Cover image for Daughters of the Winter Queen : four remarkable sisters, the crown of Bohemia, and the enduring legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots / Nancy Goldstone.
Daughters of the Winter Queen : four remarkable sisters, the crown of Bohemia, and the enduring legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots / Nancy Goldstone.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.

Physical Description:
viii, 480 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map, portraits, chart, genealogical table ; 25 cm
Selected genealogy of the Stuart family -- Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, granddaughter of Mary, Queen of Scots -- The daughters of the Winter Queen: Princess Elizabeth, Louise Hollandine, Henrietta Maria, and Sophia -- The legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Documents how a betrayed Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of James I, raised her four daughters in exile during the Dutch Golden Age, tracing how their stories shaped a three-decade war and fulfilled the promises of their great-grandmother, Mary Queen of Scots.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
943.7023092 GOL Book Adult General Collection

On Order



The thrilling family saga of five unforgettable women who remade Europe

From the great courts, glittering palaces, and war-ravaged battlefields of the seventeenth century comes the story of four spirited sisters and their glamorous mother, Elizabeth Stuart, granddaughter of the martyred Mary, Queen of Scots.
Upon her father's ascension to the illustrious throne of England, Elizabeth Stuart was suddenly thrust from the poverty of unruly Scotland into the fairy-tale existence of a princess of great wealth and splendor. When she was married at sixteen to a German count far below her rank, it was with the understanding that her father would help her husband achieve the kingship of Bohemia. The terrible betrayal of this commitment would ruin "the Winter Queen," as Elizabeth would forever be known, imperil the lives of those she loved, and launch a war that would last for thirty years.
Forced into exile, the Winter Queen and her family found refuge in Holland, where the glorious art and culture of the Dutch Golden Age indelibly shaped her daughters' lives. Her eldest, Princess Elizabeth, became a scholar who earned the respect and friendship of the philosopher René Descartes. Louisa was a gifted painter whose engaging manner and appealing looks provoked heartache and scandal. Beautiful Henrietta Maria would be the only sister to marry into royalty, although at great cost. But it was the youngest, Sophia, a heroine in the tradition of a Jane Austen novel, whose ready wit and good-natured common sense masked immense strength of character, who fulfilled the promise of her great-grandmother Mary and reshaped the British monarchy, a legacy that endures to this day.
Brilliantly researched and captivatingly written, filled with danger, treachery, and adventure but also love, courage, and humor, Daughters of the Winter Queen follows the lives of five remarkable women who, by refusing to surrender to adversity, changed the course of history.

Author Notes

Nancy Goldstone is the author of five previous books including The Rival Queens: Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom; The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc; Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe; and The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily. She has also coauthored six books with her husband, Lawrence Goldstone. She lives in Sagaponack, New York.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

"It is simply not possible to fully understand the seventeenth century in all of its exuberant, glorious complexity without this family," proclaims Goldstone (The Rival Queens) of Elizabeth Stuart (1596-1662), daughter of James I of England, and her children. This lively, well-researched group biography focuses as much on the mother as on her more famous daughters. Elizabeth's marriage to Frederick, Elector Palatine-a powerful count, but still far below her in rank-was very happy but plagued by political disasters; for nearly 30 years, Elizabeth toiled to reclaim his territory for her children. Among those children were the daughters whose stories Goldstone tells: Princess Elizabeth, an intellectual equal to and intimate correspondent of Descartes, who eventually became abbess of a Protestant convent; Louisa, a talented painter, who converted to Catholicism before also becoming an abbess; Henrietta Maria, who died shortly after marriage; and Sophia, a spirited matriarch, who finally restored the family fortunes when her eldest son became King George I of England. Goldstone occasionally overreaches, making somewhat unlikely sweeping claims (for example, that the fearlessness and persistence of Elizabeth and her daughters was necessarily due to their descent from Mary, Queen of Scots), but clearly presents a captivating story with empathy and humor in a relaxed, entertaining, modern voice. B&w plates. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

NANCY GOLDSTONE SPECIALIZES In royal ladies. (Her previous books include "The Rival Queens," "Four Queens" and "The Lady Queen.") Now, prudently avoiding the often-told tale of two regal and inimical cousins - Elizabeth Ttidor, Queen of England, and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots - Goldstone weaves her way through a turbulent century of civil war, regicide and revolution to show us, in the search for a Protestant successor to the eventually childless Queen Anne, how Scottish Mary's feisty great-granddaughter Sophia almost became Queen of England. Almost, but not quite. Sophia, the spirited octogenarian Electress of Hanover, was felled by a heart attack in 1714, two months before the death of the monarch she had been expecting to succeed. Instead, the throne went to her son George, the first in a line of puffy, pink-faced German Protestants to wear the English crown. His wife, incarcerated for misbehaving with a dashing Swedish courtier, remained in Germany. Goldstone's forthright and often witty asides keep this complicated story bowling along at a terrific pace. Commenting on young James VI of Scotland's penchant for toadying to his aunt, England's aging Queen Elizabeth, Goldstone notes that "this expedient was somewhat put to the test in the aftermath of his mother's beheading." Pondering the multiple duplication of names in regal dynasties, she tartly comments that it's "no wonder no one understands this period." Goldstone is right. In addition to her book's genealogical chart, a timeline might have helped readers follow the intricate twists in the chain of power that led from beheaded Mary, via her son, to his brave, charming and accomplished daughter Elizabeth. The irresistibly poignant Elizabeth Stuart, sister of Charles I (another monarch who lost his head), was called "the winter queen" after her ill-starred single-season reign as Queen of Bohemia. Hard though Goldstone works, she fails to inject the daughters of her book's title (Princesses Elizabeth, Louisa, Henrietta Maria and Sophia) with the charisma of their mother, also known in her day as "the queen of hearts" and even as "the most charming princess of Europe." Beneath that charm lay a will of steel. In 1636, the widowed Elizabeth commissioned the Dutch painter Gerrit van Honthorst to celebrate her in a work called "Triumph of the Winter Queen." An immense group portrait, Honthorst's painting imagines the moment when his patron's family (its benevolent ancestors beaming down encouragement upon the living) will vanquish their enemies and return to Heidelberg, whose fortress was captured during the king and queen's misguided move east into Bohemia. Regaining the lost Palatinate became Elizabeth's prime objective. It was one in which her daughters were expected to play a key role, through expedient alliances. But thanks to Sophia, youngest and liveliest of the four young women, the family gained another, larger prize. Sophia, recorded late in life as an indefatigable walker and a forthright septuagenarian with "not one wrinkle in her face," was both clever (she held her own against Leibniz, possibly the greatest philosopher of the day) and acid-tongued (declaring that her aunt Henrietta Maria, Charles I of England's fugitive French queen, had teeth "like guns protruding from a fort"). When her sister Louisa, a talented artist who became abbess of a nunnery, tried to convert her to Roman Catholicism, Sophia briskly denounced it as "a very evil religion." Loyalty to her mother's faith almost brought its own reward: Had she lived just 54 days longer, Sophia, rather than her son, would have become England's first Hanoverian monarch. Lively and well-researched, "Daughters of the Winter Queen" offers a timely introduction to a turbulent period in Britain's past relations with Europe. Although thrones no longer play a significant role, equally fearsome battles are now being fought as negotiators attack the complexities of Brexit. Even the intrepid Elizabeth Stuart might have given up in despair. MIRANDA SEYMOUR'S most recent book is "In Byron's Wake."

Library Journal Review

Goldstone (The Rival Queens) once again places a much-deserved spotlight on remarkable women from European history. In this case, the enduring ancestral legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87). Mary's granddaughter Elizabeth Stuart, known as "the Winter Queen," is less familiar than that of her grandmother, who was beheaded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1587 (nine years before Stuart was born). But the story of the Winter Queen and her colorful brood of children-one of whom fathered King George I-rivals that of the Tudors. Goldstone's journey begins with Mary's brutal beheading and takes us through the eventual ascension of her son to the throne, triggering a series of dramatic generational events that include jealous gun-wielding queens, shifting loyalties, scandalous affairs, unprecedented marital arrangements, endless war, and religious fanaticism. Most importantly, we learn of the impressive power and influence of Stuart and her four daughters, which endures to this day. VERDICT A compulsively readable account of an otherwise unfamiliar royal family. Goldstone writes with knowledge, humor, and ease-a masterly storyteller who steers clear of overly academic language. Ideal for amateur Tudor historians who wish to be introduced to a lesser-known yet equally fascinating royal family.-Erin Entrada Kelly, Philadelphia © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mapp. x-xi
Selected Genealogy of the Stuart Familyp. xii-xiii
Introductionp. 3
Part I Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, Granddaughter of Mary, Queen of Scots
1 A King's Daughterp. 11
2 (An Almost) Royal Weddingp. 30
3 Goodwife Palsgravep. 52
4 Queen of Bohemiap. 70
5 The Winter Queenp. 88
6 Queen of Heartsp. 108
Part II The Daughters of the Winter Queen: Princess Elizabeth, Louise Hollandine, Henrietta Maria, and Sophia
7 A Royal Refugeep. 137
8 Child of Light and Darkp. 149
9 Lilies and Rosesp. 163
10 A Royal Educationp. 177
11 The Visiting Philosopherp. 195
12 A Scandal in Bohemiap. 219
13 Honor and Dutyp. 235
14 Royal Sense and Sensibilityp. 259
15 A Lesson on the Passionsp. 271
16 A Desperate Planp. 287
17 The Electress, Two Dukes, and the Lady-in-Waitingp. 311
Part III The Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots
18 Abbess of Herfordp. 341
19 Abbess of Maubuissonp. 363
20 A Scandal in Hanoverp. 389
21 The Triumph of the Winter Queenp. 419
Epiloguep. 431
Acknowledgmentsp. 433
Notesp. 437
Selected Bibliographyp. 461
Illustration Creditsp. 469
Indexp. 471