Most people think of princesses as Disney cartoon characters: a girl on the cusp of adulthood, who sings songs with her attendant birds and chipmunks, discovers that she can fulfill her dreams and find the love of her life in the span of a few cinematic scenes. They think of Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, Grace Kelly, and, more recently, Meghan Markle. With their charitable endeavors and keen fashion sensibilities, modern princesses are often held up as role models, though not even they have been spared the same critical eye that history has cast upon female royalty across the ages.
In Quirk Books’ Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History—Without the Fairy-Tale Endings, journalist Linda Rodriguez McRobbie engagingly presents the lives of real princesses—whether royal by birth, marriage, or imagination—who fought, stole, schemed, and partied as they made their way through a complicated world. In this well-researched and thorough account of more than thirty truly remarkable women, stories that are incomplete or poorly documented are given careful consideration. McRobbie—who writes for the Boston Globe, Guardian, Smithsonian, and Atlas Obscura—reveals the historical context that underpins their actions with the bias of primary accounts reframed in a feminist light.
Thanks to our friends at Quirk Books, we’re sharing one of our favorite stories from the book, “Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel , The Princess Who Didn’t Wash.”
Check it out on the next page!