Justin C. Vovk
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Imperial Requiem (Second Edition)

Four Royal Women and the Fall of the Age of Empires

The epic story of four reigning consorts, the wives of the monarchs of Europe's last empires during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

At the centers of these four great imperial monarchies were Augusta Victoria, Germany's revered empress whose unwavering devotion to her bombastic husband, Kaiser Wilhelm II, made her a national icon; Mary, whose Cinderella story and immense personal strength made her the heart and soul of the British monarchy for more than four decades; Alexandra, the ill-fated tsarina who helped topple the Russian monarchy through her ineffective rule; and Zita, the pious, resolute empress of Austria whose story of loss and exile captivated the world's attention for seventy years.

Using a diverse array of primary and secondary sources, letters, diary entries, and interviews with descendants, Imperial Requiem provides an in-depth look into the lives of four princesses who married for love, graced imperial thrones, and watched as their worlds were torn apart by war, revolution, heartache, and loss.





In Destiny's Hands


The compelling and timeless story of a royal mother whose ambition led to the downfall of five of her own children.

Empress Maria Theresa has been praised as the greatest ruler in Austrian history. She defeated Europe’s kings and seized the imperial crown; she was a respected, admired ruler whose legacy can still be felt today. Her greatest legacy, though, was five of her children, two of whom were reigning emperors, and three of whom were reigning consorts. They have become the stuff of legends because of the tragic lives they lead, orchestrated by their imperialistic mother. In Destiny’s Hands is the first book to weave together the powerful, epic stories of these five reigning monarchs who also happened to be siblings.

Emperor Joseph II was hailed as Austria’s “philosopher king,” but instead forced his empire to the brink of civil war; Amalia, the brazen and scandalous duchess of Parma, married a boy-prince and spent her last years exiled and forgotten; Leopold, Tuscany’s wise and benevolent grand duke, struggled to keep the Habsburg Empire in tact until the final days of his life; Queen Maria Carolina, brave and courageous, fought Napoleon with her dying breath; and Marie Antoinette, the unprepared teenage bride, lost her head on the guillotine, a testimony to her mother’s vain ambition.