Mary's Reviews > On Royalty: A Very Polite Inquiry into Some Strangely Related Families

On Royalty by Jeremy Paxman
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May 14, 2011

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Another of my "ripped-from-the-headlines" background reading picks (remember the Royal Wedding? yeah, seems like a long time ago). Paxman's success in covering several centuries' worth of royal history in 300 pages is mixed, and his efforts to include royal families beyond the British one are uneven, though sometimes the comparative angle is interesting (Albania's attempt to recruit a king). Most of the book concerns the 20th-century House of Windsor and Paxman's search to understand why it still exists. His conclusion? Like so much else about politics in general, "monarchies do not function by logic . . . [but] by appealing to other instincts, of history, emotion, imagination and mythology."
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