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Prince Rupert

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Prince Rupert is best known as the poster boy of the Royalist cause. He was the dynamic leader of Charles I's Cavaliers – the fearless champion of the King.

In this new exploration Charles Spencer follows the prince from his exile and three years a prisoner of war, to his exhilarating years in the Civil War.

After Royalist defeat Rupert served Louis XIV, before leading Charl
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 29th 2008 by Phoenix (first published June 12th 2007)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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The figure of Prince Rupert of the Rhine often hovers just off the center of Civil War/Restoration-era Stuart England history (almost quite literally as Rupert was 6’4” in height which was 9” above the average for that time). Yet, even though his name comes up time and time again; his life story and biography isn’t definitive and has notably been bypassed, in general. Charles Spencer aims to remedy this and introduce the princely nephew of King Charles I in, “Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier”.

Jill Hutchinson
An excellent biography of the last Cavalier, written by Charles, Earl Spencer. Prince Rupert fought for the Royalists as Charles I was being overthrown in the Civil War. He continued to be a supporter of the royal dynasty even after the King was executed. He came back to England when Charles II took the throne and was a respected advisor to the King. A very interesting man in a time of unrest and revolution in England. Recommended.
There isn't, technically, a map at the front, but there are several maps, and they serve the map-in-the-front purpose, so . . . so there. Also, not an actual selection of the SILS book club, but the club chose Biography/Memoir for this month's reading theme, and I picked this one because I remembered Prince Rupert of the Rhine as an intriguing figure in my awesome Stuart England class from undergrad.

Which memory, by the way, was spot-on. This exhaustively researched and well-cited book follows R
Elizabeth Bailey
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm afraid I abandoned this one. It was rather dry, though interesting and I didn't find Rupert as interesting a character as I had thought he would be. I was intrigued as I had always thought of him as a rather dashing individual, but he didn't come across that way. I was probably more disappointed in the character than in the book. Don't let it put you off. ...more
Manol Glishev
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It would be dull and inexpressive to say that the book is a comprehensive biography. In fact, it's a moving account of the life of a largely unsuccessful general, a rather lucky survivor, a man of honour, and an accomplished artist and inventor. There are many biographies of Prince Rupert but this one deserves a calm, attentive reading. It's so good that it's almost a novel. ...more
Just A. Bean
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
The book certainly gave a nice look at the wider politics of the time, and where Rupert fit into them, which I appreciated, and Rupert himself led such a varied and interesting life that that had to hold one's attention.

However, the book spent too much time on the Civil War years, which dragged, and the author got, at times, very defensive of Rupert and went to great lengths to excuse his flaws and bad behaviour and make his rivals look bad. I get the urge to side with your guy, as it were, but
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read much about the English Civil War or Restoration, so I hadn't heard of Prince Rupert before. An engaging biography, albeit a little heavy (necessarily so, but still...) on military history for my taste.

Favorite line (speaking of Charles II's childless wife, Catharine of Braganza): "Catharine's physician encouraged dancing, believing it would jiggle the queen's reproductive system and help her to conceive." (Alas, it didn't.)
Andrew Hurst
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent biography of a figure that seems to be overlooked by many historians. He is mainly regarded for his part in the English Civil War but there was so much more to his story. I wanted to learn more about the man who gave his name to a part of Leicester Castle known as Rupert's Gateway in my hometown, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. His part in the military actions of the Civil War are thoroughly discussed but it was also fascinating to read about his interest in the science ...more
Susan Grimshaw
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written and readable biography of a charismatic and multi talented seventeenth century figure who often seems to have not quite achieved his potential, sometimes through no fault of his own. Even centuries later one feels a great sorrow for him losing his beloved poodle, Boy, at Marston Moor. Rupert has always been my Cavalier hero.
fabulous, actio packed and fact filled. could not put it down. historical but not stuffy. rich characters. could really feel how Rupert never fit in anywhere. enjoyed every word.
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As someone who prefers to learn through fiction, I often struggle to find the motivation to start reading a long non-fiction book, especially one by an author I’ve never tried before. I’ve had this one on my Kindle since last year waiting until it was the right time to read it – and that time came a couple of weeks ago after I read The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge, a novel in which one of the main characters fights alongside Prince Rupert in the English Civil War. Rupert has a relatively mino ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘It is hard to believe that one man packed so much into a single lifetime.’

Prince Rupert of the Rhine, grandson of King James I of England, was a famed warrior on the royalist side in the English civil war. Prince Rupert was born on 17 December, 1619 in Prague, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic) and died on November 29, 1682 in London England. His parents, Elizabeth and Frederick (the Elector Palatine) were briefly king and queen of Bohemia but were ejected when Rupert, their third child and se
Tony Pedley
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prince Rupert was involved in some of the pivotal moments of British and European history. Despite that he is not widely known. This book sets this right by painting a picture of a extraordinary man in extraordinary times.

Although Prince Rupert is most widely known for his part in the English Civil War, this part of his life actually only takes up 4 chapters. If anything this shows what a long and varying life the Prince had. Anyone with an interest in the civil war who is put off by this should
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to imagine this biography of Prince Rupert being much use to anyone who isn't already interested in the English Civil War or Restoration Eras. For anyone who is, however, it offers a very sympathetic portrait of a figure who usually shows up on the periphery of standard accounts. Spencer tells the story well, tracing Rupert's service in European Wars; on behalf of the ill-fated Charles I; as a pirate during the Interregnum; and as a cousin of King Charles II after 1660. While Spencer a ...more
R.M.F Brown
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What should a good man be? Posed Marcus Aurelius centuries ago.

Rupert, like Bismarck and Churchill after him, appear to have spent their whole lives seeking to answer this question at every opportunity. Their devotion to duty, a love of adventure over an ease of life, their calculated gambling in the best Nietzschean tradition, their refusal to die or even to surrender when the odds were against them...

All of this portrays driven men determined to make their mark on life, determined to answer th
Abigail Hartman
A well-written and fairly even-handed biography of Rupert, who is best known for his role in England's Civil War. It would have been nice had Spencer given a brief background to that conflict and introduced the reader a little more thoroughly to the figures on the Parlimentarian side (he obviously has little love for Cromwell - hardly surprising). I would not call the book "riveting;" some sections dragged, since Rupert did little of significance after the war. Still, it was, on the whole, instr ...more
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after I found out that my husband's family is descended from this man. I had no idea who he was, but he was a pretty fascinating guy. The biography is enthralling in parts. It did spend most of the book during the English Civil War, which is understandable, but I did wish for a little more background of other parts of his life. I enjoyed this, and I'll hold onto it in case my kids ever want to read up on their ancestor. ...more
Sally Moore
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charles Spencer is one of my favourite non-fiction writers, and this biography is very good. Rupert was a fascinating person, and his life was never easy. Spencer's writing style is so readable, it feels like you are reading an adventure story, but the facts and sources are thoroughly presented and examined. I read this several months ago, but it feels like yesterday because the events are so vividly rendered, and Rupert's life and challenges so poignant. ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
This was a well written biog. of an interesting character, my olny complaint is that the book did focus on the period of the English Civil War, to the detriment of the long and eventful life Rupert lived after this period. It is obvious to focus on this action packed period of course but I did feel that the post civil war period was not covered in such great depth because of this.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book. I've always had a soft spot for Richard III and now he has competition....Prince Rupert. What an incredible man! He never stopped moving, thinking, researching, inventing, and exploring. I look forward to more books by Charles Spencer because his non-fiction is more exciting than most authors' fiction. ...more
Neil Ward
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating character

Much maligned by contemporary propagandists Rupert's true character still shines down through the ages. History may be written by the victors but some characters still make their mark despite vilification. This is a well written rendition of his life story, very readable and thoroughly recommended.
Stella Riley
Informative, enjoyable and easy to read but not the best biography of Rupert. Personally, I prefer the one by Patrich Morrah. At times, I felt Spencer was relying too much on primary quotes and not enough on insight.
Stevie Carroll
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I may have a new favourite Prince Rupert biography. Rather light on the Prince's pre-reformation loves but more in depth than other single volumes on his adventures after the execution of Charles I. Another book I need to get my own copy of. ...more
Leona Gardiner
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and researched...very interesting member of a royal family in Europe with connections to England. Informative history on founding of our Hudson Bay Company. Spencer has really done his homework here.
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have learnt a bit more about the civil war and Prince Rupert, but too much detail about all the warfare he was involved in.
Finally gave up on this - it's been a pretty hard slog, and I got about 60 percent through. I do find some of the historical information interesting and educational, but the writing is dead boring. ...more
Betty Adams
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tale well-told and well-researched!
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The structure and actions of English Civil War society is well documented in this very comprehensive biography. An engrossing read.
Quite heavy going but interesting.
Gumble's Yard
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Easy to read popular historian’s biography. The book consciously doesn’t dwell for more than a third of its length on the civil war, albeit that as a result some of the other areas of Rupert’s life seem to be treated in more detail than either the significance of the event or the abundance of primary sources can really support. However Rupert’s life neatly spans the period from the start of the 30 years war to the last year’s of the Stuarts and so provides a natural way to recount some of the ma ...more
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