In a world historically dominated by male rulers, the women who have sat on thrones of their own shine out brightly. Some queens and empresses were born to greatness, while others fought their way to power. Queens ranges from the ancient world to the present day, telling the stories of these women who ruled, from murderous former courtesan Wu Zetian in 7th century China to Elizabeth I, the 'Virgin Queen' of England. In 6th century Constantinople, Empress Theodora, who had been a street performer before catching the eye of Emperor Justinian, extended rights for women, passing laws that allowed them to divorce and own property and made rape a crime punishable by death. In 12th century Europe, Eleanor of Aquitaine first married the king of France and then the king of England. At the Mughal court in Lahore in the early 17th century, Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, was the political powerhouse behind the throne. In more recent history, the book explores the reigns of Catherine the Great, revealing how a minor German aristocrat came to rule and expand the Russian Empire, Queen Victoria, whose family dominated the world in the early 20th century, and her more recent descendent, Elizabeth II, the longest-ruling queen in history. Carefully researched, superbly entertaining and illustrated throughout with more than 180 photographs and artworks, Queens highlights the true personalities and real lives of the women who became monarchs and empresses.