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Embroidering Her Truth: Mary, Queen of Scots and the Language of Power

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At her execution Mary, Queen of Scots wore red. Widely known as the colour of strength and passion, it was in fact worn by Mary as the Catholic symbol of martyrdom.

In sixteenth-century Europe women's voices were suppressed and silenced. Even for a queen like Mary, her prime duty was to bear sons. In an age when textiles expressed power, Mary exploited them to emphasise her female agency. From her lavishly embroidered gowns as the prospective wife of the French Dauphin to the fashion dolls she used to encourage a Marian style at the Scottish court and the subversive messages she embroidered in captivity for her supporters, Mary used textiles to advance her political agenda, affirm her royal lineage and tell her own story.

In this eloquent cultural biography, Clare Hunter exquisitely blends history, politics and memoir to tell the story of a queen in her own voice.

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Author: Clare Hunter

Format: Paperback

Size: 126 mm x 198 mm

Pages: 416

Staff Review: 

Forget dusty biographies – Clare Hunter's "Embroidering Her Truth" threads Mary, Queen of Scots' story with captivating textile insights, revealing a hidden language of power and defiance.

Beyond the usual political machinations, Hunter delves into the symbolic world of Mary's clothing, tapestries, and even fashion dolls. Lavish embroidery wasn't just decoration but a strategic tool, silently proclaiming lineage, agendas, and even resistance messages during imprisonment.

This isn't just historical intrigue, though. Hunter, herself a textile artist, injects personal anecdotes and reflections, weaving a tapestry of empathy and understanding with the historical threads. The result is a fresh, engaging perspective on a familiar figure. Mary emerges not just as a queen but a woman using the tools available to navigate a complex and often hostile world.

But beware, history buffs! While Hunter meticulously researches and cites sources, this isn't a dry academic tome. She blends facts with captivating storytelling, bringing Mary's world vividly to life. You'll feel the prick of the needle, the weight of the crown, and the quiet hum of defiance in every stitch.

Whether you're a history enthusiast, a textile lover, or drawn to strong female voices, "Embroidering Her Truth" is a captivating read. It's a reminder that sometimes, the most powerful stories are told not in grand pronouncements but in the whispers of needle and thread. So, pick up this book and prepare to be enthralled by the hidden language woven into the life of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Reviewed by Chris (Retail Supervisor)