The Bourbon Kings of France

  • England, 1978 (Constable, History Book Club); 2013 (Thistle Publishing paperback and e-book)
  • USA, 1976 (Barnes & Noble)


The story of the Bourbon kings encompasses the two most glorious centuries in French history – and this is a narrative account of them written for the general reader. In 1589 the Kings of France and Navarre emerged from a shadowy line of medieval princes to rule France for over 200 years, making her the greatest power in Europe, prime mover in endless wars, creators of the splendour of Versailles, survivors of the French Revolution. They began with Henri IV, with his courage, gaiety and sixty-four mistresses; among them were such famous figures as the Sun King, Louis XIV, and Louis XVI who ended under the guillotine; and they ended with ‘Henri V’ – expected to return and rule France in 1873, but whose refusal to exchange the Bourbons’ Lily Banner for the Tricolore lost the throne for ever. The book sets the kings in perspective, each with his entourage of cardinals, generals, mistresses and queens, each wrestling with a reactionary aristocracy and France’s financial crises.

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Reviews of: The Bourbon Kings of France

  • A blending of wide historical knowledge and vigorous independent judgement to make a lively, exciting but dependable account for the general reader.

    John Raymond, Sunday Times
  • Enormously entertaining … an excellent read … a cross between a package tour of the Bourbon dynasty and a Guide Michelin to the favourites, mistresses and ministers of the French monarchy.