My suggestions for Xmas holiday reading (warning: really quite royal)

Like me, you may well currently be stockpiling some nice new books to read over the Christmas holidays, so here are some suggestions.

I’ve read and enjoyed each of these over the last few months.  Yes, the list has an eccentrically royal flavour because I’ve been working on a TV project about the history of the monarchy, and have had my nose to the grindstone.

But there are some novels lower down.

Fullest and most modern trade bio of a little boy who’s often underestimated

Pleasantly revisionist account, may well change your mind about poor old Mary!

Enjoyed reading his ‘psychological’ take while at college, still stands the test of time

The fullest, latest word on Anne. Definitive

Fun romp through early lives of Princesses Charlotte and Victoria

Clever new angle on Victoria’s later reign

Again, lots of mourning, really makes you pity Victoria’s kids

As revisionist as the subject allows, good access to sources, good fun too!

Ambitious, covers lots of ground, v. readable (for me, the same author’s book on Anthony Blunt was a brilliant holiday read the year it came out)

  • Kenneth Rose, King George V

Thorough.  Even better is David Cannadine’s essay on it in London Review of Books

A Rolls-Royce biographer.  This saw me through an Xmas holiday some years ago

A light read but with some really unexpected insights

Absolutely required reading this year

Concise, incisive re-cap of the theoretical background to monarchy

I get my suggestions for novel-reading by following Daisy Goodwin on Twitter.  Nearly everything she recommends goes straight onto my Kindle and I’ve never yet been disappointed.

I sort-of guessed that we had an unreliable narrator, but still a great denouement

Lapped this up, clever, malicious, sharp, brilliant

Made me want to go to Martha’s Vineyard

Tailed off a bit towards the end but what a concept!

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