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The Royals

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  2,518 ratings  ·  236 reviews
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 a
Paperback, 784 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1997)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,518 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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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
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
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 wa
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 o
******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!
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, library
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!
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!" ...more
Jun 02, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 speculati ...more
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Warren Rochelle
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 h
Denise Spicer
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 ...more
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 ...more
Ginger Jane
Jul 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody. Ever. In a million years.
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. ...more
Kate Laverick
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The trashiness is its best feature! Like an old fashioned US Weekly
Basically a trashy magazine in book form. Full of unsubstantiated rumours & gossip.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
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 e
Sarah Mackey
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
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!
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
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.
Meagan Houle
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ra ...more
Beth Bedee
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 a
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 m ...more
Cathryn Conroy
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mainlibrary
This book has been in my library for awhile -- after watching 'The King's Speech' I was blasted with the urge to learn more about this institution than I have through their various scandals. Kelly takes you a step closer into the lives of these unfortunate folk that were born into servitude. Reading this book makes me happy that I was born of a more humbler lineage. She makes a concerted effort to avoid taking sides in the various calamities that have befet this family and whets your interest to ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Kelley is very thorough, and there's so much material to weave into a story, that it's almost miraculous how she can make this book so readable that I can't put it down. It's like eating popcorn... just one more page... well, maybe another... Have never read her books before, but am now a fan. Fascinating and admirable how Kelley has created this spellbinding account of such a huge and complicated family. ...more
Rachel Swords
An absolute soap opera of a book- but then, isn't the story of the Windsors one big soap opera? Whether the facts are correct or simply fictional, the controversial Ms. Kelley presents an entertaining and amusing look at the most famous British royal family after the Tudors. Granted, it's a bit outdated nowadays and the Windsors have calmed down, but those who remember the various antics will appreciate a potentially different perspective on the best 'saga' to hit Britain in a long time. ...more
Annie Booker
Apr 06, 2021 rated it did not like it
I'd forgotten from the last time reading this just how infuriating Kelley's historical errors are. She seems to spend a lot of time on gossip and much less on ensuring that her historical references are actually correct. I gave up this time round after only 3 chapters. I was too tempted to take a red pen and do some correcting, which I couldn't do as it is a library book! ...more
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
The expose was good - this was written by an author who does not seem to subscribe to the divine right of kings (and queens)and thus can see the reality of the situation. I liked the expose on the family members, including Diana and Philip.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very well researched.Very pleasant and informative read
Jackie Mulkey
May 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
read it 3 times _ always fun
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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 ...more

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“She and the King became incensed by the Windsors’ public admiration of Hitler. In April 1941, the Duke was reported as saying, “It would be very ill-advised of America to enter the war against Germany as Europe was finished anyway.” The Duchess agreed. “If the U.S. entered the war, this country would go to history as the greatest sucker of all times.” Then the Duke told the editor of the U.S. magazine Liberty, “… it would be a tragic thing for the world if Hitler was overthrown.” The” 0 likes
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