Royal Panoply: Brief Lives of the English Monarchs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Royal Panoply: Brief Lives of the English Monarchs

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  417 ratings  ·  45 reviews
From medieval conqueror to Renaissanceautocrat to Victorian Empress to modern melodrama, Royal Panoplyis the story of some of the most fascinating people in world history.

With hertrademark blend of probing scholarship, lively prose, and psychological insight, Carolly Erickson focuses on each monarch’s entire life---from the puny, sociallyawkwardCharles I, to the choleric,...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1980)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,073)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Terri
This is an extremely handy reference book for the Royal Monarchs from William II to Elizabeth II.
Heather
I started reading this book because I have a few ancestors who were medieval British monarchs and wanted to learn more about them. (I can't say that I am proud of this heritage now that I know more about them.) I liked that the author gave a brief summary of each king or queen's life. Short enough to fit in an average of 8 pages, but detailed enough to give some insight into their personalities. By the last third of the book I was getting pretty bored. Not so much a reflection of the author or h...more
Nick
I've read many books about the English monarchy, being an Anglophile and all that, but this is the best, most entertaining one-volume summation of all the Kings and Queens in order. There's just the right amount of information on each for an overview, and Carolly gets into the psychology and early lives (to the extent possible) about many of them, rare in most histories. Highly recommended if you want to get a walking familiarity with a thousand years of English history.
Angie
Great for anyone intersted in learning about the English Monarchs, but not wanting to spend an eternity reading all the biographies that are out there about them. Each one has a 5-10 page summary. Having read other bios on a few of them, Carolly Erickson pointed out other aspects of their lives and reigns that other biographers didn't mention. She was decent to Richard III. That's why she got three stars. If she had been better, it would have been higher.
Charlene Vickers
Lots of historical blunders here, and some jarring quirks in diction and syntax. For example, Ericksen confuses the words "homosexual" and "homoerotic"; although this is often deliberate among the Pat Robertson/Rick Santorum crowd, here it seems (or at least I hope it is) inadvertent. That's the most striking (and the post potentially teeth-grinding) example, but there are others.

As for the factual errors I mentioned, here's a bunch from one biography: Richard I wasn't gay. He's known to have ha...more
Kristina
I checked this out at the library just to skim and use as a source of reference. But when I started reading it, I couldn't stop and didn't want to even skip a paragraph. The author took British History that could be so dull and gave it life. If you are interested in the monarchy, I highly recommend this book.
JodieSparkes
A good brief outline of the monarchs - introduced me to a new favourite! William Rufus!
Roberta
A fairly interesting group of short bios of British kings from William I to Elizabeth II.
Bonnie
This book gives thumbnail sketches of the kings and queens of England, from William the Conqueror to the current Elizabeth II. If you're looking for a book to teach you about English history through the lives of the monarchs, you should look elsewhere. Although the important events of each reign are mentioned, this book is really about the monarchs themselves. What Erickson does best is make them all human. Whether they've been vilified (i.e., King John of Robin Hood fame and Richard II) or lion...more
Lucy
I’d love to start off this review by giving you an all-around basic idea about what the book is about, but there’s a lot more to this read than meets the eye. Unlike many of the other books that I enjoy for the pure pleasure of reading, Royal Panoply served much more than just this purpose.


Besides its impressive array of English monarchs beginning with William I all the way to Elizabeth II, this book features impressive details that go beyond simply describing royal lives, conquests and fates. C...more
Whitney
Glimpses of the lives of each of the British monarchs from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II. A great book for getting a basic idea of the highlights of each reign and popularly held opinions regarding each monarch and his/her life plus a few less well-known tidbits (to me) (little facts like when George I came to rule England all the general public knew of him was that he was a German general who had locked his beautiful wife in a tower for twenty years and killed her lover after he discove...more
Rebecca
Mar 14, 2011 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History nerds. I mean, buffs. ;D
For starters, I went in to the bookstore hoping to find a book about the extremely dysfunctional Habsburgs on the bargain book shelf. That was a fail; it seems that Barnes and Noble's bargain section is now filled to the brim with asinine, vapid trash - 400 page books about American muscle cars, self-help garbage, and craft books for kids (because when I was a kid, nothing excited me more than origami). They do, however, also carry an adequate selection of history books, though many of them focu...more
Sara-Ellen
I am loving this book! I can't remember when I bought it or where I found it-I suspect in a homeschool catalog. It has an entry on each of the English monarchs and it is helping me tie the eras and their history together into an integrated whole! The only drawback that just glared at me was the last chapter on Queen Elizabeth. I really dislike history of current figures because they are still living their history. The section on Elizabeth II was written early to mid 2000's and is dated in its an...more
Mindy
Being interested in history, and especially the history of the British monarchy, this was a areally helpful book. It was comprised of essays on each monarch, but the flow was great and easy to follow. It's crazy how the deaths of the eldest sons have affected the way the royal line has worked, as alluded to by Erickson herself in her introduction. There were so many deaths of "heirs to the throne" that it makes you wonder if destiny really does have a hand in things. What if Henry VIII's older b...more
Krystal
I'm actually really interested in this book. It has came at quite the surprise because other than the mandatory reading in my british literature class I had never before shown an interest in the monarchs of England. That being said, Carolly Erickson's brilliant modern writing style and ability to to grasp the reader from page one has made this read quite enjoyable.

My only grievance thus far is with every chapter a new monarch is introduced and for the most part their heir (or in the case of a fe...more
Suzanne
Fun to read, but kind of uneven. Each king or queen gets a brief entry, and there's a lot of interesting and sometimes scandalous facts included. However, sometimes things like exactly how the succession came to be aren't clear, assuming I think that the reader would already know. The author also seems pretty opinionated, saying things like that during the current queen's reign, regard for the monarchy was at the lowest level ever. That seems debatable---what about times like when Oliver Cromwel...more
Dick Edwards
This is a very useful and interesting book. Ms. Erickson has managed to include most of the relevant facts about each monarch, and made it very readable. My main criticism is that there should have been descendency charts covering all the monarchs. I also think that there was not enough emphasis on the importance of the Civil War that took place in the mid 17th century and the revolution that took place in 1688. Nevertheless, I plan on keeping this volume handy during future readings in English...more
Victoria
In 331 pages the author covers every monarch from William the Conquerer to the present Queen. Although the bios are brief, I never had the sense that they were abridged versions of longer works. Each has a personal and illuminating aspect to it. 'They' say that it is much more difficult to write something succinct nuch as a short story than something longer such as a novel. In the non-fiction world, Carooly Erickson has succeeded inj producing 39 excellent short 'stories.'
Denise
Royal Panoply is a good book that I enjoyed reading. The author, Carolly Erickson wrote a 10 page summary of each Monarch and detailed their lives and reign. It was informative book, although the author provides very little proof/reference for her subjections, causing the average reader to wonder how precise the book. The book opened my eyes to the lives of the monarchs and I would like to read more about them.
Tony
Erickson's book is an enjoyable series of short personal histories (roughly 10 pages each) of every British monarch from William I to Elizabeth II. It is, however, too skewed towards these monarchs' personal lives. A more balanced approach that gave more detailed treatment to the professional lives and accomplishments of Britain's Kings and Queens would have made for far more interesting reading.
Susan Trofatter
It's the People magazine version of monarchs' bios in the order of their reigns. It provides key information at a glance. Each bio will take only a few minutes to read, but info is detailed without being cumbersome. I liked that it had them arranged in order of their reigns, because it was easy to see how monarchs were aided or impaired by their predecessors' beliefs and actions.
Meaghan
Oct 06, 2007 Meaghan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English history buffs
An excellent book -- the bios are reasonably thorough, but brief enough so that this book makes good bedtime reading -- you can read a biography while you're waiting to get sleepy. I would recommend it as a supplement to other books on English royals, since ten- or twenty-page biographies are no substitute for full-length works.
Jane Apperley
This is a book I bought a while ago and am re reading. I think it's an excellent book for children as well as adults. The author gives interesting details about the life and rule of each Monarch without overloading the reader. It's the sort of book you can dip in and out of if you need to.
David Hurst
Excellent and chatty summary of the lives of English Monarchs since 1066. I doubt the author will be getting a knighthood. I am glad that my life is not subject to the sort of harsh scrutiny... but then I guess I am unlike to become a head of state. So perhaps the author is right to judge coldly.
Meryl
This book is great as a reference to English monarchs. It is great if you need a quick reminder about where kings and queens fit into the monarchy time line and how they relate to one another. Though you need to read elsewhere for detailed events this is a very useful synopsis of our monarchy.
Jennifer
I really enjoyed this book as a survey of the monarchs. It was informative yet light in tone. I do have some concern about how the author puts a negative slant on the different personalities. Many things that are conjecture among researchers were stated as facts.
Jubi L
Nov 13, 2008 Jubi L rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jubi by: Joy Chaussee
Very informative. I suggest taking notes throughout because at bookclub discussion, you'll be confused without notes. A note about the book--We think times are bad right now (morally)! There was some pretty rotten stuff happening, even amongst the "upper crust."
Julie
This was a great source for just what it says: brief lives of English Monarchs. I now have a much better idea of the chronology of the kings and queens and how one followed another. It was an entertaining read and just suited my need. Highly recommended.
Patricia
I'm reading this slowly, between other things. It's an excellent reference and reminder of which king was who and did what, especially when you are reading historical fiction or plays. Engagingly written, holds the interest while giving you the facts.
Borax
A summary...it sucks to be the King. Your kids will hate you. You can't trust anyone. For some reason you will always be looking for a reason to invade France and Wales. People will do terrible things to your body as soon as you are dead.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327-1330
  • Sovereign Ladies: The Six Reigning Queens of England
  • In Triumph's Wake: Royal Mothers, Tragic Daughters, and the Price They Paid for Glory
  • Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy
  • The Kings and Queens of England and Scotland
  • Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny, and Desire
  • Great Tales from English History
  • Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's True Love
  • Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty
  • Edward VI: The Lost King of England
  • Mad Kings & Queens
  • Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens
  • Kings and Queens of England
  • Queen Emma: A History of Power, Love, and Greed in 11th-Century England
  • A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings
  • Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
  • The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France
  • A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain
6597
Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson is the author of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, The First Elizabeth, Great Catherine, Alexandra and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Hawaii.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/caroll...
More about Carolly Erickson...
The Last Wife of Henry VIII The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette Bloody Mary: The Life of Mary Tudor The Tsarina's Daughter Rival to the Queen

Share This Book