Book Review : Royal family, Royal Lovers By David M. Bergeron



A study of the lives of the Stuart royal family. Written in an accessible style, the narrative moves chronologically from James’s birth in 1566 to his death in 1625. It is aimed at the general reader as well as historians and describes a family divided by jealousy, neglect and the violence of war. A cousin, denied marriage to the man she loves, dies locked in a tower; a young prince, heir-expectant, dies suddenly; a princess marries a German prince and then finds herself the prisoner of European wars; a king-father, noted for his peacemaking, ensnares his country in a war as his life ends; a queen-mother, determined to nurture her young children, finds herself estranged from them.



I have read articles and varies things in books  on James I and VI but this is the first time I actually read a biography that was entirely dedicated to James.   I thought that David M.  Bergeron did an amazing  job in chronicling James life. Mr.  Bergeron is a Professor at the University of  Kansas.  He has published several works on Shakespeare, Renaissance, drama, civic pageantry, and the Stuart Royal family.

Bergeron has  told James life from three different spans, his time in Scotland,  his accession to the English crown, and finally the  last years of his life.  The book examines  James in various from father,  husband, lover, and finally King.   The author introduces the theme of “silence”  in regards to James life.  I thought he did an excellent  job in making these connections throughout the book.  In the first part of the book the author goes into James earlier years,  touches briefly on the events happening before his birth.

Tragedy struck James at an early age with the murder of his father,  and it was rumored that his mother was involve in the plot to kill him.  Then subquently the abandonment of his mother who fled Scotland and was later became of the Prisoner of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England.  James  was under the care of four regents who wanted to control both James and the crown for their own political agenda’s.

All of these events clearly had an impact on James throughout his life.   We can see an example of this when his wife, Anne of Denmark,  gave birth to the couples first child. Anne wanted Henry with her,  but James  ignoring his wife’s wishes sent Henry to live with the family that had once taken care of him as a child.  He seemed to think that handing his child over to strangers was a normal thing to do.  He was “Silent” to Anne pain, who of course was upset that her child was being handed to others to raise.

There  are a lot more examples of silences throughout the book,  but I don’t want to ruin them for you, because I want you to read the book.  Though the book in technically has four chapters,  the chapters are very long and detailed,  which I absolutely love in book.   Plus it kept me engaged, I could put it down.  I am usually a slow reader,  but I read this book fairly quickly.  I highly recommend this book if your wanting to read something on James I .