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Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp Through the Extramarital Adventures That Rocked the British Monarchy
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Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp Through the Extramarital Adventures That Rocked the British Monarchy

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  700 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
A funny, raucous, and delightfully dirty history of 1,000 years of bedroom-hopping secrets and scandals of Britain's royals.
Insatiable kings, lecherous queens, kissing cousins, and wanton consorts-history has never been so much fun.
Royal unions have always been the stuff of scintillating gossip, from the passionate Plantagenets to Henry VIII's alarming head count of wive
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ebook, 464 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by New American Library
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Amy Bruno
In Royal Affairs, author Leslie Carroll, chronicles the many scandalous infidelities of the English Monarchs. From Henry II in the 12th century to the current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, Royal Affairs is an entertaining excursion through the lives of our favorite salacious sovereigns!

Due to the fact that royal marriages were for solidifying political alliances between countries and strengthening royal families and NOT designed with love in mind, there comes the unfortunate by-product of
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Wealhtheow
This is trashy history at its finest. I am pleasantly surprised to find Carroll's history is good--she admits when facts are unclear, and reminds readers of possible bias from sources. She's aware of the newer theories about each figure as well.
That said. This is still trashy trashy trashy, the "chick-lit" version of actual scholarship.
Tara
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like pervy history but this was poorly written & quite frankly, a bit convoluted. I guess that's what happens when a pulp romance writer tries her hand at non-fiction. Crappy editing too. Every time I saw the possessive of "Jones'" written as "Jones's", I got more an more pissed. And it happened quite a bit. Only gets 2 stars b/c of subject matter.
Linda Bridges
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
This is delightful, gossipy book about some of the royals who lacked a fidelity gene. It covers the obvious (Henry VIII, Charles II) but also some of the lesser known rulers as well. It is never salacious but is vastly entertaining, and the little biographical sections give quite a bit of history in small doses. I found it interesting how the mores changed over time and what was acceptable in one age was anything but in another. In many respects, I understood a particular ruler's desire to find ...more
Katie
Jul 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own, history
While this book is certainly interesting, I would probably be more likely to recommend Michael Farquhar's "A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors." As its title suggests, Farquhar's book deals with historical figures from a multitude of countries, rather than just Great Britain, and it includes prominent people who were not part of a monarchy. Nevertheless, it covers enough of the same materi ...more
Jen
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-history
Let's start with my biggest complaint in this book...She repeatedly refered to happy relationshis or not so happy as "True Love" and yes...she capitalized. True and Love. REPEATEDLY. That's just freakin' annoying. But what can you expect from a romance author. Seriously, she's a romance author.

She also referred to at least TWO couples as the "[time period] equivalent of Mutt and Jeff." Now I love Mutt and Jeff, but is there any other analogy you could use?

It was a fun read, but again no adequate
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Pamela
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was highly readable, even entertaining, and high informative about the COST of royal affairs, especially monetarily. Having a royal mistress was quite expensive in terms of annuities, properties, etc--but probably justified by women who knew they would soon be discarded. So many of these affairs were "purchased" with monetary amounts settled before the woman succumbed; obviously money can buy love, at least for a little while. Also, I was especially amazed at the extent of debt acquired by ...more
Laura
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This is basically a trashy tabloid with a historical bent, and as someone with a historical bent who loves trashy tabloids, I was in heaven reading this book. The king who took his wife's ex-husband's 16 year-old daughter as a ward, engaged her to his son, and then promptly started having a hot and steamy affair! The queen who fell in love with her (heterosexual) lady-in-waiting and maneuvered her into a decades-long sexual affair! Oooh, scandals galore. The book was everything I had hoped for, ...more
Lynn
Jul 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a deep read by any stretch, but a fun, insightful look at the how history is often shaped by selfish impulses. It gives a quick glimpse into the personal lives of many of Britain's monarchs. I enjoyed it.
Jessica
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for what it is- historical gossip!
Heather Domin
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Snarky, sassy, trashy fun. It might not be high academia, but it sure was entertaining. Good times.
Steve lovell
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the last week or so I've been up to my armpits in mistresses and been taken on most enjoyable rides. They were spread over three books, I hasten to add. Please excuse the excruciating puns – I should be ashamed of myself!

In two of the tomes the authors have dumbed down history to give rollicking accounts of various notorious tumblerers in the hay and the havoc they caused. These ranged from some very savvy gold-diggers to others as ditzy and thick as the proverbial. Some even found love with
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Jimmy Lee
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The affairs of the high and mighty are invariably entertaining, and Leslie Carroll has done a marvelous job of writing a contemporary, chatty and witty book that takes us, monarch by monarch and affair by affair, through English history.

I did notice a date issue? on page 76 of the 10th edition, Bessie Blount is noted as being "carried off by consumption" sometime between "January 1539 and June 1541....by which time her former royal lover was in process....to marry his current inamorata, Anne Bol
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Rosalind Hoenig
Interesting insight to the ruling class. Funny how things don't really change over the years.
I believe a great amount of research went into this book and it shows.
Mary K
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Trashy history at its finest, I thoroughly enjoyed this work and cannot wait to read more by the author
Diana
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, owned, biography
Royals with mistresses (or lovers) are profiled, from history and through the present.

These books are always immensely readable while also being slightly salacious, which makes it a fun read.
Lesley
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's amazing how extramarital affairs are inseparable from the British monarchy. I always knew they happened but not this frequently. This account of royal affairs is historically stimulating and scandalously intriguing. You learn about the structure of the British monarchy, historical events, and all the inside gossip and personal traumas that concerned many of the people who have worn the crown. Some monarchs, including Charles II and Edward VII, had so many affairs they were legion. I'm quite ...more
Jessica
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I felt that this particular book was far too similar to Eleanor Herman's books "Sex with Kings" and "Sex with the Queen".

I realize that Carroll focused on the British monarchy but the affairs she covers are largely the same as the ones in Herman's earlier published books.

Carroll's section on Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles read very similarly to what Herman wrote.

Carroll cites both of Herman's books on royal affairs in her bibliography.

I am not suggesting plagiarism, b
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Rory M.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: voyeurs of the royal family
Shelves: non-fiction
Royals Affairs was a pleasant surprise! As part of the Spring Challenge for The Next Best Book Club I had to read a book on the British Monarchy that was over 400 pages long. I went to my local Barnes & Noble, located the British Monarchy section (that I had never visited before) and pull all the 400+ books off the shelf. I then found a comfy chair & read the first page of every book to see which one I could actually deal with. Royal Affairs won out and in about 2 days I had half of the ...more
Jean Marie
My favorite thing to study as a history major is the interpersonal relationships between people of power, my favorite of the favorite are the romantic liaisons. So the concept of royal mistresses is very dear to me as an academic, that makes this book very interesting and very fun. But it really is. Carroll writes in a "modern" non-academic way that makes it very easy to read but maintains the legitimate quality of the information even if her turns of phrases wouldn't be the top choice for a dis ...more
Kate
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
So that's what trashy history is. Huh.

Carroll walks through the history of the British monarchy, highlighting the mistresses (and misters) that affected history along the way. Her history is actually pretty solid, if surface level. But she does draw some pretty clear lines about how certain affairs affected the future of England or the monarchy in certain ways. I don't love the way she treats some of the women, reducing them to their sexual appeal or as pawns for the men, when many of these wome
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Deborah
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was very 'meh'. Carroll seemed to have a good grasp on timeline and the basics of the times she was writing about but not enough to go deep with it. Not exactly a problem for this book (who really expects in-depth research from a journalist-turned-popular historian? This book is clearly meant to entertain rather than inform). There were also some gross errors throughout the book (author doesn't seem to understand basic differences in parenting techniques, genealogy or even to keep Mary Stuart ...more
CF
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An addictive and decadent journey told through the affairs of monarchs. Starting with the early mediaeval period and working it's way until the present, this books titillating contents become quite eye opening. With secret bisexuals and hinted gay rulers thrown in, this is not only informative but also extremely entertaining.

My only criticism of this would be the slight slang language it sometimes fell into 'he literally beat the crap out of him' - sentences like this need to be reworded. Consi
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Karyn
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay...I'm a bit hesitant to admit I skimmed this book, but I'm recording each and every book I read...

A month or so ago I was listening to a podcast on the royal families of Europe, and it was mentioned that this book did a good job of explaining succession and who was related to who in regards to the British Monarchy. That it did--Which is what I was looking for. As for the bonus knowledge? Well, I'm now up on who had affairs with whom! For the record, let's just say I think life would have be
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Maja
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a fun, light read. The subject, adultery, isn't exactly the funnest i the world, but somehow Carroll made it fun and light. She had a way of pointing out the hypocrasy and the irony in these cases. There was, however, one problem with this book, a historical problem. During the entry of Anne Boleyn Carroll writes: "George (now Viscount Rochford, after the death of their father)". What Carroll obviously isn't aware of is that George dies 3 years before his father, so this is a bit of a m ...more
Chris
May 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-misc
Carroll covers much of the same ground that she covered in Notorious Royal Marriages, and since this book predates that one, I guess she covered it here first.

She also starts way too many sentences with the word AND. Really.

Additionally, I found it strange that Ives biograpny of Anne Bolyen wasn't listed in the biblography.

Still, a nice trashy, at times funny, read.
Melissa
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
While this didn't contain a lot of information that was new to me (most of it I'd learned years ago from Michael Farquhar's A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors), it was still a passable read. There were some glaring errors, however, such as referring to Queen Elizabeth II's mother as "Mary".
Nicole Yovanoff
I really enjoyed Leslie Carroll's series on royal relationships. I really enjoyed how there was a bit of perspective of the mistress and what happened to her after the relationship ended. People may see this aspect of royal life to be too tabloid to matter, but often these men and women of power were influenced by their private lives..... if they didn't, there there would be no Church of England. I really enjoyed the book.
H. P. Reed
"Lusty Romp", indeed! While the book was full of fun facts for the uninitiated (into the affairs of the many kings and queens of England) it shed little new light on some of the questionable history that's been written about them. Perhaps, though, this book is really meant for someone coming to the personal histories of royalty for the first time. In that case, it has just enough historical titillation to get the reader to delve further. It's fairly well written.
Lindsey
This made for an interesting read. It felt more like a gossip column or tabloid most of the time rather than a historical nonfiction on the extramarital relationships of Britain's kings and queens. The language the author used was often shocking and vulgar. However, it kept my interest and I appreciated the quick summary of each monarch's reign and contributions to history prior to delving into their adulterous activities.
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273817
I used to tell people that I was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx; but the truth is that apart from the stellar education I received at the Fieldston School in Riverdale, much of who I am was shaped by my two grandmothers, who encouraged me to follow my bliss long before it became the sort of catchphrase you find on tee-shirts and new-age tchotchkes. My East Side grandmother took me to FA ...more
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