Des Johnston

Although I have often felt that monarchs were accorded more than their fair share of space in history books, nevertheless the fact that they were often endowed with real personal authority means that their influence on events is always worth observing.

We are accustomed to reading of monarchs who were much influenced by a particular advisor or group of advisors. Perhaps not enough attention has been paid to the less-observed influence on history of their consorts. (Yet another topic could be the influence of their “mistresses” – or the male equivalent!)

The nature of royal “marriages” needs to be looked at first. Such official liaisons had one supreme purpose in mind – the production of a suitable heir – a relationship perhaps more appropriate to the world of agriculture  than to that of Mills and Boone. Alongside that was the diplomatic aspect of royal marriages, where a consort was recruited from…

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