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Featured Book of the Week

Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was by Sean Cunningham. This biography of English king Henry VIII's elder brother, who died young, explores his relationship with his brother, and imagines what type of king he might have been. Published in September 2016.

For other books about England's royal Tudor dynasty, click here.

New Royalty Books

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Published in October 2016


Edward II: The Terrors of Kingship by Christopher Given-Wilson. From the Penguin Monarchs series. The reign of England's King Edward II (1307-27) was a series of total disasters, making him unsuccessful to an extent almost without equal.

Edward IV: The Summer King by A. J. Pollard. In 1461, Edward Earl of March, a handsome 18-year old, usurped the English throne from Henry VI. His reign brought economic and industrial expansion, but he squandered his talents in a frenzy of excess.

Victoria: A Celebration of a Queen and Her Glorious Reign by Deborah Jaffe. With more than 200 photographs, this book provides an overview of Queen Victoria's life and era.

British Royal Tombs by Aidan Dodson. Covers all the burials of British kings, queens (and lords protector). Includes photos, diagrams of major sites, family trees, and a bibliography.

The New Elizabethan Age: Culture, Society and National Identity After World War II edited by Irene Morra and Rob Gossedge. Tthe influence of New Elizabethanism from Elizabeth II's coronation festivities to the reinterment of Richard III in 2015.

Tudors and Stuarts

Edward VI in a Nutshell by Kyra Kramer. This concise biography proposes a new theory of what, exactly, caused the young king's death.

Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise by Melanie Clegg. Biography of the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. She spent 18 years effectively governing Scotland and safeguarding her daughter's inheritance with cunning, charm, and tolerance.

King James and the History of Homosexuality by Michael Young. James VI and I's series of male favorites had a negative impact within the royal family, at court, in Parliament, and in the nation at large.


Charlemagne by Johannes Fried, translated by Peter Lewis. A biographical study of the Frankish king and emperor who shaped Europe's destiny.

The Diary of Queen Maria Carolina of Naples, 1781-1785: New Evidence of Queenship at Court by Cinzia Recca. This book focuses on the political influence that Queen Maria Carolina wielded beside her husband, King Ferdinand IV.

Inside Pena Palace by Scala Publishers. Takes readers on a tour of Pena National Palace, one of Portugal's greatest examples of 19th-century Romanticism.

Queens Consort, Cultural Transfer and European Politics, c.1500-1800 by Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly and Adam Morton. Essays examining the roles played by queens consort during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Perceiving Power in Early Modern Europe edited by Francis So. This collection discusses forms of kingship such as client-kingship, monarchy, queen consort and regnant queenship.

Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe edited by Frank Muller and Heidi Mehrkens. Studies exploring the role played by royal heirs in Britain, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Sweden, Norway and Prussia.

Anti-Jewish Riots in the Crown of Aragon and the Royal Response, 1391-1392 by Benjamin R. Gampel. Explores why the royal family's authority failed to protect the Jews during devastating riots in Castile and Aragon.


Bones Around My Neck: The Life and Exile of a Prince Provocateur by Tamara Loos. Prince Prisdang Chumsai (1852-1935) served as Siam's first diplomat to Europe. He suffered social and political ruin based on rumors about corruption, immorality, and treason.

Dining With the Rich and Royal by Fiona Ross. Find out the effect of too many fairy feasts on Ludwig of Bavaria; how Hirohito and Ibn Saud tasted East-Meets-West diplomacy; and if a raspberry soufflé won Mrs. Simpson a king's heart. Includes recipes.

The Aztec Kings: The Construction of Rulership in Mexican History by Susan D. Gillespie. Focuses on the dynastic history of the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, whose stories reveal how the Aztecs used "history" to construct ideas about the nature of rulership.

On Kings by David Graeber & Marshall Sahlins. This collection of essays by two anthropologists explores what kingship actually is, historically and anthropologically.


The Autumn Throne by Elizabeth Chadwick. As dowager queen of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine attempts to keep the peace between her warring sons. This is the third book in a trilogy about Eleanor; the first two books are The Summer Queen and The Winter Crown.

Napoleon's Last Island: A Novel by Thomas Keneally. Banished to the island of Saint Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte finds an unexpected ally: a spirited British girl named Betsy Balcombe.

Children's Books

Discover the Anglo-Saxons: Kings and Warriors by Moira Butterfield. Offers a look at the role of kingship and military culture in Anglo-Saxon society, focusing on individuals such as Alfred the Great. For children ages 9 to 11.

Published in September 2016

British Royalty

Athelstan: The Making of England by Tom Holland. This short biography of the first King of the English includes maps and a genealogical table.

William I: England's Conqueror by Marc Morris. A brief biography of the Norman king whose disastrous coronation was an omen of catastrophes to come.

Henry V: The Conscience of a King by Malcolm Vale. More than just a warrior-king, Henry V was a gifted ruler, acutely conscious of spiritual matters and his subjects' welfare.

The Countess: The Scandalous Life of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey by Tim Clarke. Mistress of future king George IV, the countess enraged the country and threatened the monarchy, blackening the prince's reputation for posterity.

Mrs Keppel: Mistress to the King by Tom Quinn. A biography of Alice Keppel, who was for many years the lover of King Edward VII, though she managed to avoid the stigma of being a royal mistress.

Britain and Other Countries

Richard II and the Irish Kings by Darren McGettigan. In the late 14th century, England's King Richard II led two expeditions to Ireland. This book tells the story of the encounters between the king and his reluctant Gaelic Irish vassals.

The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam by Jerry Brotton. After Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated in 1570, she entered into an unprecedented alliance with the powerful Ottoman sultan Murad III. This marked the beginning of an alignment with Muslim powers not again experienced until the modern age. (Published in the UK as This Orient Isle.)

Mistress of Everything: Queen Victoria in Indigenous Worlds edited by Sarah Carter and Maria Nugent. How indigenous people across Britain's settler colonies incorporated the Queen into their political repertoires during her long reign.


The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici by Catherine Fletcher. Born out of wedlock to a maid and Lorenzo de' Medici, Alessandro was ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537.

Life in the Georgian Court by Catherine Curzon. Peep behind the shutters of the opulent courts of 18th century Europe at royal scandals, tragedies, and romance.

Roman and Byzantine Empires

Vespasian by Barbara Levick. This biography of the uncharismatic Roman emperor challenges the validity of his good reputation and universally acknowledged achievements.

Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian by Leonora Neville. Byzantine princess Anna Komnene is known for two things: plotting to murder her brother to usurp the throne, and writing an epic history of her father. This book re-establishes her identity as an author rather than as a failed conspirator.

Ottoman Empire

Sultan Selim I: The Conqueror of the East by Fatih Akce. Focuses on the life of Selim I, including his struggle for power, his first and second campaigns to the East, and the period of caliphate.

The Black Eunuchs of the Ottoman Empire: Networks of Power in the Court of the Sultan by George Junne. Unlike white eunuchs, African eunuchs had access to sultan's harem. The Chief Black Eunuch had the ear of the sultan and power over a network of spies and informers.

Children's Books

Queen Victoria's Christmas by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley. This picture book tells the story of the first 'traditional' Christmas from the point of view of Queen Victoria's dogs.

More Royalty Books

Books About African Royalty
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Books About World Royal History

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