Chapter 24 - The Royals
Maybe because of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee or maybe just because I've always enjoyed British history but it occurred to me lately that I have read my share of books about "the royals." British history has fascinated me since the days of the Vikings and William the Conqueror and there are a lot of terrific books out there to support my interest.
The recent troubles of the royal family are nothing new in history. They just have played out bigger in recent times because of social media, 24 hour news, and the widespread habit of airing one's dirty laundry on TV (think Jerry Springer). In truth, royal scandals, British and otherwise, go back centuries. In the past though, beheading may have taken the place of social shaming!
Here are some tried and true fiction books about British royalty.
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - This is the story of Elizabeth Woodville the wife of Edward the IV. It is as good a place to start as any for this book and the subsequent Plantagenet and Tudor books by Gregory give a good introduction to the Tudors. Gregory's history is interesting and as accurate as it can be for a novel.
The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers: A Novel by Margaret George. Margaret George writes historical fiction very well and this one of Henry VIII will give the reader all she needs to know about Henry. As a young price his future was to be in the Church but with the death of his older brother Arthur, Henry married his brother's wife and became king upon the death of his father.
The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel by Alison Weir - Another wonderful historian, Weir has taken much of the information used in her nonfiction books and woven the stories into novels. Her book on Elizabeth I tells about Elizabeth's early trials as the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
Victoria: A novel of a young queen by Daisy Goodwin - After writing the script for the PBS series Victoria, Goodwin turned it into a book about the Queen. Prior to Elizabeth's current reign (70 years), Victoria had the longest one at 63 years. Her reign saw the glory days of the British Empire as it expanded throughout the East and into Africa, as well as some incredible scientific discoveries.
The Duchess: A Novel of Wallis Simpson by Wendy Holden - If you have watched the Netflix series, The Crown, you know that Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American, was at the heart of the biggest scandal of the 20th century royals. Edward VIII ascended to the throne in 1936 upon the death of his father King George V. Lasting less than a year he gave it all up to marry Simpson, an American divorcee.
While there are many nonfiction accounts of the current royal family, as of yet there have been no fictionalized books although you might find Elizabeth II a minor character is other novels. The most recent book to "tell all" is The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor--the Truth and the Turmoil by
Tina Brown. Her book is a tell all of scandals, love affairs, and power plays within the family for the past 25 years.
Are you interested in the Royals? Have you read anything you'd like to recommend?