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Ena, Spain's English Queen (Biography & Memoirs)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Ena, Spain's English Queen (Biography & Memoirs).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Gerard Noel(Author)

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This biography of Queen Ena gives a balanced account of her personal life, illustrated by many anecdotes, and a wider perspective of European history and the intricacies of Spanish politics from the 18th century onwards.'

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Book details

  • PDF | 324 pages
  • Gerard Noel(Author)
  • Constable; New edition edition (14 Aug. 1989)
  • English
  • 2
  • Biography

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Review Text

  • By Julian C Green on 5 December 1999

    I am certainly not usually drawn to royal biographies! I was drawn to this particular book as I am English but living in Spain, and was unaquainted with the period of history before the Second Republic. Indeed I knew nothing of Queen Ena at all.Gerard Noel has researched his subject well and presents an eminently readable and concise life of an interesting figure. He escapes the excesses of gossipy royal biographies (of which the last ten years has seen many examples) though does face up to the darker side of the Spanish royal family, but never in a sensational way. He demonstrates how this most English queen felt ill at ease in what was at that time a most 'backward' country, and how the whole history of her marriage to Alfonso XIII from the very marriage day on which they were almost assassinated was one of sadness and pain.What makes Gerard Noel's biography so compelling is his evident understanding of the temperament of his subject, as well as a wide knowledge of the wider historical context. He is always measured in his criticism and fairly deals with all the characters he describes.This is certainly a book which will interest anyone wanting to know about Spain at this most volatile of times in its history. It will not interest those who are seeking to dig up royal dirt.

  • By SusieQ on 31 August 2004

    This is a very good biography -- well-written and interesting -- BUT -- I personally would have liked to learn more about Ena's inner life. For instance, what was her relationship with her mother and her brothers? They are given almost no mention here. What did Ena feel when her brother Maurice was killed in WWI, only 3 days after she gave birth to her last child? How did she feel when her brother Leopold died in 1922? Why was her relationship with her son Jaime so cold? How did she cope on a day-to-day basis with the raising of two hemophaliac sons? We know that the heir to the throne was afflicted in "its most severe form"; I'd like to know what that meant, exactly. Apparently the youngest son was not so badly afflicted, but that's just an assumption. We don't learn much about any of her children's characters. Were the prosepective husbands of the two daughters of Ena warned about the disease, like King Alfonso was? We don't learn this either.The treatment of the subject of hemophalia, particularly, is where "Ena" would have benefited from a writer familiar with the disease, as Robert Massie was for "Nicholas & Alexandra". Mr. Noel merely repeats a large portion of what he wrote about the disease in his own "Princess Alice-Queen Victoria's Forgotten Daughter", instead of looking more closely at the disease and its impacts on family members.Otherwise, it's quite a good biography, but I'd have liked a bit more meat. I don't mean a trashy tell-all; just more about the subject's feelings, & more information on her extended familyrelationships. This one is quite good on Ena's marriage, but that's about it for the family relationships. With these caveats, I rate this biography 3 1/2 stars.

  • By SusieQ on 14 December 2004

    I liked this biography, it is well written, BUT, I have a few caveats. While sympathetic to Ena's marital problems, it is not too revealing about Ena, the person. For instance, Ena's three brothers and mother, and her relationship with them, are given scant mention (I believe I counted 3 mentions in total of her brothers). Her relationships with her sons and daughters are not given any attention, either. Spanish politics, and the disintigration of her marriage, are given full coverage, but Ena the person is missing. Did she grieve when her brother Maurice was killed in WWI, two days after the birth of her last child? (His death isn't even mentioned!) Why was her relationship with her son, Don Jaime, so cold? Did she maintain contact with her oldest & youngest sons after they made their marriages with commoners? None of these questions are answered. No letters are quoted. For these reasons, this biography is incomplete, and the real portrait of Ena has yet to be written.I preferred Mr. Noel's "Princess Alice, Queen Victoria's Forgotten Daughter", much more than this work. But I noted, thanks to my having read "Alice" previously: instead of taking the time to research haemophilia and a mother's reaction to being a carrier, Mr. Noel merely repeats, word for word, what he wrote about haemophilia in "Alice", which is not very sympathetic at all. Empress Alexandra was far better served by the writer Robert Massie, in relation to the issue of haemophilia, than Mr. Noel serves Ena. It must have been DEVASTATING to her, to give birth to 2 haemophiliac sons, yet we are given no evidence whatsoever of her pain. Also, I'd like to know if, as a carrier, did Ena experience any of the type of problems with her health as Empress Alexandra evidently did? Even in a minor way? But again, we are given nothing.It's a real shame, because there must be so much information that was not used. Admittedly this biography was written when some resources were not available, but they must be by now, and the book could use "opening up". If letters between Ena and her mother exist, or between Ena and her brothers, they should be published so that the collections and this biography could complement each other and give us the wider picture. I was not seeking a "trashy tell-all", but I did want to know more about Ena, and I don't really feel I know much more than I did before I read this book! Superficially, yes, but on a personal level, not at all.


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