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The Tangled Skein was Baroness Orczy's second novel. First published under the title In Mary's Reign in 1901, it was re-released under the title The Tangled Skein in 1907, following the success of The Scarlet Pimpernel. In The Tangled Skein, Queen Mary is characterized as a loving woman with a strong sense of justice. The tangled skein arises from Mary's love for the fictional character Robert d'Esclade, fifth Duke of Wessex, said in this book to be the people's choice as King Consort. Wessex is chivalrous and charming, but semi-betrothed to Lady Ursula Glynde, whom he has not seen since her infancy. Wessex is repelled by the idea of having his wife thrust upon him and purposely avoids Lady Ursula. Unknown to Wessex, the Queen jealously guards him against Ursula, who is extremely beautiful.