Recommendations

Your Royal Reading List

As we approach the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend, we thought it was a good time to take a look at some books with a distinctly regal flair. The seven books in our list cover the Tudors and beyond with fictionalised accounts of Henry VIII’s court, Victoria’s everlasting love and the detective skills of Elizabeth II herself!

Wave your flag, sing ‘God Save the Queen’ then settle in for some royally good reads.


Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

In June 1837, the eighteen-year-old Victoria wakes up to find that she is Queen of the most powerful nation in the world. Can this tiny girl prevail against the men who believe that women are too hysterical to rule? And what are the secrets behind her famously passionate relationship with her husband Albert?

Written by the creator of the ITV hit drama Victoria, this account of the monarch’s early years will captivate any reader.

 
 

 

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Jumping back in time to visit the first novel in Hilary Mantel’s epic Wolf Hall trilogy.

It is the 1520s, Henry VIII rules England with his queen, Katherine of Aragon, but he has no heir. His chief advisor Cardinal Wolsey, an astute and adept politician, is charged with the task of freeing Henry from the encumbrance of his marriage but Henry is subject to commands of the pope and Katherine is a devout and loyal catholic.

You might know how this saga ends but the fine detail and world-building will leave you transported.

 

The Darkness of Wallis Simpson by Rose Tremain

Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American for whom Edward Vlll abdicated the throne, is on her deathbed in her Paris flat, closely guarded by her lawyer who will not allow her any visitors.

Repeatedly exhorted by a strange figure to remember unspecified facts about her life, Wallis struggles with a world of random, snapshot memories. Try as she might to remember her third husband, the dull little man with no name, it is deeper remembrances that engulf her on her death bed, blotting out the inconsequential details of her life.

 

The Windsor Knot by S J Bennett

On a perfect Spring morning at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II will enjoy a cup of tea, carry out her royal duties… and solve a murder. For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.

Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer without getting caught themselves?

If the serious nature of the Platinum Jubilee becomes too much, this is the book for you. After all, is there anything Elizabeth can’t do?

 

The Gown by Jennifer Robson


Taking a side step from the Queen, this novel focuses on a no less fascinating subject, her wedding gown.

London, 1947: Besieged by a harsh winter, burdened by shortages and rationing, the people of post-war Britain are suffering despite their nation’s recent victory. For Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell, a glimmer of brightness comes in the form of their unlikely friendship and being chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honour: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

 

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

1521. Henry VIII rules over a fashionable court alive with pageant and celebration, the lack of a son his only threat. When young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, she becomes his new mistress, an unwitting pawn in the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn and Howard families.

As Henry’s interest begins to wane, the Boleyns scheme to put forward Mary’s sister, Anne. Yet Anne Boleyn, newly returned from the French court, won’t agree to be Henry’s mistress – only his wife. What follows changes the destiny of England forever.

 

 

The Queen and I by Sue Townsend

Finally, for some lighter relief. When a Republican party wins the General Election, their first act in power is to strip the royal family of their assets and titles and send them to live on a housing estate in the Midlands.

Exchanging Buckingham Palace for a two-bedroomed semi in Hell Close (as the locals dub it), caviar for boiled eggs, servants for a social worker named Trish, the Queen and her family learn what it means to be poor among the great unwashed. But is their breeding sufficient to allow them to rise above their changed circumstance or deep down are they really just like everyone else?


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