She ascended the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1702, at age thirty-seven, and five years later united two of her realms, England and Scotland, as a sovereign state, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. By the end of her comparatively short twelve-year reign, Britain had emerged as a great power--the succession of outstanding victories won by her general, John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough--had humbled France, and laid the foundations for Britain's future naval and colonial supremacy.
While the Queen's military was performing dazzling exploits on the continent, her own attention--indeed her realm--rested on a more intimate conflict: the female friendship, on which her happiness had for decades depended and which became for her a source of utter torment.
At the core of Anne Somerset's fascinating new biography, just published to acclaim in England ("Formidable" --Sunday Times, London; "Wonderfully pacy and absorbing" --Daily Mail), is a portrait of this fraught, complex bond between two very different women: Queen Anne, reserved, stolid, shrewd; and Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, wife of the Queen's great general--beautiful, willful, outspoken, whose acerbic wit was equally matched by her fearsome temper.
The book tells the extraordinary drama of how Sarah goaded and provoked the Queen beyond endurance, and, after the withdrawal of Anne's favor, how her replacement, Sarah's cousin, the feline Abigail Masham, another lady-in-waiting, became the ubiquitous royal confidante and, Sarah publicly claimed to great scandal, the object of the Queen's sexual infatuation.
About Anne Somerset
Anne Somerset was born in England in 1955 and educated in London, Gloucestershire, and Kent. After studying history at King’s College, London, she worked as a research assistant for various historians. She is the author of The Life and Times of William IV, Ladies-in-Waiting: From the Tudors to the Present Day, Unnatural Murder: Poison at the Court of James I, and The Affair of Poisons. She is married and lives in London.