6 great books about British queens

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2. The Second Queen: She Who Won but Lost Her Head

Sensuous, sly, and flirtatious – and a bit of a looker to boot – Anne Boleyn was almost the exact opposite of Catherine of Aragon. It's no wonder she caught the king's wandering eye and set off the grandest English drama outside of Shakespeare.

There are piles of history books about Boleyn and more historical novels than you can shake a scepter at. Best-selling author Alison Weir's dense books about British history can be heavy-sledding at times, but her recent "The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn" has gotten strong reviews. Booklist calls it "well-researched and compulsively readable."

Boleyn ultimately ran afoul of the king and lost her life. She got the last laugh, however: her daughters became a monarch, the remarkable Elizabeth I, and set a standard for every British leader to come.

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