FIVE BEST BOOKS On THE WINDSORS

All About History - - REVIEWS -

THE crown: THE of­fi­cial com­pan­ion Au­thor: Robert Lacey Pub­lisher: Blink Pub­lish­ing

The of­fi­cial tie-in book for the first sea­son of the show, Robert Lacey – who worked as the his­tor­i­cal con­sul­tant on the show as well as Peter Mor­gan’s film The Queen

– of­fers con­text for the events that un­der­pinned that breath­tak­ing first run. A cap­ti­vat­ing in­tro­duc­tion that el­e­vates the medium, Lacey adds depth to the drama we feel we al­ready know with­out sac­ri­fic­ing any of his en­gag­ing au­tho­rial style.

Ge­orge Vi: THE Du­ti­ful King Au­thor: Sarah Brad­ford Pub­lisher: Pen­guin

A re­veal­ing por­trait of a king whose in­ner life has only re­ally emerged from The Crown and The King’s Speech, Sarah Brad­ford ex­plores a hum­ble, hard­work­ing man who found great­ness thrust upon him and rose to the chal­lenge as best he could. Im­pec­ca­bly re­searched, although much of the pe­riod – the Ab­di­ca­tion Cri­sis, for a start – re­mains opaque, Brad­ford more than most is able to tease out the the­o­ries with au­thor­ity.

Be­hind THE Throne: a Do­mes­tic His­tory of THE royal House­hold Au­thor: Adrian Tin­nis­wood Pub­lisher: Jonathan Cape

Not en­tirely fo­cused on the Windsors, Be­hind the Throne ex­am­ines the run­ning of the royal house­hold from Eliz­a­beth I on­ward but is packed with fas­ci­nat­ing asides about the du­ties, inani­ties and in­ad­e­qua­cies of the do­mes­tic staff. Fas­ci­nat­ing and amus­ingly baroque, Adrian Tin­nis­wood sur­faces sto­ries of a wet nurse salaried to tend to an adult prince to the toi­let pa­per be­ing re­placed by news­pa­per in a bid to cap spi­ralling ex­penses.

young eliz­a­beth: THE mak­ing of our Queen Au­thor: Kate Wil­liams Pub­lisher: W&N

In this book the de­fin­i­tive his­to­rian of the modern royal fam­ily, Kate Wil­liams, ex­plores the unas­sum­ing early years of Eliz­a­beth, who just like her father, was never groomed for great­ness.

With her im­pec­ca­ble au­thor­ity and grace­ful prose, Wil­liams brings this fas­ci­nat­ingly low-key pe­riod to life, from her rel­a­tively quiet be­gin­nings and her emer­gence as a am­bas­sador for the crown dur­ing World War II, to her en­gage­ment to the dash­ing Prince Philip and her tragic path to the throne.

ma’am Dar­ling: 99 Glimpses of princess mar­garet Au­thor: Craig Brown Pub­lisher: Fourth Es­tate

The ‘break­out star’ of The Crown, for want of a bet­ter de­scrip­tion, Craig Brown’s bi­og­ra­phy is just as un­con­ven­tional as its sub­ject. Brown is sym­pa­thetic to Princess Mar­garet but isn’t shy of punc­tur­ing her tantrums, ob­nox­ious­ness and flights of self-in­dul­gence.

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