Biography, Autobiography, Memoir discussion

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Royalty

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message 1: by Selina (last edited Jul 06, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Does anyone like reading memoirs and biographies on royalty, and if so which ones?

What in particular fascinates you about royalty?


message 2: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments ok noone?
I must be the only one.
I do think that, not being royal myself, its fascinating to read what its like to be a Prince or Princess.


message 3: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Selina wrote: "ok noone?
I must be the only one.
I do think that, not being royal myself, its fascinating to read what its like to be a Prince or Princess."


I don't think I have read anything recently on royalty. Do you have any you recommend?


message 4: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Well at the moment I am reading a biography on Prince Charles by Jonathan Dimbleby, its one of the first official ones, its pretty fat but I'm skimming through it to get to what happened with his marriage in the 80s and 90s.

There's heaps of biographies on Princess Diana, but if I were to recommend just one it would be The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown.

I had been reading about the Queen recently but the book was more about the monarchy as a whole than the Queen herself.

Princess Grace of Monaco also had an interesting life and the book about her and her bridesmaids is recommended reading.

Jean Sassoon's books about Arabian princesses are also interesting reads. They live in a gilded cage.


Lady ♥ Belleza (bella_foxx) | 216 comments For a historical royal try "The Nine Day's Queen: A Portrait of Lady Jane Grey". My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 6: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1727 comments I haven't read much at all about royalty. The two books I have and refer to again and again are The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody: Great Figures of History Hilariously Humbled by Will Cuppy and 100 Great Kings, Queens And Rulers Of The World, edited by John Canning. Both offer concise, intriguing chapter-length discussions of various rulers -- from Louis le Roi Soleil and Elizabeth I to Attila the Hun and Boudicca -- that make you want to learn about them in much more detail. Cuppy was a humorist and he focused on showing where, in many cases, the Emperor's new clothes were not in evidence; Canning is completely respectful and focuses on what made this or that ruler great, influential or at least worth knowing about.


message 7: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Fishface wrote: "I haven't read much at all about royalty. The two books I have and refer to again and again are [book:The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody: Great Figures of History Hilariously Humbled|759..."

Cuppy's book sounds like something I would enjoy. Adding it to my list.


message 8: by Selina (last edited Jul 10, 2016 03:25PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Marie Antoinette was also an interesting figure. I can't remember exactly what biography, maybe it was historical fiction, but I do remember reading about all about her and her influence on French fashion.

She was originally from Austria and married King Louis who wasn't too keen on her, he was obsessed with locks.


message 9: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments I finished the book of Prince of Wales.

Its very sad what happened with his first marriage.
Since that biography was published 1994, a lot has happened since then. However it was interesting to read what the Prince does outside of being a father. Before he was in the navy for years and learned discipline although he didn't overly distinguish himself.
He had to carve out a role for himself, so he's like a benevolent landlord, organic gardener, and gatherer of everyone in britain to discuss issues important to him like holistic health, architecture, the environment. He has charities that help give a head start to underpriveliged boys and start up businesses.
He writes lots of letters and makes thought provoking speeches.
Its not all royal engagements and playing polo and skiing. I think being a royal public servant is what he's done. Unlike Diana he just doesn't do photocalls he actually gets his hands dirty and is passionate about the future of his nation at a grassroots level. I think there is much to admire about him even though people have mocked him mercilessly about it.
I still not sure about his spiritual inclinations but it seems like he's moving toward an ecumenical faith rather than be exclusively anglican as he's constitutionally required to be, which raises some eyebrows when he said he wanted to be a Defender of Faith rather than the Defender of The Faith (i.e. church of england) but in one episode where he and Diana were visiting the Pope and I think they were wanting to take communion but it didn't happen. But I just think he didn't know the implications of this so in some ways I think he can be naive!!


message 10: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments It does strike me that many royals aren't actually that bright even though they have all this wealth, they make foolish mistakes just like us. But in public. lol.

However they do have royal advisors although sometimes these courtiers aren't always in the best interests of the person or nation.


message 11: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Selina wrote: "It does strike me that many royals aren't actually that bright even though they have all this wealth, they make foolish mistakes just like us. But in public. lol.

However they do have royal adviso..."


The royals don't have to apply for their jobs so they get put in those roles whether they are qualified or not. Some royals have done a lot for their countries and some have not. Though in the states we elect our leaders and that does not always turn out for the best either.


message 12: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1727 comments Julie wrote: "Fishface wrote: "I haven't read much at all about royalty. The two books I have and refer to again and again are [book:The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody: Great Figures of History Hilari..."

Be absolutely sure to read the footnotes. They are hilarious.


message 13: by Selina (last edited Jul 12, 2016 09:30PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Being a royal isn't a 'job'. Its a role that's inherited.
They don't actually get paid to do it. They have plenty of perks though!


message 14: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments My next royal bio to read is one on Prince William by Penny Junor. She also wrote 'The Firm' about the royal family.

I haven't read much about their forbears of the English royalty although Fergie actually made a movie about Queen Victoria. She did write her autobiography about being the Duchess of York so its interesting to read of what it's like to marry into (and divorce from) the royal family.

She did write some children's books before she became a royal, she worked in publishing.


message 15: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Selina wrote: "Being a royal isn't a 'job'. Its a role that's inherited.
They don't actually get paid to do it. They have plenty of perks though!"

With all this talk about royals and finances - I found a couple of interesting sites that discuss their finances.
http://www.discoveryfinance.com/how-m...
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/...
I think you need a CPA to figure this out.


message 16: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments The Queen is actually quite frugal and invests wisely. I heard she likes a bit of flutter on horseracing though.


message 17: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 3046 comments Mod
I'm not too big on royalty memoirs but I do like presidential bios so I guess that could be considered American royalty!


message 18: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments I have read one bio by Jimmy Carter.
Also on Billy Graham who was preacher/pastor to the presidents.
And a few on JFK, but in general I find royalty much more interesting. I think because they are kind of removed from politics and are more ambassadors than politicians with an agenda for a term.


message 19: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Prince William: Born to be King
Just finished reading this one. I saw that the same author had written one on Prince Harry. I don't know if I will read that one as it will probably just tell much of the same story. I'm sure her next targets are Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

I did read one on Kate but I've forgotten the author.


message 20: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Found it, it was this one.
It was interesting to read. Kate: A Biography


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

I recently listened to an audiobook called Behind Palace Doors by Colin Burgess. It's about the Queen Mother. It was a really cute and funny book.
Sorry I can't link to the book, I'm on my iPad.

I also recently bought one called The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II .. Compiled by Karen Dolby. It sounded interesting.


message 22: by Selina (last edited Jul 21, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments The tell-alls about the royals are interesting. Like the nanny, the butler, the equerry, the secretary, the bodyguard.

Of course the royals don't like it when people blab about their private lives. But so many do.


message 23: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1727 comments Koren wrote: "I'm not too big on royalty memoirs but I do like presidential bios so I guess that could be considered American royalty!"

Hmm, I read somewhere once that the movie and TV stars are the real American royalty. And that makes sense to me because so many of the younger stars became famous through their movie bloodlines -- Crispin Glover being Bruce Glover's son, Jaden Smith being the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, Jamie Lee Curtis being the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh...on and on!


message 24: by Robin (new)

Robin Selina wrote: "My next royal bio to read is one on Prince William by Penny Junor. She also wrote 'The Firm' about the royal family.

I haven't read much about their forbears of the English royalty although Fergie..."


I haven't found Penny Junor to be overly correct in her biographies. Several of her earlier royal bios were eventually proven wildly untrue. I've stopped reading her.


message 25: by Robin (new)

Robin Hi Selina! I missed this thread earlier. I am out of town taking care of the grandkids while my daughter has a new baby. So exhausted and so little time to read!!

I've read A LOT of biographies on royalty. The first person bios are the best. For Princess Diana I would read Andrew Morton's book, "Diana: Her True Story", because she actually gave him the information for it through tapes that were smuggled out of Kensington Palace for him to use.

As much as Paul Burrell has been dismissed in more recent years, the royal family were very keen to stop his book, "A Royal Duty" from being published which tells me that he was point on. He was Diana's butler. While I'm sure he exaggerated a little, he was acquitted of charges brought against him for stealing some of her things he said she gave to him. He also was mentioned in her will. I'm sure Prince Charles's people were not too happy about how he was portrayed in the book but Diana did obviously trust him.

For an account of the accident that claimed Diana's life I would read "The Bodyguard's Story: Diana, the Crash, and the Sole Survivor" in which he puts to rest the claims that the Fayed family made against him that he was not doing his duty.

Sarah Ferguson (Fergie), ex-wife of Prince Andrew, wrote her own biography called "My Story" in which she actually comes of sounding rather whiney.

A biography that has only recently become available in the US is "On Duty with the Queen: My Time as a Buckingham Palace Press Officer" by Dickie Arbiter which I found very interesting.

There is a new biography of Queen Elizabeth II that is supposed to be very good and not overly embellished. It's called "Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch" which I haven't read yet.

Prince Charles has such tight control over his PR that I've not read anything about him that doesn't make him sound like he is surrounded by angels descended from heaven. Since he was married and having an affair with a married woman whom he subsequently married after Diana's death, I'm sure his sainthood is not soon in the offing.

If you're interested in early British monarchs I really enjoyed "Richard the Third" by Paul Murray Kendall in which the much maligned monarch is given a fair and incisive treatment.

The only biography on Princess Grace I've found written in a first person account is called "Bridesmaids: Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, and Six Intimate Friends" written by one of the bridesmaids and accounting her friendship with the princess from the time they met until her death.

I recently read "The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra" that was assembled from old diaries and letters that shed a lot of light on their lives and deaths. I enjoyed it but it's a longish read.

I have to say that Marie Antoinette doesn't hold the intrigue for me that she does for others so I'm not a good judge on books about her.

I am a self-confessed royal nerd and would rather read their histories than that of the Hollywood crowd, although, I've read some biographies about old movie stars like Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Royalty were born to a specific role in their lives to serve their country and their people - "Hollywood royalty" are a bunch of overpaid, spoiled brats. Just my opinion.


message 26: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Robin wrote: "Hi Selina! I missed this thread earlier. I am out of town taking care of the grandkids while my daughter has a new baby. So exhausted and so little time to read!!

I've read A LOT of biographies o..."


What a great reply-so interesting! Thanks!


message 27: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Robin wrote: "Selina wrote: "My next royal bio to read is one on Prince William by Penny Junor. She also wrote 'The Firm' about the royal family.

I haven't read much about their forbears of the English royalty ..."


what things were untrue? I did find them a bit biased. She's very unfair to Diana but then Diana was different things to different people.
I've read most of the ones you mentioned, with Prince Charles I also read his gardening books, well the ones about his estate. Yes, the whole Camilla thing I really don't understand completely and also HER marriage to her own husband who was cheating on her as well.
I think people are more respectful of Charles though because he's not on the offensive like Diana was. They were like chalk and cheese.


message 28: by Selina (last edited Jul 31, 2016 02:08AM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments I forgot to mention I did read about the Romanovs Nicholas and Alexandra. But I don't remember much about it...the tsars were all killed or something happened?

Kind of like what happened to the Last Emperor Pu Yi in China?
There was one by Jung Chang called Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China
which I found interesting.
I went to hear her talk about this book at a festival.


message 29: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Hollywood doesn't really have any royalty...
But I have read a few books on Elvis Presley (the king of rock n'roll ) and Michael Jackson (self-styled King of Pop).


message 30: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 3046 comments Mod
Selina wrote: "Hollywood doesn't really have any royalty...
But I have read a few books on Elvis Presley (the king of rock n'roll ) and Michael Jackson (self-styled King of Pop)."


Yes. In America the only royalty we have are rock stars.


message 31: by Selina (last edited Aug 08, 2016 05:19PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments My friend has lent me God Save the Queen?: Monarchy and the Truth about the Windsors but I think I may have read it before. Its a journalistic critique of the Monarchy, prolly dated now.

Next in my pile isThe Real Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which should be interesting. Many biographies talk about the Queen and her role but not really about her as a person.


message 32: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1727 comments Koren wrote: "
Yes. In America the only royalty we have are rock stars."


And movie actors, and the Kennedy and Bush families.


message 33: by Robin (new)

Robin "what things were untrue? I did find them a bit biased. She's very unfair to Diana but then Diana was different things to different people."

Penny Junor wrote a book about Princess Diana less than 2 years after her marriage and she was awful to her even back then. She has some very odd need to keep condemning the woman even nearly 20 years after her death. William and Harry are still very devoted to the memory of their mother as you can hear them say in interviews over and over again. The portrayal of Diana through every book Junor has written exaggerates every fact to the point that they all ring untrue. The book she wrote about Prince Harry is especially full of stories and claims with no basis or proof. She doesn't even try to claim "sources told her" - she just makes wild accusations. If any of it were true the boys would try to stop the presses on her books as they have with a couple of others. With hers I think there is a general feeling of tabloid reporting that they ignore. I don't know what her deal is. Maybe she's hoping Camilla will kick it and she can be Charles's next wife. But she's had it out for Diana since her marriage. I think the only reason Charles gets more respect (and that's only been in recent years after the whole Camilla thing died down) is because he's the future king.


message 34: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Was she? What was the book..?

I found it touching that William and Harry put together a whole concert their mother's memory.

Well, not everyone liked Diana so..Penny Junor was just one of them. I wouldn't say she was falsely exaggerating anything, just pointing out her flaws over her good points. I do think other biographers glossed over Diana's instability and also she was very good at manipulating the media. There were two classes of media, the Palace public relations and the paps, she had a love hate relationship with both.

Maybe Ms Junor had a bad personal experience with Diana which meant she didn't write of her in a good light. I don't expect every journalist to. Certainly there are enough books written by Diana's friends and acquaintances to see a fuller picture. Especially revealing is the one her private secretary Jephson wrote.


message 35: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Finished reading The Real Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II I skimmed a lot because it started talking about English politics and prime ministers which don't interest me much as I don't live there and don't know them.

But the Diana years I was interested in. Also what it said about her sister Princess Margaret. So completely opposite to her sister and in many ways more similar to Princess Diana in personality.

Also the Queen's poker face often in photos is because she is trying not to laugh.


message 36: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Have left off reading royal books for a while but as recently was Queens birthday weekend and Pippas marriage ..and Prince Phillip finally retired...they were in the news for while.

In womens mags though anytime one of them wears a new outfit its news.

There have been entire books written about what Princess Diana wore. I think on an ordinary person its like who cares...but if you are a princess its like every outifit you wear is endlessly commented on. I think it shows just how much people judge on appearances.


message 37: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 3046 comments Mod
I've often wondered how Prince Charles feels about waiting so long to be king. He will be starting his career at the age most people retire.


message 38: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Koren wrote: "I've often wondered how Prince Charles feels about waiting so long to be king. He will be starting his career at the age most people retire."

At one time I remember rumors that he would not be king and his son would take over as king. That was years ago and it may have been tied up with his divorce from Diana. Does anybody else remember that?


message 39: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 3046 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "Koren wrote: "I've often wondered how Prince Charles feels about waiting so long to be king. He will be starting his career at the age most people retire."

At one time I remember rumors that he wo..."


I googled it:

What happens when the queen dies?

What about Prince Charles?

The Prince of Wales will automatically become king on the moment of the Queen's death. He will be permitted to choose his own name. He is currently expected to select the obvious Charles III, although at one point he was believed to be considering taking the name George, reflecting his admiration for others who bore the name and the negative associations of a two previous King Charles.

A meeting of the Accession Council will convene at St James' Palace to conduct the formalities, and proclamations will be made.
While the Queen lies in London, the new King will visit Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to meet his people.
Despite much speculation to the contrary, there is no question that the monarchy could "skip a generation" to allow William, the Duke of Cambridge, to become king. As it stands, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will automatically become Queen. 
A Coronation will be scheduled for some months after the funeral.
The new king will not automatically become head of commonwealth, although the Prince of Wales has represented his mother at meetings already.
Prince William is likely to inherit the title of the Prince of Wales, although this too will not automatically happen upon the Queen's death.


message 40: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Koren wrote: "Julie wrote: "Koren wrote: "I've often wondered how Prince Charles feels about waiting so long to be king. He will be starting his career at the age most people retire."

At one time I remember rum..."


Thanks for the info!


message 41: by Julie (new)

Julie (julielill) | 1377 comments Koren wrote: "Julie wrote: "Koren wrote: "I've often wondered how Prince Charles feels about waiting so long to be king. He will be starting his career at the age most people retire."

At one time I remember rum..."


Thanks for the info!


message 42: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1727 comments "Permitted to choose his own name"? Would he not just stick with Charles?


message 43: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 3046 comments Mod
Fishface wrote: ""Permitted to choose his own name"? Would he not just stick with Charles?"

I think that would be weird to all of a sudden start calling him George. It said the name Charles had negative connotations in history. I would think he could make his own history.


message 44: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Yea that would be weird, also considering that's his grandson's name.


message 45: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 3046 comments Mod
Selina wrote: "Yea that would be weird, also considering that's his grandson's name."

I hope I am still around when William becomes King. I think he would be a great king. Charles and Camilla I'm not so sure about. But Charles is older than I am so I suppose it could happen in my life time.


message 46: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1727 comments There are always options.




message 47: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Hmm King George..only 3 years old.
Well you see King Edward gave up the throne to marry mrs simpson, an american divorcee. She seemed to have the idea that she would become royalty by marrying the heir to the throne, but actually it wasnt the case, they were ostracised and exiled.

I personally dont think Charles will be King and Camilla hs no desire to be Queen. They pretty much shot themselves in the foot by both comitting adultery. Charles could have married Camilla in the first instance and none of this drama would have occured, but he dithered. But then they might not have had children..so you never know. It would have passed to Princess Anne but then Prince Andrew was born. And so on and so forth...apparently they have changed it so that girls can inherit even if they have brothers..elizabeth only became Queen because her dad only has girls and there was noone else...his brother having abdicated..and no children.

So lets all bank on Queen Charlotte. Will this inheritance powder work on just the men.


message 48: by Selina (last edited Jun 20, 2017 10:57PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments Ok its only a matter of time someone writes a book about Princess Charlotte.

Was wiki -ing Wallis Simpson who was the duchess and found some bios about what happened at the end of her life...it wasnt pretty. I did read one bio that implied she was really a man.

Gosh what a terrible life king edward led, however I dont understand why everyone called him David. So confusing. It seemed mrs simpson was banking on him marrying her so she could be queen, but them it turns put he couldnt have both and chose her so she had to grin and bear the third marriage. And then her sister in law the queen mother who married king edwards brother albert actually wanted to marry king edward not albert as he was better looking. She refused Albert three times as she was hoping for his brother...but she ended up being queen mother.

According to one bio. I dont know you would think the royals would just arrange marriages beforehand and have official royal matchmakers to stop people messing with their pedigree, instead of having all this drama.


message 49: by Fishface (last edited Jun 21, 2017 11:34AM) (new)

Fishface | 1727 comments Selina wrote: "Hmm King George..only 3 years old.
Well you see King Edward gave up the throne to marry mrs simpson, an american divorcee. She seemed to have the idea that she would become royalty by marrying the..."


If Charles had married Camilla back when he first got together with her, he would have lost the right to rule, would he not? That's exactly why he married Diana and carried on in secret with his main squeeze, as kings have done for centuries. They didn't relax the rule until after he "went to Splitsville" with Diana.


message 50: by Selina (last edited Jun 21, 2017 10:16PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2577 comments No, she just didnt want to be Queen or have that role.. Charles could have married her before she went and married her first husband but he waited too long..she was going out with him when they were both single. There is nothing wrong with Camilla she wasnt a commoner.

Charles didnt marry Diana so he could keep a mistress. It was more that there was pressure for him to be hitched and by that time Camilla had married someone else.


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