Black Prince of Florence – US tour to launch biography by Swansea historian

The bastard son of a Medici duke and a ‘half-Negro’ maidservant, Alessandro Medici, propelled to power at the age of only nineteen, is the subject of a new biography, The Black Prince of Florence, by historian Catherine Fletcher, which is being launched in the USA.

Dr Fletcher’s launch tour visits different places across the USA, beginning in Texas,  a state where Swansea University has built extensive links with top universities.

Tour dates:  please consult venue websites for further information, including access/booking details:

  • Wednesday September 14th, campus event at Houston
  • Thursday 15th, lunchtime event for UT Austin students and faculty
  • Thursday 15th, 7pm, Book People, Austin, Texas
  • Sunday 18th, 3pm, Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA
  • Monday 19th, 7pm, Newtonville Books, Newton, MA
  • Tuesday 20th, 7pm, Barnes & Noble Upper West Side, New York City
  • Wednesday 21st, 6.45pm, S. Dillon Ripley Center, The Smithsonian, Washington DC (booking required)
  • Thursday 22nd, 12.30pm, Books & Books/Prologue Society, Riviera Club, Coral Gables, FL

Black Prince of Florence - coverAbout The Black Prince of Florence:  Between 1531 and 1537, Alessandro’s reign as prince of Florence was as magnificently colourful as it was short.

‌The bastard son of a Medici duke and a ‘half-Negro’ maidservant, he was propelled to power at the age of only nineteen after the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance lost its last legitimate heir.

Betrothed to the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, he faced down bloody family rivalry and enormous hostility from Florence’s oligarchs, who called him a womaniser and tyrant.

Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli’s Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated during a late-night assignation by his scheming cousin.

From dazzling palaces and Tuscan villas to the treacherous backstreets of Florence and the corridors of papal power, this dramatic biography draws on extensive archival research to overturn our perceptions both of the history of race and of the Italian Renaissance.

About the Author:  Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Ren‌aissance and early modern Europe. Her first book, The Divorce of Henry VIII, brought to life the world of the Papal court at the time of the Tudors.

Subsequently, Catherine worked with the set team on the BBC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall, advising the production on the historical detail of religious ceremony, dress and furnishings. She broadcasts frequently for BBC Radio 4 on Italian Renaissance history and is currently a BBC New Generation Thinker.  

400 x 600Picture:  Dr Catherine Fletcher.  Credit:  Sheffield Cathedral

Dr Fletcher now holds the position of Associate Professor in History and Heritage at Swansea University.

She has previously held fellowships at the British School at Rome and the European University Institute, and has taught at Royal Holloway, Durham and Sheffield universities.

Dr Fletcher leads the new MA in History and Heritage, which is to be launched by the College of Arts and Humanities.

The College has built a strong reputation in the heritage field, with initiatives such as the Heritage Skills Programme, which offers placements to students with organisations in the field, and regeneration projects such as the Hafod copperworks in Swansea.  

Research Institute for Arts and Humanities