Admit it, you are an Anglophile. You watch âThe Crownâ and âVictoria,â and obviously, youâve seen every episode of âDownton Abbey.â We understand. Indeed, weâd argue royal watching is a legitimate intellectual pursuit.
Bet letâs suppose that while youâre looking forward to May 19, with all its pomp and circumstance, your fascination goes beyond the cut of Meghan Markleâs wedding gown. If youâre like us, while everyone is talking about who will be there and when to watch the nuptials on TV, you want to hunker down with these 11 worthy books about the royal family.
âAn entertaining, richly photographed book that reads like a longer, more thorough narration of scoops the princesâ admirers devoured in Us Weekly or in the British celebrity magazine Hello!â
âWith a historianâs eye for detail, and without a speck of intended bile, Ms. Joseph reaches back five generations, tracing every branch of Ms. Middletonâs family tree, exposing her âpenniless,â âinsanitary,â âscruffyâ and occasionally âunsalubriousâ roots, and tracing the rise of her family through the British class system.â
âIt takes Ms. Brownâs blend of arch journalistic savvy and social sang-froid to capture the kind of patrician women whose âaggressive beaky look comes from years of catering to oblivious men,â or to say of Prince Charles that âitâs the grooming that gives him liftoff.ââ
âSmith taps a host of public sources and tracks down friends and former courtiers of the queen who are willing to share more intimate tidbits (all too often about horses and corgis).â
âPrince Charles is that rare portrait â pro-Charles and anti-Diana. âI found,â Smith writes in her preface, âthat much about Prince Charles was poorly understood, not least the extent of his originality.â She reveals that âPoor Charlesâ was âa constant refrainâ as she conducted her interviews, âspoken in despair by those who loved him, with sarcasm by those who resented him.ââ
âBiographers sometimes borrow the attitudes of their subjects. Perhaps that is why Gyles Brandreth would like you to know this about the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, duke of Edinburgh: What goes on between them, Dear Reader, is really none of your affair.â
âA remarkable new biography of the prince âŠ the book does for the royal consort what Helen Mirren did for his wife in the 2006 movie âThe Queen,â breathing life into a figure who had seemed stiff and remote.â
âThe authorized biography of a woman who was born as the 20th century was beginning and died about a year after it ended, it is a linear, you-are-there chronicle of the events of her life. Mostly this means Âlunches, balls, charity events, shooting parties. She cut cakes, she cut ribbons, she cut the rug.â
âPalace gossip and nanny stories serve to lay out the sad tale of a decent, quiet, pleasant man of poor education, modest intellect and little imagination, who is forced to pursue a series of careers he either dislikes or is unsuited for.â
âIn her welcome new biography of Edward VII, who succeeded Queen Victoria on the British throne, Jane Ridley explains how this firstborn son managed to spend time in court â and not the kind of court royalty is supposed to frequent.â
Read our review.
âBairdâs exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch. Right out of the gate, the book thrums with authority as Baird builds her portrayal of Victoria. Overturning stereotypes, she rips this queen down to the studs and creates her anew.â