The King’s Daughter is a story about the “First Daughter of England” Elizabeth Stuart. The only surviving daughter of James I of England and VI of Scotland, Elizabeth was third in line to the throne and seen by her father as a potential threat. At the age of 9 she foiled a kidnap attempt by the ‘Gunpowder Plotters’ who intended to murder her father and elder brother and put her on the throne in their place. Unfortunately, that did nothing for her relationship with her father who suspected her of collusion with the traitors. From then on he kept a close eye on her and made sure she knew nothing of his plans for her, except, as with so many other princesses of times past, that he wanted simply to marry her off to the most advantageous suitor without compassion for her feelings. He kept her in uncertainty for years so that finally she wondered whether in fact her wouldn’t marry her off at all but just wait until she was desperate enough to marry secretly so that he could lock her up in The Tower for treason.
Having had my (temporary) fill of the Wars of the Roses and The Tudors, I picked up this book about the Stuarts, of whom I knew next to nothing. The character of Elizabeth was completely new to me and I found her to be quite sympathetic, she wasn’t overly ferocious nor excessively timid. And despite her father’s aversion to educating females, she wasn’t empty headed either. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the events in the book but I enjoyed (if that is the right word) the author’s portrayal of a lewd, hedonistic King James and the lovable baby Charles, who wasn’t expected to reach adulthood, turning into a spoilt brat when he became first in line to the throne.
I found The King’s Daughter to be a light, easy and entertaining read and a good opener to the reign of the Stuarts, leaving me eager to read more.