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In this lively and pathbreaking book, William Monter sketches Europe's increasing acceptance of autonomous female rulers between the late Middle Ages and the French Revolution. Monter surveys the governmental records of Europe's thirty women monarchsthe famous (Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great) as well as the obscure (Charlotte of Cyprus, Isabel Clara Eugenia of the Netherlands)describing how each of them achieved sovereign authority, wielded it, and (more often than men) abandoned it. Monter argues that Europe's female kings, who ruled by divine right, experienced no significant political opposition despite their gender.
William Monter is professor emeritus of history, Northwestern University. He lives in Wilmette, IL.