Review: A Royal Life by H.R.H. The Duke of Kent and Hugo Vickers


My Interest

Unless you just found my blog today, you’ll know I follow the British Royal Family. 

The Book

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H.R.H. Prince George, Duke of Kent and wife Princess Marina of Greece with young Prince Edward of Kent

H.R.H. Prince Edward (the “other” Prince Edward) was born to Prince George, Duke of Kent (son of George V and Queen Mary) and his wife, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (first cousin of Prince Philip) in another Jubilee year–1935. It was George V’s Silver Jubilee that year, and few suspected the King would be dead in a matter of months. Born seventh in the line of succession, young Eddie with his dual royal lineage was related to just about everyone royal. Sadly, his father, Prince George, died in a flying accident during World War II. There are conspiracies theories about the death as you might imagine, fueled by the fact that no author has ever been allowed access to his papers in the Royal Archive at Windsor. 

Eddie progressed through the predictable posh schools, landing last at the poshest–Le Rothesy in Switzerland, before attending Sandhurst and joining the Army. He married a beautiful, talented lady, and had three children. He likes cars, music, and history. He hunts, shoots, fishes. He used to ride in Trooping the Colour on gray horse behind the Queen. His Army career, like that of Princess Anne’s first husband Mark Phillips, ended due to having to serve in Northern Ireland. He is interested in mechanical things and, like Princess Anne admitted recently, would possibly have enjoyed studying engineering.

My Thoughts

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Queen Elizabeth II and her paternal first cousin, H.R.H. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

Eddie Kent has spent his life loyally serving the Queen. He is discreet, dutiful, and polite. Therefore, this book reads like a compilation of Court Circulars from 1952, when as a school boy he walked in King George VI’s funeral (and months later in that of Queen Mary) until today. It is not quite as dull as the official biography of his late paternal uncle, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, but close. Even the comments from his children were not terribly illuminating. His wife seemed vacant in her comments.

As this book is part of the counter-offensive to the preaching and moaning of the Queen’s third grandson and his wife, it is no surprise that the Duke supports working within the royal system and supports the Queen truly with his “life and limb and earthly worship against all manner of folk” exactly as he swore, on his knees, to do at her Coronation. He feels supporting the Queen is “by far the most important thing in life.” He has never felt “locked into” a system nor that any system was “working against [him].” According to co-author Vickers, the Duke “represents important values, not always appreciated by the present generation.” No question at whom that is aimed.

The only things I learned about Eddie that I did not know were that he hates getting rid of books, keeps meticulous records of the amount of time it takes for the performance of each opera he attends, and hated sports at school. He did not come to like riding and [fox]hunting until he joined the Army and had to learn to ride properly due to being in a mechanized cavalry regiment in which officers had to ride well. I learned at the Coronation one elderly peer stood and the his robes, antiques inherited from a previous holder of his title, disintegrated to the floor (hilarious) and that the late king of Thailand loved jazz.

I did like seeing some family connections of another sort. Eddie, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, and H.R.H. Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester who is an architect by education/training, all were/are fascinated by engineering or engineering-related fields. The Duke (and his lovely wife) loves music–especially opera, like Prince Charles and like the late Lord Harewood (the Duke’s paternal cousin–the eldest grandchild of George V). He also loves jazz (hence the mention of the King of Thailand) like the late Lord Harewood’s younger brother, Gerald. With Gerald, too, he shared his love of fast cars and auto racing. With Prince Charles he shared a difficulty with math at school and loathing of most team sports at school. He and his wife share with William and Catherine a love of Amner Hall as a wonderful family country home. The Kents had the house before Royal friends, the Van Cutsems, who had it before the Cambridges.

There is nothing revealing in this book what-so-ever. The Duke barely mentions being married. His children get a nod. His dogs are mentioned. No thoughts on anything except music, engineering, skiing, how lucky he was to go on all those royal trips, etc. Don’t complain, don’t explainto a “t”. Sing God Save the Queen, salute, and sit down. “And, quite right, too” one can hear him say in his basset hound-like club man voice (I heard him speak in a recent documentary about the Queen).

Read my post on the Duchess of Kent’s disguised pregnancy

The book has one fantastic photo of Queen Mary with many of her grandchildren from the Duke’s personal collection. Sadly, two of the photos have misidentifications. In one the Duke himself is left out–it is supposedly his christening, but it was clearly his sister, Princess Alexandra’s christening because a nanny is very clearly wrangling him as a toddler in her arms! The other identifies the current Queen as the Duchess of Gloucester! Surely the handbag was a tip-off? Apparently not.

Royal Life by H.R.H. The Duke of Kent and Hugo Vickers is available in the USA on Kindle and will be out in an outrageously high-priced hardbound edition later in the year.

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Review: The Windsor Diaries 1940-45 by Alathea Fitzalan Howard


My Interest


Cumberland Lodge, where Alathea lived with her Grandfather in Windsor Great Park

Queen Elizabeth has had many a biographer in her 95 years. This book, while not a biography, is the personal diary of a “friend” from her childhood and teen years. Alathea Fitzalan Howard, had she been born a boy, would have ended up as the Duke of Norfolk–the U.K.s highest ranking Catholic outside the clergy and is the head of the College of Arms. This “College” is the organization that creates the Standards {flags] and coats of arms that relate to royalty and nobility. The Duke of Norfolk, then, is a very important man in the ceremonial world, for this position, like the Dukedom, is hereditary.

The Story


Princess Elizabeth with Alathea (to her right) during a Girl Guides meeting. Photo: Getty Images

Alathea, was a very privileged girl–her grandfather lived in Windsor Great Park in a royal residence–Cumberland Lodge. She was a member of the Girl Guide [Girl Scout] troop started for the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret and had known them in London. She also went to drawing lessons with the Princesses and to fun events like films and, later, to dinners and dances. She participated with them in the first pantomimes they did during the War as well. Being a little older than Princess Elizabeth, Alathea, saw herself as a judge of character, behavior, etc., of her younger future monarch (for by this time no one held out any hope of the then Queen Elizabeth (later known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) producing at son at the age of 40+.

As I mentioned above, this was a personal diary. Alathea was very taken with royal life and adored the royal Princesses. She was snobbish to an extreme even for her day. She felt, as many others did, that it was wrong for the Princesses to act in their “pantos” with “common” schoolchildren. Today, no one thinks a thing of royal children acting in school plays, but of course those are always at PRIVATE schools, lol.

What we do learn about the Queen is that she was kept sheltered, yes, but not nearly as much as the highly fictionalized (and hijacked) book by Marion Crawford, The Little Princesses, suggested. She did not confide in friends–or at least not in Alethea. She was rarely left alone and would sometimes bolt ahead of a group on a walk to just be alone. While the diary does not contain much new information, it does confirm what most have thought–Elizabeth was in love with Philip from the start, but it took him some time to be in love with her–that is to be expected when a girl is 13 and the young man is an 18 year old Naval College cadet, but he did like and respect her.  And, Elizabeth certainly did notice other men–Hugh Euston, the future Duke of Grafton, for example, but Philip always topped her list.

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Princess Elizabeth trains as A.T.S

Alathea could be wisely cynical too–as when she says spots the truth of Princess Elizabeth’s “war” service. Of course it was a p.r. stunt. Did anyone want Margaret to end up Queen? Or worse, The Duke of Gloucester–known as the “unknown soldier”? No, war service with an actual “hot” war going on was pretty much a no-go for Elizabeth, just as going on the D-Day invasion was for her father and Churchill. Still,  Princess Elizabeth she got to attend a real training classes with other ATS-recruit-pupils, and was taught to drive and to service car and truck engines. Best of all, she was allowed out unrecognized behind the wheel of car or truck in London–that was likely marvelous for her. It doesn’t matter that the war was all but over, it was an experience she badly needed.

Elizabeth is rightly identified as “no intellectual” but was obedient, quiet, reserved, and in short, a good choice for Queen. Margaret, on the other hand, was so loved and petted and admired that she was pretty much a brat–at least at the age she was in diaries (the end when she was about to be 15). Like everyone, Alathea finds Margaret great fun, but she sees the qualities in Elizabeth that made everyone so happy that she was the first born and heiress presumptive to the throne.

There isn’t much good royal gossip here beyond the fact that as children the current Duke of Kent and his sister Princess Alexandra could rarely be taken to events, even a royal family tea, together as they were uncontrollable together. What is nice to learn is that, though fictionalized, governess Marion Crawford’s memoirs were true in the portrayal of King George VI and the Queen Mother were loving, caring, and, for their time and class, hands-on parents who adored their daughter.

Alathea Herself

Had anyone known that this miserably unhappy young girl, later young woman, was cutting herself, I doubt she’d have been allowed near the Princesses. Her home life was one of rejection and misery. Her mother did not love her, told her she was not attractive, and basically never forgave her for not being a boy. She also thought she was “ruined” by the old fashioned life of the court and by the solitary life she led at Cumberland Lodge, though naturally takes no responsibility for her daughter living apart from her and her younger daughter. Alathea’s father was a weak man, his marriage to his wife is presented as in name only.

Alathea adores her much younger little sister, whom their mother likes. I had to wonder if Mummy had strayed [very likely from her lifestyle] and that maybe little sister wasn’t really Daddy’s child? For all that Althea, like a typical teenager, finds her grandfather irritating, he does seem to have cared about her and tried to show it by coming up to her room at bedtime or speaking with her or whatever. She rejects him at every turn.

Effectively an abandoned child, you can see all the usual behaviors of such children in Alathea. Her idolization of the royals as a “perfect” family with a loving father and mother–a contained little unit who enjoy the time they spend together. The Queen [later the Queen Mother] is kind to Alathea so she desperately wants to be cuddled and kissed by her and hangs onto every kind thing the Queen says to her. The cutting, the lack of love for her other family members, her suspicion of them, it is all sadly typical of abandonment.

I am sure Alathea would cringe knowing her “secret” fantasy of marrying and sleeping beside Hugh Euston [Fitzroy] (Earl of Euston, future Duke of Grafton) was now in a published book, but what a typical teenage girl fantasy. It was this type thing, more than the worship of the royals, that made me like this book and even it’s very troubled young author. Sadly, she realizes she is out-of-step with the young people of her generation and worse, knows that she is not what men desire.

I grew up like that so I totally related to this pain. (I was usually the “buddy” rarely the girl friend). By the end of the war, having never been kissed, she gives in to the first guy who tries (ditto) even though she doesn’t like him very much (ditto). She knows she is pushing away a good husband (ditto) when the one guy who does peruse her isn’t exciting enough for her. By war’s end, she feels she likely won’t be asked to be anyone’s wife. Eventually, she marries a younger son, but has no children. (I married after pushing away good men, I took the worst.)

I’m glad her nephew’s wife took care of the diaries and realized their significance to biographers of Queen Elizabeth. First hand accounts of Her Majesty spanning several years of association are very, very rare. This is a good addition to the historical record of the Queen, Alathea’s own august family’s history, and of teenagers of her class during the war.

A note on the physical aspects of this book


It has delightful end papers–a wonderful map of Windsor that shows the places mentioned in the Diary.

The Windsor Diaries 1940-45 by Alathea Fitzalan Howard

My Verdict


Nonfiction November Re-run: Expert Recommendation of Royal Books Updated


I can’t top last year’s Nonfiction November “be an expert” post on royal books, so I’m updating it and linking to it!

First the updates:

The One Worth Reading

Meghan and Harry: The Real Story by Lady Colin Campbell. I go hot and cold on “Lady C” as she’s popularly known. She’s written some total crap, but also has gotten the story dead right before. So pick and chose as you read. She’s now and Youtube Royal sensation from this book–she does weekly videos on the royals (see the video at the end of this post).  This book rings very true. She does have excellent contacts and she can tell a story. If you’re going to read one Markle book let it be this one. It just irritates me that having been married for only about a year over 40 years ago she STILL uses her ex-husband’s courtesy title (he is styled Lord Colin because he is the son of a Duke). She was, therefore, “Lady” instead of Mrs. Like Markle should be just plain Princess Henry and not Duchess of anything).

The New Memoir


The Windsor Diaries 1940-45 by Alathea Fitzalan Howard. UK readers can buy this–it won’t be out in the USA until May. I’m anxious to get my hands on it. This is the diary of a childhood/teenage years friend of the Queen. NOTE: The link is for UK Amazon.

The New Romanov Book


Empress Alexandra by Melanie Clegg. My copy will be here later this week. Alexandra was, of course, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria–first cousin to King George V, great-aunt to Prince Philip, and aunt of Lord Mountbatten and Queen Louise of Sweden.

New Royal Books That Aren’t Terrible


Prince Andrew, Epstein, Maxwell and The Palace by Nigel Cawthorne. I have not read it but it is seemingly well-researched. To date, Andrew has not been charged with anything other than being sleazy. At least at the time of the alleged encounter in the UK it was legal to take a 17- year-old to bed. Even slime mold deserves due process.


Prince Philip Revealed by Ingrid Seward. I just got this, but I’ll wager money the only thing revealed is that Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine is wanting a manuscript ready for the day Philip dies. It is also a lot easier to prepare this and slip in commentary on the Harry and Markle travesty than to write a book on them. If only Harry had listened to Philip. One less narcissist would have a role on the celebrity stage.

New Royal Books to Skip at All Costs

So bad I can’t even dignify them with a cover shot.

Finding Freedom by Meghan Markle, I MEAN by Obit Scooby-Doo-Doo-Doo and someone who wants to disassociate herself for this miscarriage of nonfiction. This books is part of the evidence in a court case that Markle will likely loose. It is soooooooooooo bad! If you are not a diabetic you will still want to acquire some insulin before you try to wade thru the sugary b.s. of the book.  Possibly the most self-adoring book ever published. There is very little truth in it. Even some of her most ardent fans saw through it. I absolutely refuse to provide a link to this horror.

Battle of the Brothers: William and Harry: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult. by Robert Lacey: This once EXCELLENT royal author has sold his soul to Netflix for his spot as adviser on The Crown. Spoiler alert! Netflix is paying Harry and Markle to spill their secrets. This book is not worthy of him. It is a farce of Markle promotion that should never have been published. This is another one I refuse to link to. And, why? Why do people assume that brothers must love and adore each other just because their mother died? Silly. Even in believable books they sound like two very different personalities with some common pastimes like huntin’ shootin’ fishin’, polo, and video games, but beyond that they are very different men.

Read My Expert Recommendation of Royal Books here….

[click the text above to go to the list]

Throwback Thursday Review: The Kaiser’s Last Kiss aka The Exception by Alan Judd

It takes place on the Thursday before the first Saturday of every month (i.e., the Thursday before the monthly #6Degrees post). The idea is to highlight one of your previously published book reviews and then link back to Davida’s Chocolate Lady’s blog. Thanks to Books Please for reminding me of this today.

The Story

Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany’s deposed Emperor, is living out his days in exile at Huis Doorn in the Netherlands. He and his controversial 2nd wife, Hermine, live in a sort of gilded cage–able to travel freely only 15 miles from home.  Born Queen Victoria’s eldest grandchild, Wilhelm now spends his days railing at Juda-England, as he now calls his mother’s country, chopping wood, smoking, and feeding the ducks.

When the Nazi’s invade Holland, the Kaiser is given an SS security detail headed by Martin Krebbs, a young officer not sold-out on the SS or Nazi ideals, but who none-the-less discounts the idea of an “interior” life.( “You were what you did; the rest was froth.“) All the same, he arrives not sure he cares about an old Emperor–he wants to go back to the war.

Not long before the Nazis’ arrival, a new well-educated maid, Akki, joins the staff at Huis Doorn and the Kaiser takes a liking to her. She has lovely hands and hands are sexual thing to him–a part of a woman’s beauty and sensuality. And, she is very well-educated and respectful.

Trouble arises, as you can imagine! To say more would be to spoil the story.

The book is now a movie starring Christopher Plummer as the Kaiser. The movie’s trailer is at the bottom of this post. The story has been re-titled The Exception. Names have been changed, too.  (I have not, yet, seen the movie).

What I Liked

I thought Judd’s portrayal of the twisted, lonely, and often deluded Kaiser, was excellent. He also captured the personality of the scheming Hermine as well. I thought each of the major characters were believable. More depth would have been nice, but the story was very compelling as is. He did not bog the story down in too much historical minutia–even though I’m a reader who often enjoys that. This kept the story moving at a fast clip.

What I Didn’t Like

If you’re going to write a book–even a novel–on royalty get a grip on titles and forms of address! If you don’t know, look it up! Judd was all over the place with this and it was annoying.  Even though real life added some confusion, he should have figured out how the staff would properly address the Kaiser and his wife. By all the residents at Huis Doorn Wilhelm and Hermine were treated exclusively as Emperor and Empress. When the Nazis were present they insisted he was simply Prince Wilhelm. Yet Judd never could get it right. This was irritating.

The other thing that I wasn’t so happy about was that the beginning of the book seemed to mostly be just retelling parts of this video:

My Verdict

Overall, this was a great fast-paced story and I enjoyed it. But for the title thing I had to knock it down a bit in my rating.

3.75 Stars

The Kaiser’s Last Kiss  (aka The Exception) by Alan Judd

Originally published on this blog on November 6, 2017 

Review: Lady in Wating: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner


My Interest

It should be obvious by now to any reader of this blog why I’d want to read this one! I actually read parts of it in a British paper last year.

The Story

Lady Anne Coke [“Cook”] grew up with visits from Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret and their parents. Like Lady Diana Spencer, her father was a courtier and often hosted the King for shooting parties at their family estate. As part of the King’s household, her father regularly saw the King’s fabled “gnashes” or fits of over-the-top anger. Anne’s life as “a disappointment”–i.e. the first of three girls born to a peer needing a male heir has been very colorful. And emotional. Princess Margaret is merely one of the good parts!

“I once asked [Colin] why he had picked me, when he had millions of sophisticated girlfriends. He could have married any of them. Why was it that he wanted to marry me?

He replied, ‘Well, I knew that with you, you would carry on, you would never give up.'” (p.109)

When virginal, lovely, young Lady Anne married Colin Tennant [later Baron Glenconner] a member of the so-called “Princess Margaret set,” she went off to her wedding night with a quick remembrance shared by her mother of something one of the dogs had done. Her new husband, who even Princess Margaret had described as “decadent” educated her in the rites of the marriage bed in a unique way [no spoliers].


Appalled? Yes, I was. I was also left wondering on today’s spectrums of sexuality and gender-identity where Colin Glenconner would place himself if he was a young man today. It also occurred to me that had fetal alcohol syndrome been a diagnosis in 1926, if he’d have had some of its effects. (Similarly, if Anne and Colin’s oldest son wasn’t touched by that). Finally, I had to ask myself if Colin had been molested. He was just that abnormal–not 100% of the time, but something was truly “off” with him. [Wedding photo: Alamay/Shutterstock]

What I did not expect was to have something in common with a woman four years older than my late father and for it to be something so horrific. I knew the Tennants were one of those families like the Kennedys who are often referred to as “cursed.” Heroin takes hold of rich and poor, aristocratic and the lowliest of villagers all with the same vicious hold. I nearly cried in part of that story–for both our sons, though mine is still with me.

“Colin never tried to divorce me. As he always said, ‘We were brought up not to throw in the towel but to bite bullets and fold towels neatly.'”

That Anne stayed with Colin and kept focusing on his good “side,” is a tribute to the British Stiff Upper Lip indeed. But far worse than the life he gave her was the ending he gave [no spoilers] her upon his death. Wow, again.


Photo: Corbis via Daily Mail

But what about Princess Margaret? Understandably, she comes off looking fairly decent. Spoiled? Entitled? Of course, but also vulnerable and human. I liked Anne more than I did Margaret, but it was refreshing to see such humanity in a woman often spoofed as cold as ice and full of herself. I suppose after Colin, Anne never notices those traits!

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

To read more about the Tennant family see this post at the Esoteric Curiosa

Here’s a hilarious recent interview that shows Anne’s true personality while she tells the most outrageous, but true, story from the book:

Royal Spectacles!



Queen Victoria was 81 when she died–that was extremely old in 1901.  At his christening only a few months before she died, Prince Philip’s “Uncle Dickie,” then Prince Louis Francis of Battenberg, knocked the spectacles off the great Queen–his great-grandmother. Self-propagated legend this may be, but it makes a good story.

If not for Victoria, looking back through old photos of the British Royal Family you would assume they were gifted with life-long perfect eyesight. Not true! But back in the day, wearing “spectacles” was seen as a weakness and unbecoming, so people, ladies especially, but gentlemen, too, often groped their way blindly around until the lights went down at the theatre or the cards were dealt at after-dinner bridge or similar times. Prince Philip’s father often sported a monocle!

It was even big news when Queen Elizabeth started wearing glasses and that was in the 1990s. Prince Philip adopted contact lenses as soon as they were available and I suspect a number of other royals may have as well. These days, no one cares if Prince William wears his specs instead of his contacts. Today, I’m looking at some of the glasses, aka “spectacles,”  royals have sported over the years.

Wielding a classy lorgnette



The Queen’s Grandmother, Queen Mary,  used a very grand dame’s lorgnette–glasses that look like a prop from one of today’s fun photo booths! These handheld specs were more acceptable socially for older ladies to drag out at the theatre or opera.

Pince-Nez, the gentleman’s lorgnette

Monocle–a once-fashionable gentleman’s accessory


Americans recognize pince-nez as those nose-hugging glasses word by President Theodore Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson,  and President Franklin Roosevelt, who wore them long after they’d fallen out of style. Prince Philip’s father, Prince Andrew (Andrea) of Greece wore pince-nez in his early adulthood. The monocle, beloved as the eyepiece of bad guys in cartoons and movies, was once the fashion. Andrew also wore a monocle.

If you look closely, you’ll spot Edwina’s specs in her hand

Prince Philip’s Aunt, [then] Lady Louis Mountbatten–later Edwina, Countess Mountbatten, hid her spectacles all the time. She also frequently carried a suspiciously glasses-shaped clutch.


Photo is mine taken of a page in India Remembered by Lady Pamela Mountbatten Hicks

The Mountbatten’s younger daughter,  Pamela, shared the specs-vanity problem. Here is a rare photo of her wearing them in India when her father was the last Viceroy.


The Ex-King

Fritz von der Schulenburg

Photo source: Interior Archive

The Duke of Windsor used reading glasses, but being very vain, he left them on his desk.


The Prince Who Has Worn Glasses Since Boyhood


Prince Richard, his mother HRH the Duchess of Gloucester, and his elder brother, Prince William of Gloucester at Eton.

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Even today’s Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s paternal first cousin, who has worn glasses since childhood, was occasionally made to take them off for photos. As Prince Richard of Gloucester, he is seen here with his parents and elder brother, Prince William (who died in 1972). Off to the side are his specs–caught for posterity by the photographer.

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Photo Credit: Majesty Magazine

His Grandson, Xan, Baron Culloden, wears glasses as well. That’s him to the Queen’s right. He is a Paige of Honour–one of the boys who carry the Queen’s train on ceremonial occasions.

The 1960s and onward–times begin to change

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Princess Marina,  Duchess of Kent, was one of the first royals to give in and wear her specs in public. Seen above at Epsom with her daughter, Princess Alexandra, and son-in-law Angus Ogilvy,  and at Wimbledon with her son, Prince Michael, and Princess Anne, Marina was seen at Wimbledon in sunglasses regularly.


Marina’s son, the Duke of Kent

Photo sources: (left) Getty/Canada (right) Damien McFadden
Left photo: Lord Nicholas Windsor and elder brother George, Earl of St. Andrews. They are the sons of the Queen’s paternal first cousin Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. Right photo: George’s son, Edward, Baron Downpatrick and an unidentified friend.

Marina’s Grandsons George, Earl of St. Andrew’s and Lord Nicholas Windsor, have worn glasses for years. George’s son, Edward, Baron Downpatrick, has occassionally appeared in specs.

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Marina’s grandaughter, Lady Helen Windsor’s husband, Tim Taylor, has long worn glasses as well.

Princess Margaret

Photo Credits: (Left)  GETTY IMAGES / TIM GRAHAM via Town and Country

The Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, wore very stylish glasses at the end of her life–I especially liked these round ones.


Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother



Photo source:

The Queen Mother looked very nice in her glasses, but she was of that very vain 1920s generation who didn’t like to be seen in them!

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh


Photo sources: (Left) NY Post (Right)

The Queen first used glasses in public sometime around 1982. The Duke of Edinburgh has worn glasses most of his adult life. He just wears contacts most times. The Queen recently had cataracts surgery and appeared in public in sunglasses, just like her late Uncle, The Duke of Windsor did after his surgery in 1965.


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Photo credit: Getty via Cosmo Magazine
Queen Elizabeth wore sunglasses to avoid canceling engagements after cataract surgery.

Safety Glasses


Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip- Wearing Glasses. Picture Shows The Queen Visiting Nigg Oil Centre. Lord Linley And Prince Edward Are Also Wearing Protective Glasses.

The Queen in hideous safety glasses, trailed by Prince Edward and Princess Margaret’s son the then Viscount Linley also wearing the glasses. The Queen has been seen in safety glasses many times.

Photo credit: unknown

I’m fairly sure these were safety glasses required for the visit she was making, but still worth including here.


Photo source: Daily Mail

Her daughter-in-law, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has worn safety glasses as well.

The Rest of the Family

Today all three of the Queen’s sons have been seen in glasses to read or drive. Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is frequently seen sporting her spectacles for reading. Prince William and his cousin, Peter Phillips, are not shy about wearing their glasses when they choose to.

Photo credits: (Right) Daily Mail  and (Left) Daily Mail

Left photo: Prince William in his glasses. Right photo: Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest grandchild. wearing his glasses.



Photo credit
Prince William in regulation RAF glasses


The Prince of Wales and his wife The Duchess of Cornwall have both been seen wearing reading glasses.


Photo Credit (both photos) Daily Mail
Prince Edward, with son James, Viscount Severn and wife Sophie with their daughter, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor

At Wednesday’s (12/18/2019) Royal Family Christmas lunch, both Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, were seen driving to the palace wearing glasses.


The Happy Royal Groom


Photo credit: Daily Mail

Princess Eugenie’s husband made sure to bring his glasses to their wedding so he could put them on at just the right moment to clearly see her come down the aisle–a very sweet scene in that lovely royal wedding.

The Disgraced Royal


Photo credit: Princess Eugenie/Instagram via Hello Magazine

Jack Brooksbank’s disgraced father-in-law, Prince Andrew has given in to middle age as well and donned reading glasses.


Sunglasses are another story–everyone wears them!


The Duke Of Cambridge And The Duke Of Sussex Take Part In The King Power Royal Charity Polo Day

Photo Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty via People Magazine

Prince Louis of Cambridge, aka “Boss Baby,” wearing Mum’s shades.



Leaving you with these two fashionable brothers–the future Edward VIII and the future George VI–in shades




And The Best Royal Meme Ever




If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy my post:  Smoking Hot Royals!

Sixth in line to the British Throne

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Just as President George H.W. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush became known as 41 and 43 for their place in the long line of U.S. Presidents, so too has Prince Harry become known as “sixth in line” for the British throne. Sixth is the highest he can hope to be now. Each child born to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and eventually those children born to George, Charlotte, and Louis, will all push Prince Harry further down the line of succession. Today, I’m looking at some of the royals who have occupied sixth place in the past.

Prince George of Cambridge (the 19th Century Prince)


George, later Duke of Cambridge, was Queen Victoria’s 1st cousin.  In 1837 he was the sixth in line to the throne at the time of his Uncle, King William IV’s death. Victoria’s father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent,  was the elder brother of George’s father–hence Victoria ascended to the throne when their Uncle William died. Today’s little Prince George of Cambridge is related to him via Queen Victoria as well as through Queen Mary whose mother was his sister. “Old” George Cambridge also had an uncle who was Duke of Sussex. He had red hair and made a disastrous first marriage, just like today’s Duke of Sussex–Prince Harry!


Princess Alice


In 1853, Princess Alice, Queen Victoria’s second daughter, was sixth in line to the throne. At that time, sons came before daughters in the succession. She is the Great-Grandmother of Prince Philip and the mother of the murdered Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. She was number 23 in line when she died.


Lady Alexandra Duff (later Princess Alexandra of Fife)


In  January 1901, when Edward VII became King, his granddaughter, then Lady Alexandra Duff was sixth in line to the throne after her Uncle George (later George V) and his first four children. Alexandra and her sister, Maud, were the last members of the Royal family to be only “Her Highness,” not “Her Royal Highness” after her Grandfather elevated them to the status in 1905. At the time of her death, she was 17th in line and was officially known as “Her Royal Highness Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife“–her status having undergone yet another upgrade when she married her first cousin.

Princess Mary (later The Princess Royal)


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Princess Mary with her elder brothers, [left to right] Prince Henry, Prince Albert (seated–future George VI), Prince Edward (in uniform–future Edward VIII), Prince John (seated wearing a dress), and Prince George

When her father George V became king in 1910 Princess Mary was the sixth in line to the throne, after her five brothers–the future kings Edward VIII, George VI, and Princes Henry, George and John. She was a nurse during World War I before marrying the Earl of Harewood. You can read more about them here in my post,  Cross-Generational Romance in the Royal Family. When Mary died in 1965 she was 17th in line.


The Earl of Harewood

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The future Queen Elizabeth II with her paternal first cousin the future Earl of Harewood and a nanny.

In the 1920’s Princess Mary’s elder son, King George V’s eldest grandchild, George Lascelles, later Earl of Harewood, was sixth in line to the throne. By the time he died, aged 88, he was around #40–not far above the Norwegian Royal Family.


Prince George, Duke of Kent

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King George V and Queen Mary had seven children–six of whom lived to adulthood. Prince George, named for his father, was the sixth child. In 1935, and until his father died in January of 1936, he was sixth in line to the throne. His son, Edward, today’s Duke of Kent, was a newborn and ranked seventh. George was killed in a flying accident during World War II, he had actually gone up a notch to 5th in line, owing to his Uncle’s Abdication.

Prince Edward of Kent

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In 1936, the Year of Three Kings,  until Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication, his namesake Godson-nephew, Prince Edward of Kent, was sixth in line to the throne. Upon his father’s death in 1942, he became possibly the youngest Duke in the country at that time. Today the “other” Prince Edward is 37th in line.

Prince William of Gloucester

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William’s father, the last Prince Harry [Henry], was the Queen’s uncle. William was born fourth in line to the throne in 1941. When he died in 1972, another air crash victim, he was ninth–after his father and Princess Margaret’s children.

Prince Richard of Gloucester

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Prince Richard of Gloucester (in glasses), his mother the Duchess, and his elder brother, Prince William.

Better known today as the Duke of Gloucester, Prince Richard was in the 6th position when his Uncle, King George VI, died and his first cousin, Elizabeth became Queen. Today he is 27th in line after the grandchildren of the late Princess Margaret.

Princess Margaret

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Fourth in line at the time of her birth in 1930, the Queen’s little sister, was expected to move farther down the line of succession–hopefully by the birth of children to her uncle, the Prince of Wales, as well as by the birth of a longed-for son for her own parents. Neither happened. Margaret, like Prince Harry, was the “spare” for many years. She was pushed down to sixth by the birth of Peter Phillips, the Queen’s first grandchild, in 1977.  By the time Margaret, died on February 9, 2002, she was way down at 10th after all of her sister’s children and grandchildren.


Princess Eugenie of York


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Princess Eugenie was sixth in line to the throne from the day of her birth in 1990 until the birth of her cousin Prince William’s first child, Prince George in 2013. She has been demoted two more times with the birth of George’s siblings. Prince Harry’s child also pushed her down one rung. Today she is 10th.


Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales, Duke of Sussex


Photo credit

For the foreseeable future, Prince Harry will remain sixth in line to the throne until either the Duchess of Cambridge has another baby or until her children grow up, marry, and start their own families.

Shared Royal Birthdays and More Interesting Royal Dates Part III

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Princess Anne and husband Admiral Sir Tim Laurence

As in any large family, the British Royal family has a lot of shared dates for births, deaths, marriages–even the announcements of divorce! That one was March 19th. In 1976 Princess Margaret’s separation from Lord Snowdon was announced and in 1992, the Duke and Duchess of York announced their separation.

Births and Deaths

December 3rd

Left to right: Princess Victoria, Princess Louise (de Laszlo), Prince Andrew (Andrea) (de Laszlo) and Prince Philip with his parents.

Princess Victoria, sister of King George V known as “Toria,” was never allowed to marry. Her mother, Queen Alexandra kept her at home as a companion–a very selfish move. She died on December 3, 1935, a little over a month before her brother the King was to die.

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyl,  Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, died on December 3, 1939. Her husband then Lord Lorne was one of two Royal Governors-General of Canada, then other being Queen Mary’s brother, Lord Athlone. Louise herself was a professional sculptor. She was even allowed to attend art school like her Great-Great-Great-Niece, Lady Sarah Chatto (nee Armstrong-Jones).

Prince Andrew (Andrea) of Greece, father of Prince Philip died on December 3, 1944, in Monte Carlo while living with his mistress. At the time of his death, his surviving daughters were in Germany–all married to minor German princes, two of whom were Nazis and Prince Philip was serving in the British Navy.


Princess Victoria’s sister, Maud, became Queen of Norway. Her great-great-grandson, Prince Sverre Magnus, was born December 3, 2005. He is 3rd in line to the Norwegian throne, after his sister and his father, but is also in the top 100 of the British line of succession to the throne.

Photo Credit: Official Norwegian Royal Family Website

A Royal Execution, a Royal Wedding, and a Royal Birth

May 19th

Photo credits: (Left) Wikipedia; (Middle) Unknown; (Right) credit

Henry VIII’s 2nd and most famous wife, Anne Boylen, was beheaded on this day in 1536.

Henry Ulick Lascelles, grandson of Princess Mary (sister of George VI) and son of Queen Elizabeth’s 1st cousin, the Hon. Gerald Lascelles, was born on this day in 1953.

Another royal Henry–aka Prince Harry, was married on this day in 2018 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

More Shared Birthdays

March 1st

Photo Credits: (Left) credit; (Middle) found at credit Alan Davidson; (Right) found at credit copyright:Mark Stewart Photography Ltd

Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the husband of Princess Anne, was born March 1, 1955.

Serena, Countess of Snowdon, wife of Princess Margaret’s son David (better known by his life-long title, Viscount Linley), was born March 1, 1970.

Lady Rose (Windsor) Gilman, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, was born March 1, 1980.


A Royal Wedding and Two Birthdays

July 1st


Princess Alice, second daughter of Queen Victoria, and great-grandmother of Prince Philip (also the mother of assassinated Tzarina Alexandra and martyred Grand Duchess Serge (Ella) and grandmother of Lord Mountbatten and Queen Louise of Sweden) married Prince Ludwig (Louis) of Hesse on July 1, 1862. Little could she know that just over a century later, the future bride (and ex-wife) her of Great-Great-Great Grandson Prince Charles, would be born.


Lady Diana Spencer, the future bride of the Prince of Wales, was born on July 1, 1960.



Also born on July 1 (1999) was Princess Margaret’s grandson, Charles, Viscount Linley.




A Future Queen Marries and a Future King is Born

July 22nd


Princess Maud of Wales (daughter of Edward VII) married Prince Charles of Denmark–soon to become King Haakon of Norway on July 22, 1896.



Photo copyright Jason Bell/Camera Press

Prince George of Cambridge was born July 22, 2013. He is related to Princess Maud through both the Queen and Prince Philip. Princess Alexandra (Maud’s mother) was the sister of King George I of Greece, Prince Philip’s paternal grandfather.


To see Parts I and II of this post series click on the linked titles below:

Shared Birthdays etc Part I

Shared Birthdays etc Part II


To see all of my Royal Family posts, click on the words Royal Family in the tag cloud in the right sidebar.

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Admiral Sir Tim Laurence with step-granddaughter Mia Tindall

Review: The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel by Georgie Blalock


My Interest

If you read this blog, you know I’m a royal fan! Princess Margaret was both the Diana and the Harry of her day, so this re-telling of her story piqued my interest. That I happened to listen to the book on the birthday of David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowden and son of Princess Margaret was just extra fun.

The Story

When her cousin brings her to an event Princess Margaret is attending, the Hon. Vera Strathmore [interesting choice of name–Margaret’s maternal grandfather was the Earl of Strathmore] hits it off with the 19-year-old second daughter of King George VI.  When Margaret is advised that Vera is the real name of novelist Rose Lavish the Princess takes her into her so-called “Margaret set” [think Harry’s Glossy Posse] as one of Her Royal Highness’s Ladies in Waiting–a role that combines nanny, friend, confidant, social secretary, and protocol chief all in one.

As the years go on and Margaret rejects any thought of marriage to the eligible future Dukes, Marquesses or Earl in her set, Vera, too, has to push aside ideas of marriage. Her future and her status as Lady in Waiting are too intertwined. Her life mirrors that of the Princess who cannot give up everything, as she had thought she could, to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.

When photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones hits the scene Vera sees the future all too clearly.

My Thoughts

The story is well-told. Happily, the author did not try to create personalities for the entire royal family. She kept her narrative tightly focused on the small ensemble of Margaret, Vera, Charmaine Douglas (daughter of the American Ambassador) and a few others. Her characterization of Princess Margaret was very believable. At times, I had to remind myself I was reading about “Margot” and not her errant great-nephew Prince Harry and his wife. The Windsors have had many rebels. All seem to want what they can never be: to be “ordinary” in that they are ignored by the press. None ever wants to do without the deference, money, lavish lifestyle or the rest of it. Just the press “be gone”!

My Verdict on the Story

Four Stars


The Problems

If you are going to write about the Aristocracy and Royals GET THE TITLES RIGHT. Yes, it is fiction, so you can have your characters say whatever you want them to say, but….

Ms. Blalock’s inability to master titles, forms of address and even, in one scene, the basic assignments of servants, detracts from a story that was very well told.  Of course, many readers won’t know or care–but many others will. Fact-checking seems to have vanished from all forms of publishing today. This is the sort of thing an intern could have fact-checked by grabbing a copy or online free trial to Debrett’s!

And do your homework on slang!  Buckingham Palace is known as BUCK HOUSE! Not “Buck Place.” Since this was the single most overused phrase in the entire book, I have to point it out. It is fine to refer to it as “the Palace” and leave it at that.

Titles and Forms of Address Mistakes

The King and Queen are “Their Majesties,” not “Their Royal Highnesses”

The Queen and her consort, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are “Her Majesty and His Royal Highness” as a male consort does not become a “King Consort” [though Denmark’s Prince Henrik died trying for it].

Prince Philip was always a royal and a royal Duke in the time of the story’s setting. No ROYAL Duke is ever “His Grace”. [Philip is a descendant of Queen Victoria and of Christian IX of Denmark just like the Queen and Margaret. He became “Philip Mountbatten” for political reasons].

The Earl of Somewhere is “Lord Somewhere,” not “Lord First-Name Last-Name” which is a designation only for the younger sons of Dukes and Marquesses.

A Duke would only ever have been “Lord Whoever Posh-Person” if he was born a second or lower son. He would never be referred to in that manner after becoming a Duke.

“Lady Imogene Spencer-Churchill” [in the book] cannot be referred to as “Lady Spencer Churchill” only as “Lady Imogene.” Geesh, watch Downton Abbey! Lady Rosilind explains it to Sir Richard way back in Season 1. “Lady Spencer Churchill” would be the wife of an Earl Spencer Churchill or a Viscount Spencer Churchill or a Baron Spencer Churchill or a Sir Chinless Spencer Churchill (but he would be Sir Chinless, never Lord/Sir Spencer Churchill).

“Sir Lascelles”???? NO!! Sir Alan! (i.e., Sir Alan “Tommy” Lascelles). Even “Sir Tommy”–that was his nickname, but never, ever, Sir Lascelles unless Lascelles was his first name and he was “Sir Lascelles Anstruther-Chinless-Scott” or someone. His wife would be Lady Lascelles.

Patrick Plunkett though WAS correctly called Lord Plunkett because he was Baron Plunkett.

“Group Captain” and “Captain” are not interchangeable. Peter Townsend would have been addressed as “Group Captain” (like “Sergent Major”) and never as “Captain”.

Other Mistakes

The Duke of Marlborough was Winston Churchill’s cousin, not brother, so the title “Uncle Winston” was simply a family custom. He was not the uncle of the Duke’s children. This only caught my notice due to all the other title mangling.

Ruby MacDonald would have DIED before she’d have said “the Queen Mum”!! She’d have said “Queen Elizabeth” for Margaret’s mother. Princess Margaret’s sister would be called “Her Majesty” or “The Queen” in conversation. Ruby was with Margaret until she [Ruby] died–was with her from childhood as her “dresser,” i.e. her ladies maid and had a very fraught relationship with Lord Snowdon (as Tony became).

Anthony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones was educated at Sandroyd and Eton and then went to Cambridge where he coxed a winning boat race crew. He was the step-son (and later the half-brother ) of an Earl and would never call Margaret “Your Highness” for he would KNOW that was a different, LESSER rank! [It last used in the British Royal family by two granddaughters of Edward VII (daughters of his daughter).]

A footman would NEVER be sent to pack a lady’s clothing! Maids looked after female guests–they did not just scrub floors.

Reader Mistakes: I listened to the audio version

It is “Ma’am as in ham, not ‘marm’ as in farm”

Lady Anne Coke’s name is pronounced “Cook” in spite of the spelling. Thank God  “Cholmondeley” wasn’t used anywhere.


The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock


For More on Princess Margaret see:




99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown

New Royal Novels

I’ve enjoyed a few royal novels in my day, such as Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle, or Sue Townsend’s wonderful royal novels, to mention only a few. Now interest in Prince Harry’s wedding, Meghan’s-much-clutched bump, and Archie’s apperance on the scen, has led to a few new novels with royal characters–including an imaginary American Royal Family. There has been quite a renewed interest in Princess Grace of Monaco, too, that has generated several new novels. Finally, this summer we have a lot of reasons to read a best-selling romance between a prince and a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue round out the list.

Three Forthcoming Royal Novels

#1 The American Royals by Katherine McGee


From Amazon:

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

American Royals by Katherine McGee releases on September 3, 2019

Thank you to Amy’s Bookish Life for bringing this book to my attention.

#2 The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock


My most anxiously awaited title of the Autumn! I love the title playing on the superb Other Bolyn Girl! Netflix’s The Crown, for all the mischief it has created with fictionalized storylines, has managed to generate new interest in the Queen’s sister and her doomed love affiar with an Equerry. When you realize that Margaret’s niece, Princess Anne, later married an equerry after her own divorce, you can develop a lot of sympathy for the semi-tragic princess.

From Amazon:

In dreary, post-war Britain, Princess Margaret captivates everyone with her cutting edge fashion sense and biting quips. The royal socialite, cigarette holder in one hand, cocktail in the other, sparkles in the company of her glittering entourage of wealthy young aristocrats known as the Margaret Set, but her outrageous lifestyle conflicts with her place as Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister. Can she be a dutiful princess while still dazzling the world on her own terms?

The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock releases November 5, 2019 (should have been November 3rd, the birthday of Magaret’s son David, [2nd] Earl of Snowdon).

#3 The Girl in the White Gloves by Kerri Maher 


The author of The Kennedy Debutante gives us a novel of Grace Kelly. I am looking forward to this one!

From Amazon:

A life in snapshots…

Grace knows what people see. She’s the Cinderella story. An icon of glamor and elegance frozen in dazzling Technicolor. The picture of perfection. The girl in white gloves.

A woman in living color…

But behind the lens, beyond the panoramic views of glistening Mediterranean azure, she knows the truth. The sacrifices it takes for an unappreciated girl from Philadelphia to defy her family and become the reigning queen of the screen. The heartbreaking reasons she trades Hollywood for a crown. The loneliness of being a princess in a fairy tale kingdom that is all too real.
Hardest of all for her adoring fans and loyal subjects to comprehend, is the harsh reality that to be the most envied woman in the world does not mean she is the happiest. Starved for affection and purpose, facing a labyrinth of romantic and social expectations with more twists and turns than Monaco’s infamous winding roads, Grace must find her own way to fulfillment. But what she risks–her art, her family, her marriage—she may never get back.

The Girl in the White Gloves by Kerri Maher releases February 25, 2020

Already a Best-Seller

#4 Red, White, and Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston


This book is getting a ton of buzz this summer! I’ve been on the library’s waiting list for it since it released.

From Amazon:

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse….Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Red, White, and Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

New novels with a royal in the title, but with a story mostly about other people:

Meet Me in Monaco: A Novel of Grace Kelly’s Royal Wedding by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb


I LOVED this story! You can read my review here.

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz


A new novel with a story involving the influence on fashion of Grace’s wedding dress and a young seastress charged with “sewing another gown in its image” (Amazon).

From earlier this year:


The Gown by Jennifer Robson tells the “backstory” of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown.  I LOVED this one, too.

More Royal Book Posts

10 New Royal Books for Royal Wedding Week

Royal Books That I all but Refuse to Let Anyone Touch

For My Royal Family posts, click on Royal Family in the tag cloud in the right sidebar

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