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The Royals

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Kitty Kelley, bestselling investigative biographer, delivers a controversial portrait of the British royal family as told from behind the palace walls...perfect for fans of Netflix's The Crown.

They are the most chronicled family on the face of the globe. Their every move attracts headlines. Now Kitty Kelley has gone behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace to raise the curtain on the men and women who make up the British royal family. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana...here are the scandals of the last decades: the doomed marriages and the husbands, wives, lovers and children caught in their wake and damaged beyond repair. No one is spared.

784 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1997

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About the author

Kitty Kelley

44 books76 followers
Kitty Kelley is an American investigative journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Described as a "poison pen" biographer, her profiles frequently contain unflattering personal anecdotes and details, and their accuracy is often questioned. Though many of her books have topped the best sellers list, Kelley's credibility and sources have been called into question multiple times.

Time magazine reported that most journalists believe Kelley "too frequently fails to bring perspective or analysis to the fruits of her reporting and at times lards her work with dollops of questionable inferences and innuendos." In addition, Kelley has been described by Joe Klein as a "professional sensationalist" and her books have been described as "Kitty litter."

Her past subjects have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, and the Bush family. Although Kelley has been criticized and her books hotly debated, she has never been successfully sued for libel and has never been forced to retract a written statement.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 261 reviews
Profile Image for Erin .
1,234 reviews1,143 followers
May 21, 2021
Kitty Kelley always delivers. If you want to read about the juicy scandalous lives of the rich and famous then you can't go wrong with Ms. Kelley.

The Royals is super old. It was published in 1997 the same year Princess Diana died....but obviously it was written before her death so it ends on a hopeful note for the Princess. The royal family in the 1990's was scandal filled and deeply unpopular with the people. Kelley several times wonders if the royal family will even survive, now we know that 2021 the royal family is fine. The kicked the only Black members out of the family and basically told Meghan to kill herself and the family has never been more loved in England or by the American rightwingers.

Once again racism saves the monarchy!

Obviously Kitty Kelley spends the majority of the book on the two most scandalous members of the royal family at that time Diana and Sarah Ferguson. I personally found Fergie the most fun to read about. She's wild!

I personally would have liked to learn about the Queen's parents and grandparents. Kelley only briefly covers the Queens parents but she hints at even more juicy dirt involving them.

If you want a serious historical look at the Windors, this ain't it.

But if you want a tabloid in book form, find yourself a copy of this book.
Profile Image for Kelly.
650 reviews3 followers
August 24, 2013
While many things are referred to as “guilty pleasures,” until recently I have never felt guilty about any of them. I can settle in with a big bag of candy and a trashy book I’ve read dozens of times and not feel guilty at all. But I felt guilty every step of the way with this one: looking it up in the library catalog, finding it on the shelves, checking it out…Even after bringing it home, I still debated whether I would actually read it.

But I did read it, feeling guilty about it most of the way through. The book is basically the world’s longest US Weekly article, focusing on little besides every bit of gossip and scandal surrounding the British monarchy for the last century. If not pulled from an old newspaper article, every story was either, “according to a former equerry of the prince” or “recalled a friend of the duchess.” God help anyone who has their story assembled based on reporters and the recollections of past friends, acquaintances, and enemies. At least I knew going into it that it was basically written by Rita Skeeter and therefore not to be entirely believed. The guilt was knowing that no one deserves their private lives intruded upon in such detail. It focused so much on the negative.

I read it all because I just can’t get enough of the British Royals. I'm roughly the same age as Prince William, so ever since I was a little girl I've known that there was a real life prince out there who would someday marry someone- why not me? Sure I’m an American and I’ve never even set foot in Great Britain, but being an Anglican born in the early 80’s gave me just enough hope for a lifelong fantasy. Even now, with the fabulous Duchess Kate and baby Prince George, the monarchy is great for fantasy. As William and Kate left the hospital with their new baby, I sighed and thought, I know just what it feels like to leave the hospital with a sweet baby boy. At precisely that moment, my very own little boy ran by me in a superhero cape and shouted, “YOU’RE THE BAD GUY!” I can’t imagine that Prince George would ever yell that at his mother, the future Queen. We love having a monarchy around so we can vicariously live a fairy tale through them. (But also as Americans, not be bossed around by anyone.)

My favorite piece of the book was this:

“The Palace press office announced the formal style for Lady Diana Spencer. “Following the wedding, she will be known as Diana, the Princess of Wales,” said an aide. “She’s not Princess Diana because she was not born a princess, and she’s not the Princess Diana because only children of the sovereign are entitled to ‘the’ before their title.” Americans, who did not understand titles or their subtleties, called her Princess Di.”

As my husband noted when I read him that section, we fought and won a war so we wouldn’t have to understand those titles or subtleties. But I love that as Americans, we stay obsessed.

The book was published in 1997, prior to Princess Diana’s death. It slogged through the demise of the marriages of the queen’s children and ended with an unsure future for Prince Charles as King and a crumbling House of Windsor. So much has changed in the fifteen years since the book was written (William and Harry were children at the time, so barely mentioned), so in a way it ends at what we know now is probably the worst spot to create an ending in a continuing story. Of course, no one knew that at the time. It results in an interesting look at a point in history.

So, two stars, not because I didn’t enjoy (I guess? Oh, the guilt!) reading the book, but because it could have easily been less gossipy and more substantial. I wanted to hear about the people and the book was just too mean.
Profile Image for Marianne.
216 reviews9 followers
June 3, 2011
Okay, I knew it would be a trashy "exposé" of the Windsors in Great Britain but I didn’t know just how trashy. I like historic biography and the way this book was described it sounded like fun – a cheeky, irreverent peek at the royal family – but it was more of a nasty character assassination with too many unsubstantiated claims to hold my interest. I mean, if I’m going to bother reading it, I’d at least like to be able to believe the majority of it. That wasn’t the case here. Too much speculation and not enough verifiable facts plus a preoccupation with everyone’s sex lives and the book was a royal bore.
Profile Image for Lois .
1,770 reviews464 followers
December 5, 2019
******This is not fact*****
This is not based on facts
If those limits don't put you off, this is a wild ride.
The scandals were way juicier than The Crown on Netflix.
If you like that show you should enjoy this.
Just bear in mind this is not truth or fact.
This is unsubstantiated gossip and I enjoyed every fucking word!
Profile Image for GoldGato.
1,140 reviews40 followers
January 31, 2018
This is a behind-the-scenes look at the Windsors, or the Germanic family that changed its name during WWI so it would appear more British. It's a long book but if you're interested in the English ruling royals and their offspring, this is one volume to peruse.

Now, it appears that much info comes from unnamed sources, many of whom seem to be a little angry and condescending. Downstairs wants to be upstairs, so to speak. I'm sure Kelley did her research, but I always take everything with a grain of salt when memories come with agendas. Still, I was never bored, although I wish there was more on George V, who for all his faults looks like Zeus compared to his children and grandchildren. Much of the book is focused on the current Queen and her brethren. Oh my. Oh my. Oh my.

Unlike others, I don't begrudge Prince Charles his idiosyncrasies. I talk to my plants, too. Then again, I won't be the future ruler of the United Kingdom. Where I DO differ from just about everyone else on the planet is on the late Princess Diana. She always reminded me of an ambitious and scheming airhead, so I wasn't off-put by some of the revelations on these pages. In fact, I think Kelley was being nice to her (this was published just before Diana's death). Which isn't saying much. Fergie and Andrew get hit really hard and as for Margaret and Edward and the parasitic brood, yikes. Prince Philip may be a hardass, but I actually enjoyed the picture Kitty Kelley paints of him.

As for the Queen, I'm surprised she's not in therapy (perhaps she is). I always viewed her as a CEO trying to run an organization ("the firm") with a bunch of nutbuckets on the payroll. Her portrait here is as a woman who has tried to maintain the previous standards of keeping families intact without divorce only to see her sister, two sons, and daughter not abide by the same rule. She seems to have been partial to certain members but when Charles takes over, it appears he wants to run a more streamlined institution which would include removing family members from the payroll. Chucky III.

I give this three stars because I learned quite a bit even if I don't believe everything due to courtier vendettas and royal bickering. The layout could have been better. Suddenly the emphasis is on Andrew/Fergie, then switches to Edward, then back to someone else. I guess I'm a boring reader, but a bit more chronology rather than bitchiness would have served this big production much better.

Book Season = Summer (one generation per month)

Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,633 followers
November 23, 2020
Well do I remember reading this book when I lived in Delaware, howling over some of the anecdotes, gasping over others, and forcing my husband to listen to me read huge passages aloud! Completely bonkers, probably 90% made up, but absolutely page turning!
Profile Image for Jenn Mattson.
1,051 reviews31 followers
October 20, 2008
This was like reading some of the juciest articles I've sneaked a peak at while at the frocery store cash register mashed into one entertaining tome and containing my favorite anecdote, "If you queens are finished gossiping, this queen would like her tea!"
Profile Image for Denise Spicer.
Author 14 books61 followers
June 24, 2021
This lengthy, 547 pages, book contains Author's Note, photo credits, Bibliography, Chapter Notes, genealogy chart of the Royal House of Windsor, and an Index. The author focuses on members of the Windsor Dynasty, created in 1917 by George V to obscure his German heritage from his English subjects. The text follows the lives of the Royals in great detail, featuring lots and lots of tabloid news and sordid details of scandals. Includes photos
Profile Image for Rick.
159 reviews1 follower
April 19, 2011
Liked it. Very interesting expose on the royal family of England. The book profiled all the major players going all the way back to George V and not a one of them came off as being a decent human being who one would want to actually know as a friend. What a waste of millions of dollars a year to keep these gold plated parasites in business! Makes me glad we cut the cord with them back in 1776.
Profile Image for Warren Rochelle.
Author 12 books40 followers
February 10, 2011
OK, I am an Anglophile; I admit it. And I have always been fascinated with royalty, their marriages, families, behind the castle walls, and dynastic lines, kingdoms rising and falling, maintaining, and the whole nine yards.

Kelley takes you behind the castle walls all right: straight into the bedrooms or the gardens or wherever royal trysts have taken place, and usually not the royal spouse. This is a gossipy, tell-all look into the House of Windsor, which officially began in 1917. George V and his crew, who--to separate his family's German origins from his people's imaginations during World War I, renamed the royal family from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Victoria's Albert's family name)to Windsor (from Windsor Castle). She spares no one of what seems to be one dysfunctional clan to beat them all: infidelity, affairs and affairs and affairs, hidden homosexuality, neglected children, marriages without real love...

I ate it up. This was great fun.
Profile Image for Ginger Jane.
71 reviews6 followers
July 24, 2011
I've given up on this book because I think it's simply revolting. Katherine described it as all "gossip and accounting" which really tells you everything you need to know about the content. As for the tone: it's malicious and quite quite nasty. I have enough of my own problems and I don't need to fill my precious reading time with pure poison.
Profile Image for Amadeo Vanhaverbeke.
9 reviews5 followers
February 4, 2020
In de eerste 100 pagina's een goed en duidelijk feitenrelaas van het Huis van Windsor. Daarna een zeer uitgebreide beschrijving van het koningschap van de huidige Queen Elizabeth, vaak eerder anekdotiek en roddel. Als men daaroverheen kan kijken leest men een goed boek dat de evolutie binnen de Britse monarchie van de laatste 100 jaar mooi schetst.
Profile Image for Loulou.
99 reviews
December 31, 2021
bardzo interesująca, idealna do pogłębienia wiedzy o dynastii
593 reviews15 followers
July 20, 2022
I bought this book a few years ago at an outside sale, as I had read this author's book about Elizabeth Taylor, and enjoyed its balance, which rang true, but it sat on my TBR shelf for a long time...I have always been fairly neutral about our Royal family, but mourned the tragic death of Princess Diana, and watched her coffin pass with my family. I didn't want to read anything written by a sycophant, and now picked up this book to read some reality! The contents sadly did not surprise me at all. Unfortunately for them, these days it is very difficult to keep embarrassing secrets and attitudes hidden, but the right wing tabloids still try their hardest. Take Meghan and Harry - I will never forget him walking behind his mother's coffin at 12 years old, she was his grounding presence, and I can't imagine what he and William went through at that time. Harry has exposed a lot about "The Firm", which has turned the tabloid press completely against him - although, Meghan is portrayed as an evil woman, who is the cause of all ills! No wonder they live in the USA! This book goes a long way to confirming Harry's complaints. It does run more like a firm than a family, struggling to survive the modern world, and rejecting criticism, praising "duty", whilst leading lives of expected respect and luxury, just for being born into it. The book does not cover the death of Diana, as it was published before the event, but there is more in the public domain covering that terrible time and beyond.

I have always found it ridiculous that the Royal family did not allow marriage to Catholic or divorced people well into the twentieth century, but then they certainly do not move with the times, and held vile racist views quite openly! The late Duke of Edinburgh was well known for his "gaffes", but seems to have been forgiven his shocking statements due to his proximity to the Queen!

I do feel sorry for Charles because of his miserable childhood with cold parents, but he has made big mistakes himself, all of which are known the world over.

Just two examples of the passages that disturbed me:

" As long as they produce children and keep the bloodline going...that's all that's required. Whether the bridegroom is homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual doesn't matter, as long as the marriage looks good on the outside and is kept up for public appearances. It's worse for gay men in the aristocracy because it's the duty of the oldest make to produce an heir to pass on the family name, the property, and the title. So they've got to get married, no matter what their sexual orientation is, which accounts for the long established tradition in Britain of homosexual men marrying women simply to breed. Makes no difference what they do later on the side as long as they do it discreetly. That's the hypocrisy of it all. "

" ...according to a 1972 Harris poll, [most Britons] believed that it was the monarchy that set the standards of morality for the country, even more so than the church. Such confidence in the Crown prompted the Queen to send a "gracious message" to Parliament asking for a pay rise. Although one million people were out of work at the time, no member of Parliament, except one, wanted to deprive the sovereign of her tax-free allotment from the Civil List. "

Abolish the Monarchy is a growing movement, especially in ever worsening times and amid huge scandals, as people question the value of an unelected and publicly funded institution. I am afraid that I have recently done the same, although I don't believe anyone wants to make a move while the Queen is alive. How will the family live it their status and funding is removed? I think, as one of the richest families in the world, they will manage 🙄.
Profile Image for Bookish.
613 reviews140 followers
April 17, 2017
The Royals was a sensation even before it was first published in 1997. There was a lot of controversy about what Kitty Kelley was going to dig up on the British royal family and what was going to be put in the book. Although she wasn’t censored, Kelley did have a bit of difficulty in publishing the book. I’m an admitted Anglophile with a great love of the royal family. Why it has taken me so long to read this, I don’t know. A few pages in, I’m already finding things about the royals that astound me. There are so many things I don’t know about. For example, did you know that Queen Elizabeth is the product of artificial insemination? That’s only one tidbit. I haven’t gotten very far in, but I can’t wait to find out what else there is to discover. I can’t put it down. This is a must-read book for Anglophiles and royalists. —Barb (https://www.bookish.com/articles/frid...)
Profile Image for Susan.
Author 8 books75 followers
November 21, 2017
Kitty Kelley’s book “The Royals” ends with the famous quote from historian Walter Bagehot about royalty: “In its mystery is its life. We must not let daylight in upon magic.”

But this book is pretty much 500 pages of letting in way more daylight than even royalty fans like me would like.

I read one review of this book that called it “the world’s longest US Weekly article,” and that’s pretty accurate. There are tons of anecdotes about the royal family, going back to Queen Elizabeth’s parents. Many outrageous things are posited, often with a gossipy tone and comments such as “there’s absolutely no evidence for this, but it was always assumed …” Kitty Kelley has written similar “tell alls” about Jackie O, Elizabeth Taylor, Nancy Reagan, and more, so this is her modus operandi.

The book talks about an affair that Prince Philip allegedly had, then in the next paragraph denies it — why include this, then? It also says that Princess Diana had a miscarriage. I’d never heard that, and looking a bit online, can’t find anything confirming it either. So, more speculation I suppose.

When Sarah “Fergie” was in the midst of a mess with her marriage to Prince Andrew, the book quotes Prince Philip as saying to her, “Look, you may like to know that there but for the grace of God go I.” I found myself wondering how the author had heard this exact quote (she even claims it was said “softly”).

So I’d take pretty much everything here with a grain of salt, but in 500 pages you’re bound to come across some witty bits. For instance, the Queen is described as “an obsessive-compulsive child, once described by her governess as too methodical and tidy — too dutiful for her own good.”

Or how about this vivid description of Prince Charles, allegedly from a classmate: “He walks into a room like a dark cloud in a double-breasted suit.”

The book was published in 1997, the year Diana died, but prior to her death. This makes some parts of it rather poignant. For instance, the book discusses several parallels between Diana and Grace Kelly, and mentions them meeting. Of course, now there are more parallels: both died young, and in car crashes.

Also, the book discusses Andrew Morton working with Diana’s friends on the blockbuster book “Diana: Her True Story.” Of course, we now know that Diana herself was the source for that, and not just her friends. So it’s interesting when the book quotes Charles as reading an excerpt from the book and complaining, “I can just hear her saying those things. Those are her words, exactly.”

So, take it all with plenty of advisement. I did enjoy the book overall, as I’m a royal junkie. But I can’t totally recommend this, or vouch for its accuracy.
Profile Image for Eleonora.
19 reviews
January 23, 2020
È sicuramente molto divertente per chi sguazza nel gossip da teste coronate o per chi è fan di The Crown, ma è anche tanto becero e quindi è difficile capire quale sia la percentuale di verità delle cose che racconta.
Poi, essendo del 1997, non fa un ritratto lusinghiero né di Diana né di Sarah Ferguson (giustamente, direi: i capitoli su di loro hanno irritato me, non so la regina come sia riuscita a non prendere una e picchiarci l'altra), ma nell'appendice, scritta dopo la morte di Diana, la Kelley ne fa un ritratto agiografico e piagnucoloso e questo tutto è meno che giornalismo.
In sostanza, ne escono tutti malissimo, si vede tanto che la Kelley è americana (difficoltà coi titoli nobiliari, malcelato disprezzo per la monarchia, unito ad una certa fascinazione, critiche al sistema classista inglese come se piovesse, assist agli USA e una quasi totale incomprensione di cosa sia la monarchia in Inghilterra), ma se si prendono con le pinze le cose che racconta, è una lettura divertente.
Profile Image for Alanna.
83 reviews
January 1, 2019
I picked up this book because I am a huge fan of The Crown and saw some excerpts of this book on a twitter thread. There are some juicy tidbits in this book. I was more interested in the first portion of this book rather than second half. The first portion had a lot of juicy info on the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Prince Philip and the Queen. So much of the second half dealt with Princess Diana, which has been in the modern media so much it was rather boring to reread.
Overall this was an enjoyable read for a fan of The Crown.
Profile Image for Sarah Mackey.
240 reviews21 followers
January 17, 2019
This book was gossipy as *fuck* and incredibly flimsy but DAMN it was readable. It was originally published in early 1997 and there's an epilogue and an afterword that's basically like, "uh, and then shit REALLY went down!" And yet despite it being written before everything that happened when Diana died and afterwards, it was not short on scandal!

I would totally read a second volume of this about 1997-present. If you are looking for a good mindless read for a long flight, you could do worse!
Profile Image for Judi Hensley.
71 reviews
November 15, 2022
Trashy good fun. Diana comes off flighty and insecure, Charles weak, the Queen and her sister cold, but the author saves the real dirt for Prince Phillip, who does not fare well at any point here. Kelly paints him a real pompous ass. Almost all of the servants turn on the RF. One has to wonder how much of it is true. I’ve always had an affinity for Diana, since we were born the same month of the same year, and can’t help but wonder what her life would have looked like had her life not ended so tragically.
Profile Image for Angie.
478 reviews
May 14, 2022
Interesting book if you're into tabloid writing. The entire thing reads as a gossip column. It's also old news to everyone as it ends in 1996. Too much gossip and not enough facts for me.
Profile Image for Kelly.
131 reviews
October 21, 2017
This was my first book on the "modern" royals and overall I felt it was a really well researched book but was perhaps played too heavily on the Queen, Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
The Windsor dynasty was created in 1917 to conceal the family's' German heritage. In fact for the last 200 years most Kings spoke German. King George V was the first King who could speak the King's English without an accent. King George was much beloved from his subjects. England had gained much land by conquest after World War I making England domaint over a quarter of the globe. King George was the last great Emperor King for England.
The first commoner to marry into the family was Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon to King George VI, funny enough she showed the country how royalty should behave. She integrated herself as Duchess of York.  She also earned mass adoration from her English subjects when she refused to leave during the bombing of World War II. She refused to seek safety for herself of her children. She became such a morale booster that Adolf Hitler called her the most dangerous woman in Europe.
King George VI had fertility issues despite how much the couple tried. His brother also suffered from the same issue, so it was clearly their fault. Manual fertilization was used to produce their first daughter Elizabeth in 1926 and her sister Margaret in 1930 (a quote I liked - "monarchs are not born; they are made by artificial hallucination").
Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret had a very sheltered childhood. Princess Elizabeth knew she was becoming groomed to be Queen - even Margaret knew it. Margaret was a bit more wild of the two girls. The first act of independence from her parents was when Elizabeth accepted Prince Philip's proposal to marriage, much to her father's dismay. The King had to give permission to his daughter for her marriage. He finally relented to his daughter's wishes when Philip changed his name, nationality and his religion.
Both Elizabeth and Philip were fond of one another during their courtship and the early days of their marriage. They had a great respect for one another. Philip was discreet with his affairs with other women - most of them being actresses or aristocrats. Philip was a handsome man and had no problem attracting women. It was rumored that he had many children from other women. There was another rumor, especially in Phillip's younger days that he also enjoyed the company of men.
When King George died Princess Elizabeth became Queen. The last curtsy she made was when she paid her respects to her father. Once Elizabeth became Queen she treated Philip differently. He was no longer the dominant, take charge husband - he suddenly became unmanned. She even refused his last name when she was Queen. She would become Queen Elizabeth II and would be compared to Elizabeth the I. The distinction she drew upon was that Queen Elizabeth I was blessed with neither husband or children and was never able to leave her shores. Queen Elizabeth II wrapped herself up in marriage and motherhood. In the years she would become respected as a dutiful monarch and most traveled but would fail as a wife and mother. Her priorities became the monarchy, her marriage and last her children. In the early years of her marriage faced with the choice between her husband or her children - Philip won out. Their children were raised like how the Queen was raised, by nannies. Their marriage produced 4 children. By 1992 all of the Queen's children who were married were legally separated and headed for divorce.
Princess Margaret was not far from the spotlight after her father's death. She started up a relationship with Peter Townsend, a divorce man - which shook the British establishment, the government, the church and the Royal family to the core. The courtiers' banished Townsend from England and hoped that the romance would fizzle out before Margaret's 25th birthday - as she would need permission from her sister Queen Elizabeth for marriage. The Queen threatened that if she married Townsend she would lose her title, allowance and be forced to abandon her place within the family. Princess Mary left that meeting in tears and Townsend married shortly after their relationship ended. After the Townsend affair the Princess partied for about 5 years, with no real direction. She found love with a commoner named Tony Armstrong-Jones. He had a few strikes against him, his parents were divorced, and his mother was Jewish, not to mention his profession was a photographer. The Royal family tried to remedy the situation by giving Armstrong-Jones a title but he refused he only accepted once they had children so they could be titled. Armstrong-Jones had some strange habits, one that Princess Margaret took part in was cross-dressing. The couple maintained the an open marriage, both taking lovers. Their marriage was not to last long, it would end in divorce. The couple would try separation first, Margaret was under the impression that her marriage would not end in divorce. Before the official announcement she suffered a nervous breakdown and threatened suicide. 7 months after the divorce her ex-husband remarried and his new wife was pregnant. This was the first Royal Divorce since King Henry VIII from Anne of Cleves.
The Queen's children, Charles and Anne were close in age but very different from one another. Prince Charles was a sickly baby, timid like his mother whereas Princess Anne was bold and active and would quickly become Philip's favorite child. Philip would worry about his son - he wanted him to be a man man's. Taught him how to shoot, swim, sail and hunt. Anne and Charles were close growing up, the royal tours they did in Australia and the United States helped bring them closer.
Princess Anne, although younger, married first to a commoner Captain Mark Phillips. Captain Philips was summoned to the Palace to provide a sample of semen - since marriages were solely to produce heirs. Once again Captain Mark Philips declined a title and a work position however he did agree to 500 acre estate.
In the summer of 1980 Prince Charles reconnected with 19 year old Lady Diane Spencer. He dated briefly her older sister in 1977. Diane was practically more British than Charles was - the 16th cousin from King James I, five lines of descent from Charles II, related to Napoleon and related to 8 American President's including George Washington. What was possibly the most attractive feature of Diane was she was a virgin with practically no past. Everyone seemed to want them to marry - Charles felt the pressure most keenly from his father and would blame him years later when things began to go astray. Two months after Charles and Diane were married she was pregnant.
Problems started quickly in their marriage. Diane would perform perfectly in front of the press but would fly off the handle and throw tantrums in private. Charles did not know how to deal with her, and would become more elusive - generally turning to his mistress, Camilla, during this time which would only upset Diane more. Diane would often threaten to commit suicide, she once threw herself off a set of stairs while pregnant.
One trait that Charles had in common with his father was adultery. However, there were many different women like there was with Philip - there was one woman who Charles wanted. Camilla Shand, soon to be Camilla Parker Bowles, who was the great granddaughter of Alice Keppel who was the mistress of King Edward VII. He would cut it off only to start it back up again. When he was with Diane before they married Camilla was known as his "Girl Friday." Diane would even confront Charles about Camilla before they marriage. Diane would also confront Camilla to her face years later. Diane blamed Camilla for turning her husband against her and the children.
Prince Charles and Princess Diane's marriage was a rather bumpy one. Charles would turn to Camilla time and time again during their marriage. Diane was bulimic and had a crazy temper and instead of dealing with it Charles would seek out Camilla, which in turn would only make Diane more volcanic and erupt frequently. Diane would have affairs herself, starting with James Hewitt. They began their affair under the impression of horseback riding lessons. He eventually became frequently known that her sons were calling him "Uncle James." She also had another affair with James Gilby.
The third child of Queen Elizabeth and Philip, Andrew joined the Royal Navy and was quite successful in that role. in 1980 he made a 12 year commitment to the Royal Navy and he distinguished himself as a helicopter pilot. Prince Andrew was also known as quite the ladies man. The press went crazy over his love affairs. Andrew was so charge of his chances with all these women that he would order an extra breakfast - so sure they would spend the night. Princess Diane helped bring Andrew and his wife together, Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson. Fergie attended their wedding, and visited Diane several times when she was depressed. Having brought the couple together Diane looked forward to having a friend in the Royal family but was unwilling to share the spotlight. The couple married in 1986 and had two daughters. Andrew and Fergie's marriage was doomed from the start. Andrew was away most of the time because of the Navy. She truly had no one to turn to, her husband was gone weekly, Diane saw her as a rival and Philip saw her more trouble than her worth. By 1990 everyone knew their marriage was over. In 1992 it was the Palace that announced the couple was separating.
Fergie and Diane may not have been the best of friends during their marriages however during their separations they took the same comfort in psychiatrists, both were on anti depression, both had taken on lovers who would betray them for money. They also both turned to Astrologers, numerologists and spiritualist for help. Many of these people would sell them out. They didn't know who to trust.
The baby of the family Prince Edward joined the Marines once he was old enough but quit after 90 days. His resignation disturbed the family greatly and Queen Elizabeth begged him to reconsider. Princess Anne was worried that he would be branded as a quitter. Edward said he could not continue the tough commando training. Philip yelled at him to pull himself together and to quit embarrassing the family, which made the Prince cry for hours. There was also rumors that Prince Edward was a homosexual.
Profile Image for ButIDigress.
30 reviews3 followers
January 7, 2020
I remember how controversial The Royals was when first released so I was expecting some wild gossip. By today’s standard the stories are tame.
Profile Image for Meagan Houle.
566 reviews10 followers
June 29, 2015
I had little more than a passing interest in the royal family of Britain when I picked up this hefty volume. I'd read Kelly's work in the past, though, so I decided to take a chance on it. It turned out to be a very engaging read, even while describing the dense details of royal ancestry. Kelly humanized the royals without airbrushing or defaming them. She even resisted making Princess Di (or, more accurately, Lady Diana) into a two-dimensional character, casting her as a troubled human being rather than either a neurotic madwoman or an angel of mercy. She even managed to give Prince Charles a little colour, stiff and chilly as he is. Most enigmatic for me, though, was her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. Here we see her flaws, her stiffness, her awkwardness and distance from her subjects. We also see her occasional warmth, her wicked sense of humour, and her admirable commitment to her royal duty.
Overall, it's a nuanced portrait--one which very obviously necessitated careful and thorough research. It's a long, long read, but don't be discouraged: it's well worth it.
Profile Image for Beth Bedee.
282 reviews57 followers
May 30, 2011
I read this first around the time of Diana's death. With all the attention on British royalty after the wedding, I decided to revisit it. Apparently, I have no long-term memory, because I'd forgotten quite a bit. I enjoyed this book. It gave me what I wanted: juice on the royals that you can't get in a straight biography, but more credibility than a tabloid.

I've read reviews that slam Kitty Kelley for essentially roasting her subjects. I didn't feel that was the case at all in this book. I'll admit that I'm a little obsessed with the Windors, but I'm not so naive as to believe that royalty=perfection. I think most of the time, they set themselves up for a "tell-all" situation.

Kelley added a chapter or two at the end on the ebook version after Diana's death. She then recapped things she'd already written. I felt that it ended rather poorly because of this.

A good read for anyone who wants a behind-closed-doors look at British royalty in the 20th century.
Profile Image for Melissa.
36 reviews
October 24, 2011
This book is as thick as a bible, it took me a couple of months to read which is very unusual as I normally fly through stuff. Even though I found it very heavy going, there were so many funny and interesting parts to this book. The intriquet family tree of the royal family is hard to keep up with at times but definitely worth the effort. From closet homosexuality, affairs, racism, sexism and other issues we are shown the royal family is not the picture of happily ever after it portrays in the media. Fergie and Diana are very interesting characters and the struggles they had behind the scenes are unbelievable. It is amazing the lengths the House of Windsor will go to, to protect their image.
Profile Image for Cathryn Conroy.
1,031 reviews31 followers
April 29, 2013
What a fascinating read! Kitty Kelley is known for her well-researched books, and while the palace had this book essentially banned in England because the queen was so offended by it, I thought it was a balanced view. But the royals do live in a different world--and not just because of the extraordinary privileges. The perceive themselves to be better--way, way better than the rest of us. One eye-popping fact: On the night before his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer, Prince Charles spent the night with Camilla Parker Bowles. Whaaaaaaaa? The book is filled with juicy tidbits like this. I highly recommend it.
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