William of Chartres, a clerk in Louis's household.

Blanche of Castile: Queen of France by Lindy Grant. The first modern scholarly biography of the mother of the saintly Louis IX.

Isabelle of France: Capetian Sanctity and Franciscan Identity in the Thirteenth Century by Sean L. Field. Daughter of French queen Blanche of Castile and sister of King Louis IX, Isabelle of France (1225-1270) founded the Franciscan abbey of Longchamp and helped create an aura of sanctity around the French royal family.

The Life of Isabelle of France by Agnes of Harcourt, edited by Sean L. Field. The author, Agnes of Harcourt, was abbess of Longchamp, an abbey founded by Isabelle.

Blessed Louis, the Most Glorious of Kings: Texts Relating to the Cult of Saint Louis of France by M. Cecilia Gaposchkin. King Louis IX of France, canonized in 1297, was one of the most important saints and kings of the later Middle Ages. This book presents six previously untranslated texts that informed medieval views of the king as a saint.


The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot. Novel about 13th century sisters Margaret of Provence, wife of King Louis IX of France, and Eleanor of Provence, wife of King Henry III of England.

Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones. Amid the lush valleys of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice are raised by an ambitious mother. Marguerite marries King Louis IX of France. Soon Eléonore is betrothed to Henry III of England. Shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice will also become queens. Enemies are everywhere, and sister is pitted against sister for the prize of Provence itself.

The Valois Dynasty

The House of Valois

Early Modern Era

Vienna and Versailles: The Courts of Europe's Dynastic Rivals, 1550-1780 by Jeroen Duindam. Recreates the lives of courtiers and servants of the imperial court in Vienna and the royal court in Paris-Versailles.

Rulership in France, 15th-17th Centuries by Ralph E. Giesey. Essays about how the image of the king was enhanced in royal ceremonies and political writings.

Martyrs & Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe by Stuart Carroll. Tells the story of one of the most powerful families in 16th-century France. They overthrew the king, ruled Scotland, and ended as martyrs for the Catholic cause.

Custom, Law, and Monarchy: A Legal History of Early Modern France by Marie Seong-Hak Kim. The evolution of law from the 13th through 18th century, with emphasis on 16th century royal reforms.

Women and Queens

Perilous Performances: Gender and Regency in Early Modern France by Katherine Crawford. About three women who reigned for child kings: Catherine de Medicis, Marie de Medicis, and Anne of Austria.

Ruling Women, Volume 1: Government, Virtue, and the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century France by Derval Conroy. An analysis of the debate over government by women in 17th century France.

Ruling Women, Volume 2: Configuring the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century French Drama by Derval Conroy. Analyzes how queenship is portrayed in over 30 plays published between 1637 and 1691.

The Society of Princes: The Lorraine-Guise and the Conservation of Power and Wealth in Seventeenth-Century France by Jonathan Spangler. An examination of relations between the crown and French nobility in the era of absolutism.

The Royal Financial Administration and the Prosecution of Crime in France, 1670-1789 by Albert N. Hamscher. The French monarchy's role in financing criminal prosecutions from the early period of Louis XIV's personal rule to the outbreak of the French Revolution.

France and the Age of Revolution: Regimes Old and New from Louis XIV to Napoleon Bonaparte by William Doyle. The history of France between 1789 and 1815.

Art, Literature & Architecture

Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France edited by Martha Wolff. This catalogue provides an overview of French art circa 1500, bringing to life court artists whose creations were used by kings and queens to assert power and prestige.

Royal Treasures From the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette by Marc Bascou, Michèle Bimbenet-Privat, and Martin Chapman. About French royal patronage and collecting, with full-color illustrations of more than 100 objects alongside essays describing their history and background.

Dairy Queens: The Politics of Pastoral Architecture From Catherine de' Medici to Marie-Antoinette by Meredith Martin. The pleasure dairies of early modern France -- most famously the white marble dairy built for Marie-Antoinette at Versailles -- allowed queens and noblewomen to display their cultivated tastes and proclaim their virtue as mothers and estate managers. Illustrated with images and photographs.

Royal Censorship of Books in Eighteenth-Century France by Raymond Birn. How censors served as cultural intermediaries who expanded public awareness of progressive thought.

Royalty, Religion, Ritual

Death and the Crown: Ritual and Politics in France Before the Revolution by Anne Byrne. Topics include the deathbed and funeral of Louis XV and the coronation of Louis XVI.

The Jesuits and the Monarchy: Catholic Reform and Political Authority in France, 1590-1615 by Eric Nelson. Looks at the relationship of the Jesuits with the monarchy.

Voices of Conscience by Nicole Reinhardt. Royal confessors and political counsel in 17th century Spain and France.

The Bourbons

The Bourbons: The History of a Dynasty by J. H. Shennan. From Henry IV to the French Revolution of 1789.

The Impossible Bourbons: Europe's Most Ambitious Dynasty by Oliver Thomson. Traces the rise of the family up to the modern era and King Juan Carlos.

The Figure of Louis XIII in Modern French Literature: From The Three Musketeers to the Fortune De France by Michael G. Paulson and Tamara Alvarez-Detrell. A history of divergent literary portrayals of the French king.

Sacral Kingship in Bourbon France: The Cult of Saint Louis, 1589-1830 by Sean Heath. The likeness of Louis IX was employed by both royal flatterers and opponents of monarchy.

Henry IV

Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age by Vincent J. Pitts. An unwelcome heir to the throne, Henri ruled a kingdom plagued by instability. Before his assassination in 1610 he pacified his warring country and reclaimed France's power in Europe.

Blood and Religion: The Conscience of Henri IV, 1553-1593 by Ronald S. Love. Examines the king's strong religious beliefs and the profound effect they had on him.

Henry IV and the Towns: The Pursuit of Legitimacy in French Urban Society, 1589-1610 by S. Annette Finley-Croswhite. By reopening the lines of communication between the crown and the towns, Henry IV strengthened the French monarchy.

The First Bourbon: Henry IV, King of France and Navarre by Desmond Seward. Biography of a hard-fighting, hard swearing king who rebuilt France, fought over 200 battles, and had 60 recorded mistresses.

Dancing Queen: Marie de Médicis' Ballets at the Court of Henri IV by Melinda Gough. The ballets of Henri IV's wife Marie manipulated subtle social codes and at times challenged the king's immediate interests.

Queen Jeanne and the Promised Land by David Bryson. Jeanne d'Albret, queen of Navarre, was the mother of King Henry IV.


The Reluctant Queen by Freda Lightfoot. Fiction. In 16th century France, Gabrielle d'Esrées catches the heart of King Henry IV. He promises to marry her, but Gabrielle's difficulties have just begun...

The Queen and the Courtesan by Freda Lightfoot. Henriette d'Entragues isn't satisfied with simply being the mistress of Henry IV of France; she wants a crown too.

Young Henry of Navarre by Heinrich Mann. Classic German literary novel about French king Henry IV.

Henry, King of France by Heinrich Mann. This sequel to Young Henry of Navarre continues the life story of French king Henry IV.

Books About the French Revolution

The Days of the French Revolution by Christopher Hibbert. Author Hibbert writes for general reader unfamiliar with Revolution history, introducing them to Marie Antoinette and others. Includes maps, illustrations, a chronology, a glossary, and a list of major sources. (This review © Amazon.com.)

The French Revolution: From Enlightenment to Tyranny by Ian Davidson. How an immensely complicated revolution subsequently became weighted with political, social, and moral values.

The French Revolution 1787-1804 by P. M. Jones. Includes a chronology, who's who, and glossary.

A New World Begins: The History of the French Revolution by Jeremy D. Popkin. Account of the debates and violence that led to the overthrow of the monarchy and establishment of a new society.

The Oxford History of the French Revolution by William Doyle. Covers the entire reign of Louis XVI and its aftermath.

The Crisis of the Absolute Monarchy: From the Old Regime to the French Revolution edited by Julian Swann and Joël Félix. Essays on the origins of the Revolution.

The Fall of the French Monarchy by Michel Vovelle. Covers the years 1787 through 1792.

The British Monarchy and the French Revolution by Marilyn Morris provides a different angle on royalty and the revolution.

A Companion to the French Revolution edited by Peter McPhee. Twenty-nine essays by historians reassessing the origins, development, and impact of this great turning point in modern history.

Origins and Causes

Overture to Revolution: The 1787 Assembly of Notables and the Crisis of France's Old Regime by John Hardman. The Assembly of Notables in 1787 was the first link in a chain which led to the French Revolution.

Preserving the Monarchy: The Comte De Vergennes, 1774-1787 by Munro Price. Studies Vergennes' role in the debate on the monarchy. His financial reforms were the last attempt to restructure the monarchy in accordance with its traditional principles.

The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution by Roger Chartier and Lydia G. Cochrane considers the causes of the revolution.

Revolutionary Commerce: Globalization and the French Monarchy by Paul Cheney. How the growth of France's Atlantic economy in the 18th century helped to bring down the constitutional monarchy.

Revolutions and the Collapse of the Monarchy: Human Agency and the Making of Revolution in France, Russia and Iran by Zhand Shakibi. Why were Louis XVI, Nicholas II, and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi all overthrown? This is a comparative study of the implosion of the monarchical regimes in Bourbon France, Romanov Russia, and Pahlavi Iran.

The Old Regime and the Revolution, Volume I by Alexis De Tocqueville, translated by Alan S. Kahan. Written in 1851, this book focuses on the meaning and origin of the French Revolution. Volume II: Notes on the French Revolution and Napoleon is also available.

Books About Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette

Louis Philippe II

Godfather of the Revolution: The Life of Philippe Egalité, Duc d'Orleans by Tom Ambrose. Biography of the royal family member who funded the French Revolution and had a long-running feud with Marie Antoinette. His son Louis-Philippe became the last king of France.

An Infamous Mistress by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden. Biography of 18th-century courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott. A mistress of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, she was imprisoned during the French Revolution. She also had an affair with future British king George IV.

During the Reign of Terror: Journal of My Life During the French Revolution by Grace Dalrymple Elliott. Introduced to the Duke of Orleans by Britain's Prince of Wales (later King George IV), Grace Elliot became his mistress and lived through the French Revolution.

Books About King George IV

Louis XIV and His Family

Books About Louis XIV
Books About the Man in the Iron Mask

Louis XV and His Mistresses

Books About King Louis XV

Louis XVI

Books About Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette
Books About the French Revolution

The Bonapartes

Books About Napoleon I
Books About Empress Josephine
More Books About the Bonapartes

Last Years of French Monarchy

Paris Between Empires: Monarchy and Revolution 1814-1852 by Philip Mansel. About the reigns of Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe.

Louis XVIII by Philip Mansel. Louis XVIII is often considered weak and greedy. This biography suggests that he deserves better.

The Constitutional Monarchy in France, 1814-48 by Pamela M. Pilbeam. Although the French experimented with two monarchies and a republic after the defeat of Napoleon, the ruling elites retained basic control.

French Royal Women During the Restoration and July Monarchy: Redefining Women and Power by Heta Aali. Examines public discussions around the duchesse d'Angoulême, the duchesse de Berry, Queen Marie-Amélie, and Adélaïde d'Orléans.

Making Sense of Constitutional Monarchism in Post-Napoleonic France and Germany by Markus J. Prutsch. The attempt to improve traditional forms of monarchical legitimacy with a modern representative constitution.

Rewriting the French Revolutionary Tradition: Liberal Opposition and the Fall of the Bourbon Monarchy by R. S. Alexander. Analyzes relations among the Liberal Opposition, ultra-royalists, and the state during the Bourbon Restoration and early July Monarchy.

Popular Legitimism and the Monarchy in France: Mass Politics Without Parties, 1830-1880 by Bernard Rulof. An analysis of popular monarchism as a mass political movement.

Playing at Monarchy: Sport as Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century France by Corry Cropper. How sports and games (tennis, fencing, bullfighting, chess, trictrac, hunting, and the Olympics) were used to praise and mock class and power structures.

Books About Napoleon III

Louis Philippe I & Descendants

In the Court of the Pear King: French Culture and the Rise of Realism by Sandy Petrey. In 1831, a caricature of French king Louis-Philippe as a pear became a national obsession. Meanwhile, French fiction concentrated on society's power to declare an individual a nonperson or to make plenitude out of emptiness.

France and 1848: The End of Monarchy by William Fortescue. Examines the revolution of 1848, offering new interpretations of events leading up to Louis Philippe's overthrow.

The Wandering Princess: Princess Hélène of France, Duchess of Aosta (1871-1951) by Edward Hanson. Great grand-daughter of French king Louis Philippe I, Helene married into the royal family of Italy. She became a big-game hunter, explorer, travel writer, and head of the Italian Red Cross nurses during the First World War.

Marie-Caroline, Duchess of Berry

The Rebellious Duchess: The Adventures of the Duchess of Berri and Her Attempt to Overthrow French Monarchy by Paul F. S. Dermoncourt. Princess Marie Caroline of Naples and Sicily married the Duke of Berry, nephew of King Louis XVIII. She fled the country in 1830 during the July Revolution, but returned to France to lead an uprising which turned sour.

The Betrayal of the Duchess: The Scandal That Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern by Maurice Samuels. In 1832, the duchesse de Berry plotted to restore the Bourbon dynasty. Her betrayal by an advisor ignited a firestorm of hate against France's Jews.

Palaces and Castles

Books About French Royal Palaces


The Burgundians: A Vanished Empire by Bart Van Loo. The history of the fabulously wealthy dukedom of Burgundy, located between France and Germany.

Robert the Burgundian and the Counts of Anjou, Ca. 1025-1098 by W. Scott Jessee.

Philip the Bold: The Formation of the Burgundian State by Richard Vaughan. A biography of Philip, and a study of the emergence of the Burgundian state under his aegis, 1384-1404.

John the Fearless: The Growth of Burgundian Power by Richard Vaughan. The aims and personality of the second duke, who ruled from 1404-1419.

Philip the Good: The Apogee of Burgundy by Richard Vaughan. In the 15th century, Philip was the influential ruler of a virtually independent state.

Charles the Bold: The Last Valois Duke of Burgundy by Richard Vaughan. An assessment of Charles's personality and his role as ruler (1467-1477), discussing his relationship with his subjects and his neighbors.

Charles the Bold and Italy, 1467-1477: Politics and Personnel by R. J. Walsh. Examines the duke's military, diplomatic, and economic relations with the subcontinent.

George Chastelain and the Shaping of Valois Burgundy: Political and Historical Culture at Court in the Fifteenth Century by Graeme Small. George Chastelain (c. 1414-1475) was official chronicler to the dukes Philip the Good and Charles the Bold. This book offers account of his life and career, followed by a study of the chronicle.

Splendour of the Burgundian Court: Charles the Bold (1433-1477) edited by Susan Marti, Till-Holger Borchert, and Gabriele Keck. Essays and full-color illustrations of objects from an exhibition on Charles the Bold. (Exhibition catalog)

Golden Age of Burgundy: The Magnificent Dukes and Their Courts by Joseph L. Calmette. Four dukes -- Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good, and Charles the Rash -- ruled Burgundy in its golden age and dared challenge the power of France.

Books About Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy


Lonely Planet Corsica by Jean-Bernard Carillet and Miles Roddis. This travel guide includes a chapter on the history of Corsica.

Theodore von Neuhoff, King of Corsica: The Man Behind the Legend by Julie Gasper. Biography of the German baron who in 1736 had himself proclaimed and crowned King of Corsica.

The King of Corsica by Michael Kleeberg, translated by David Dollenmayer. Novel based on the true story of Theodor von Neuhoff, an impoverished 18th century aristocrat who became a double agent and in 1736 had himself proclaimed king by the Corsicans.

Movies and Documentaries

These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.

Queen Margot starring Isabelle Adjani. A 1995 movie based on the Alexandre Dumas novel about the wife of Henry IV of France, who went to war against her husband and her brother, Henry III.

DVDs About Queen Margot
DVDs About the Man in the Iron Mask
DVDs About Marie Antoinette
DVDs About Napoleon
DVDs About Charlemagne
World Royalty Movies & Documentaries

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