Welcome to the mini tour for My Queen, My Love by Elena Maria Vidal. Read on for details and a chance to win a paperback copy of the book!
My Queen, My Love: A Novel of Henrietta Maria (The Henrietta of France Trilogy Book 1)
Publication Date: November 25th, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Henrietta Maria
Publisher: Mayapple Books
The youngest daughter of Henri IV, the first Bourbon King of France, Henriette-Marie always knew she would have to marry a prince. When the Prince of Wales, Charles Stuart, travels through Paris he sees her dancing at the Louvre and within two years a marriage is arranged. However, Henriette is Catholic and Catholicism is banned in England. In preparing to become Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, Henriette has no idea of the obstacles that must be overcome before she can find happiness with Charles. The main hindrance, she soon realizes, is not the difference in religion but Charles’ best friend, George Villiers, the handsome Duke of Buckingham, who is determined to subdue Henriette to his will. Buckingham forgets that Henriette is also half Medici and underestimates her determination to succeed as well as the depth of her love for Charles. My Queen, My Love is the first novel in the Henrietta of France Trilogy by acclaimed author Elena Maria Vidal. It describes the early years of the tumultuous marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria which preceded the English Civil Wars of the Seventeenth Century.
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11 May, 1625 dawned dark and dreary, as the heavens opened and drenched Paris in a driving rain. Henriette had a quiet morning at the Louvre, with Madame Garnier and Mamangat insisting that she eat. Then she bathed, and around two o’clock in the afternoon was enveloped in a wrapper to be driven in a coach with an armed escort through the torrential downpour to the Archbishop’s palace. The streets of Paris were crowded in spite of the deluge, and she was cheered through the streets, which in the showers were like streams. When they reached the Archbishop’s palace next to Notre Dame she was bundled up to the room where her gown and jewels were awaiting her. Several of the highest ranking ladies in the kingdom were there to dress her. Her gown had been brushed and cleaned, having been spotted with wax from dripping candles and a few stains of red wine. It now sparkled more gloriously than ever. And this time, she was wearing a crown! Her mother Queen Marie supervised the adjusting of the diamond crown with a single large pearl in the front on Henriette’s curls, which the dampness of the air had made more tight and abundant. Around her shoulders was placed an ermine-lined blue velvet mantle, embroidered with gold fleur de lys. The Princesse de Condé, the Princesse de Conti and the Comtesse de Soissons, mother of Henriette’s rejected suitor, were to carry the mantle and the cloth of gold train but found them too heavy. It was feared that Henriette would be pulled backwards so it was decided that an officer would walk under it, supporting the mantle and train with his head and hands.
At five o’clock in the evening, she was finally ready, and her brothers Louis and Gaston arrived to escort her to the Cathedral. Louis XIII was crowned and arrayed in a tunic of scarlet velvet, covered with cloth of gold. He was to walk on her right and her brother Gaston on her left. Gaston was debonair in a suit of silver lamé. Anne had come with Louis; she was also crowned and completely resplendent in a gown and mantle of cloth of gold and silver. Maman wore black silk embroidered in gold with a pearl and ruby coronet.
In the hall of the Archbishop’s palace the procession was arranged. Henriette could see the doors open as they set forth. Remarkably, the rain had ceased and the sun was shining! Leading the way was an officer known as the Captain of the Gate, behind whom walked a hundred of the King’s Swiss Guard, drums beating and banners flying. They were followed by a band of musicians, then the heralds with trumpets, whose blaring made Henriette’s heart leap with exultation. After them marched the Marshals of France, then the peers of the realm. They were followed by the proxy bridegroom the Duc de Chevreuse and the English ambassadors, the Earls of Carlisle and Holland, all three of whom were in cloth of gold like King Louis. Behind those three gentlemen, Henriette walked with her two brothers, trailed by the ladies and gentleman carrying the train. Finally there came Queen Marie and Queen Anne.
A long wooden gallery lined in colorful carpets and tapestries led from the Archbishop’s palace to the west portals of the Cathedral, where a platform under a canopy of cloth of gold had been erected. The vows would be exchanged at the doors of the church, according to the ancient tradition. Within and without the Cathedral wooden stands had been built for people to sit and see what they could see. Citizens were also gathered on roofs of houses, on balconies, and leaning out of windows. On the platform, under a canopy of cloth of gold, Cardinal de Rochefoucault awaited the bridal party. As Henriette and her brothers appeared, the crowds cheered deliriously. The entire bridal party ascended the platform. Henriette wished she had been able to practice climbing the steps in all her regalia; mercifully the steps had been carpeted or else she would surely have slipped off. Henriette and the Duc de Chevreuse knelt on prie-dieus before the Cardinal, who received their marital vows. After being married, Henriette arose and turned; she saw the English ambassadors kneeling before her.
“Your Majesty,” said the Earl of Carlisle in English, kissing the hem of her skirt.
“God save the Queen!” The Earl of Holland proclaimed, using English as well.
“I am Queen of England,” she thought, wishing Charles was with her. And she descended the platform and entered the great cathedral with her brothers, as the organ and chanting of the choir lifted her heart to heaven.
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About the Author
Elena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, “fair as the garden of the Lord” as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.
Elena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children’s etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwards she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.
In November 2009, THE NIGHT’S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. She is a member of the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family. Her fourth novel, THE PARADISE TREE, about her Irish ancestors, was published in Fall 2014. Her first biography, MARIE-ANTOINETTE, DAUGHTER OF THE CAESARS, was published in Spring 2016.
In November 2021, My Queen, My Love: A Novel of Henrietta Maria, was published as the first installment of the Henrietta of France Trilogy.
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