Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the British Royal Household

Adrian Tinniswood. Basic, $32 (416p) ISBN 978-0-465-09402-8
Beginning with Elizabeth I and ending with her reigning namesake, this well-researched, often entertaining narrative illuminates the domestic army of little-known names that manages palatial daily duties and orchestrates elaborate special occasions. Tinniswood (The Long Weekend) describes the behind-the-scenes drudgery of complex Tudor tours of the realm, lavish Stuart masquerades, and the nearly futile efforts of private secretaries attempting to rein in spending (not to mention mistresses, in the cases of Charles II and Edward VIII). Usefully for American readers, Tinniswood explains touchy political matters such as Victoria’s refusal to employ both Tory and Whig ladies of the bedchamber, resulting in a scandal and the famed Sir Robert Peel’s resignation. Twentieth-century royals receive an especially rich treatment, partly because of the advent of television coverage; devoted watchers of The Crown will especially enjoy the nimble analysis of both the narcissistic Edward VIII’s brief reign and Princess Margaret’s doomed romance. In keeping with the sometimes gossipy tone, Tinniswood recounts tell-alls with glee even as he bemoans the lack of privacy for the royal family. Utilizing a Downton Abbey approach, this enlightening narrative allows the royal family mystique to disappear just a little, so those working quietly to maintain the world’s most famous monarchy receive recognition. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 10/02/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-2280-4
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