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Monarchy: England and Her Rulers from the Tudors to the Windsors

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  657 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
David Starkey's thrilling new paperback charts the rise of the British monarchy from the War of the Roses, the English Civil War and the Georgians, right up until the present day monarchs of the 20th Century.
Paperback, 362 pages
Published 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published September 3rd 2000)
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Sep 04, 2013 Jan-Maat rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Written as a TV tie-in this is a light, old-fashioned Kings, Queens and eighteenth-century Prime Ministers account of almost entirely English history that has nothing more than that to recommend itself.

It is a bad sign from the first when the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex is described as a "participatory society" with "mutual responsibility between crown and people". Starkey is a Tudor specialist with no particular expertise either before or after that period, but even so it was a surprise to re
Mar 24, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Robespierre and the Emperor Bokassa
David Starkey used to drive me insane on 'The Moral Maze', an ethics programme on radio 4. He had to be the rudest and most viscious tongued brat that bestrode the airwaves like a poisonous colossus or maybe that was colonoscopy; either way he was not my favourite person but in this book he manages to endear himself to me by a windwhistle but fascinating tour though the 500 or so years of Monarchy from Henry VII's accession in 1485 to Prince Charles' marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2006.

Nov 10, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
Three stars only because there is no citation or biblography. Honestly David Starkey, I expected better from you.

That said, this book is very readable. The prose is compelling and not dry at all. Starkey writes like he talks, but since this a book, I am spared his facial expressions that drive me nuts when I watch him. I swear, he is always looking down his nose at me. I guess my only quibble is that sometimes Starkey seems not to like women very much. Some of his comments are very catty -Queen
Michael William West
Unlike most people I quite enjoy David Starkey's ability to offend virtually anyone he meets, especially teenage columnists from the New Statesman who perpetually stalk the media, knives bared, ready to combat anyone who didn't vote Green. But reading this, for me a rare foray (or folly) into popular history, was a mistake. I suppose his target audience is one that reads under duress, but all the same it reads as though it were written by a 15 year old, not for one. Swamps of adverbs rise up ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
This is quite a fascinating book giving you a sanpshot of the Kings and Queens of England since Richard III and how Monarchy has adapted to meet the needs of the times and to ensure monarchy survived. Most focus is up to the time of Victoria, with a small section of 20th and 21st Century Monarchy. I would have liked more detail on the 20th and 21st Century but I learnt quite a lot about some Kings and Queens I knew little about. This is a companion to a TV series (which I haven't watched) and ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 21, 2013 Hamid rated it liked it
I'm going to preface this with a little note about David Starkey. He seems like a horrible human being. His politics is absurd and anytime he appears in public he's an embarrassment to himself, to the UK and to the profession. Saying that, he's well-read, erudite and can narrate a History as well as (or better than) anyone of his generation. There's no need to like him in order to appreciate the way he relates History. His interpretation is sometimes coloured by his politics but, for the most ...more
Jul 16, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it
First off, this was an audio book, which precludes my usual rant about sources and the importance of citations.

That said.


Dr. Galgano would be proud.

Back to the book. When I realized it was read by the author, I did worry a bit. David Starkey comes across vocally as a pompous asshat. Now, admittedly that might be because he's british...but...he does come off rather snottily though at times. So when I heard his voice come through my lime green headphones...I shook a bit (I love elips
Jun 06, 2014 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biography
I registered a book at!

I remember reading Monarchy when it first was published and it is cram packed with information. However, there is so much that this second reading seven years later felt like a new book! I like David Starkey's writing style which is often drily humorous. Having recently also read his book solely about Elizabeth I, much of the early section was familiar. However, he gives plenty of space to the shorter reigned mon
Apr 27, 2013 Sally906 rated it liked it
Opening Sentence: “…In late 1487, King Henry VII had much to celebrate…”

David Starkey gives a brief run down of all the rulers of England starting with King Henry VII and finishing with Queen Victoria. He concentrates more on the political manouvering that went on before each King, Queen and Lord Protector was in a position to rule. having a parent who was ruler was no guarantee that you would be next in line – marriages and religion also played an important part.

David Starkey is an eminent hist
Sep 29, 2010 Davida rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book is very interesting and also very easy to read. It gives a brief account of all monarchs and their period from the time of Henry VII up to the present day. This period is also covered in Starkey's documentary bearing the same title.
Perhaps I would have appreciated footnotes and references, but that would have defeated the purpose of the story-telling aspect of the book. The first few pages outline the monarchy family tree(s), and it is very well explained. I did find myself referring t
Jul 09, 2015 Sean rated it liked it
This is a solid book full of information on the people involved. Starkey does take a more modern conservative approach e.g. favouring William of Orange over James II, portraying Cromwell as a dictator; which is what brings this down one star for me. What brings it down from five stars is that it is largely an information book and does not properly cover certain monarchs in great detail, largely dynasties, and if it is in great detail, then it is long-reigned ones which historians prefer e.g. ...more
Apr 10, 2015 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
c2006: Well written, well-researched and a good reference book for the shelf. The blurb stated that this is a 'magisterial new book' from the author. I was curious as to what this actually meant and had to laugh at the definition on one web-site ie "A person who is magisterial can be distinguished and grand, or possibly just conceited and bossy.' Recommended to the history buffs amongst the normal crew. "The English Parliament, however, saw no reason why taxpayers' money - their money- should en ...more
Sep 29, 2010 Tigger rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
An easily readable and very interesting journey through the institution of the English monarchy, covering the lives and impacts of individual monarchs whilst exploring the way the power and meaning of the institution has changed throughout history. It focuses primarily on rulers such as Henry the 8th, Elizabeth I and (there is only a brief mention of Diana and the current royal family) Queen Victoria.

Whilst the book itself was fascinating, let me say:
WHY WHY WHY do they all have to have the sam
Nicky Lewis
Nov 24, 2013 Nicky Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always highly rate authors who are able to take an interesting but deeply factual and, on the face of it, cold subject, and make it engaging.

I was aware of some of England's history before reading this book but only from what I was taught in school which is obviously very limited and one sided. This book really helped to broaden my understanding of how the governance of England, as I know it today, was formed.

Apart from the monarchy, the two main themes running throughout the book are how pa
Stephen Caul
Having admired Mr Starkey's previous works both the written word and his television work, I found this book rather disappointing.

Rather than a detailed history of our Royal Houses from the middle ages which is what I expected, he gave us just a bland and non descript overview. There was no passion in his writing and he didn't reveal anything new about the various kings and queens that we didn't already know.

There were parts of the book which I found interesting but then just pittered out and w
Aug 11, 2012 Frances rated it liked it
An interesting overview of the period it covers. Often the perspective is slightly different from what we have come to expect from historians. Also, told as a story rather than a dry book of fact which makes it more entertaining. I have the audible version which is read by the author. To begin with I found his overblown cut glass accent a little annoying, but I got used to it and enjoyed the book very much.
Aug 09, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
A very interesting survey of royal politics stemming from Henry VIII to Elizabeth II. I learned a fair bit from this, since I haven't read much about the Stuarts, Cromwell, and the Hanoverians before this. It was especially enlightening to gain some insight on the events that led to the execution of Charles I, not to mention how the monarchy had to continually evolve in order to survive in an ever-changing world.
Catherine Brooks
Sep 11, 2014 Catherine Brooks rated it it was amazing
I have always loved the Tudors, but have only recently made my learning a bit more in depth. This has led to extended interest in the Monarchy.
A number of reviews on here have said that this book is too basic, inadequately referenced etc. But as an overview, that's all it needs to be. I LOVED it, and it has played a large part in shaping my views on the Monarchy.
I did find myself reading it in Starkey's voice in my head!
Helene Harrison
Review - This book doesn't just cover the kings and queens, but the development of the monarchy from the Middle Ages to the current time. Development of something over time isn't discussed enough, as historians seem to focus on just one period of time, or one person. Starkey makes some interesting points about the comparisons between monarchs, and the importance of the succession.

General Subject/s? - History / Monarchy / Politics

Recommend? - Yes

Rating - 16/20
Jun 30, 2014 Julie rated it liked it
I have the DVD set and the book is word for word the same (or the dvd is word for word the same as the book) so I didn't learn anything new.
I find his books easier reading than some others on the subject of the English monarchy but as I had already seen the series it took me ages to read through this.
Ray Hall
Feb 02, 2014 Ray Hall rated it liked it
This is David Starkey's brief account of the Kings and Queens of England from the Tudors to the present day.I enjoyed-reading this book about History and found there is quite a lot that I do not know.I found the book easy to read and informative,a good read with plenty of interesting characters and personalities.
Dec 09, 2010 Em rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, factual, 2010
As far as history goes I found David Starkey to be very readable and accessible - this is great for an overview of the institution of the Monarchy, it doesn't delve too deep but remains informative and interesting throughout.
Jul 18, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite already being familiar with the history of the English/British monarchy, I still learned a lot from this book, on the character of each monarch covered and the impact that they personally had. The only disappointment is that the 20th century rulers are only covered briefly in the epilogue. Having listened to the audiobook version, I enjoyed David Starkey's reading style too.
Susanna Newsholme
Jul 13, 2013 Susanna Newsholme rated it really liked it
This book gives a really good overview of the monarchy from the War of the Roses to the present day. It is a bit brief as you can imagine but provides you with an oversight of those monarchs whom you may want to find out more about.
Ashley Farrell
Aug 13, 2013 Ashley Farrell rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
No footnotes or a bibliography, Mr. Starkey? I think my history professors would have lost their minds if I tried to hand something in without references.

That being said, it's an easy and accessible read about the British monarchy from the Tudors to the Windsors. 3 stars.
Lucy Murphy
May 25, 2012 Lucy Murphy rated it really liked it

So easy to read, anyone who has a passing interest in the stories and scandals of past British monarchs will enjoy this. It should not be used as a reference book, as there are no citations, however it tells a great (and allegedly true!) story.
Feb 06, 2016 Lara rated it liked it
Definitely more breadth than depth, but it helps to see the themes of different monarchs through the centuries.
Jul 13, 2015 Edward rated it it was ok
Picture Credits
Introduction: The Imperial Crown

--Monarchy: England and Her Rulers from the Tudors to the Windsors

Taylor Kniphfer
Oct 14, 2011 Taylor Kniphfer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A great book. But if you've watched the television program, do not buy it. It is almost exactly word for word what Starkey says on television.
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David Robert Starkey, CBE, FSA is a British historian, a television and radio presenter, and a specialist in the Tudor period.
More about David Starkey...

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