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Fascinating Books About the British Royal Family

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Claire Handscombe


Claire Handscombe moved from Europe to DC in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but actually – let’s be honest – because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan, and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives. She also hosts the Brit Lit Podcast, a fortnightly show of news and views from British books and publishing. Blog: the Brit Lit Blog. Twitter: @BookishClaire

If you’re a fan of the British royal family, there’s no shortage of reading you can do around the subject. Whether you’re after memoir, biography, or fiction inspired by the royals, you’ll find something with these books about the royal family.

A note, however, that due to the subject matter, this list of books falls far short of Book Riot’s usual diversity standards. You’ll find a list of diverse royal romance here.

Coffee Table Books About the Royal Family

Buckingham Palace by Ashley Hicks cover

Buckingham Palace by Ashley Hicks

Fans of the Royal Family will be fascinated by this beautifully illustrated guide to Buckingham (pronounced Bucking-um) Palace, written by Ashley Hicks, who’s an interior designer and an artist.

HRH by Elizabeth Holmes cover

HRH by Elizabeth Holmes

This coffee table book showcases the style of four iconic women. It earned a starred review from Booklist, and this is what they said: “The photos are stunning, but the best parts are the behind-the-scenes fashion tidbits sprinkled throughout the text… author Holmes’ narrative effortlessly pulls us through the sweep of history, from WWII to Megxit, outfit by outfit. This is a visual feast suitable for fashionistas and royal watchers alike.”

Fiction inspired by the Royal Family

Before the Crown by Flora Harding cover

Before the Crown by Flora Harding

This 2020 novel imagines the meeting and early courtship of Princes Elizabeth and a handsome naval officer named Philip. His suitability as her future husband is questioned, but they are determined.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson cover

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

This dual narrative novel alternates between London in 1947 and Toronto in 2016, and imagines the life and legacy of a woman chosen to help creat Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

The Other Windsor Girl by Gerogia Blalock cover

The Other Windsor Girl by Georgina Blalock

George VI had two daughters: sensible, dutiful Elizabeth, and her younger, rebellious, glamorous sister, Margaret — whose post-war life Georgie Blalock explores through the eyes of a fictional lady-in-waiting in this historical novel.

the windsor knot cover

The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett

This delightful cosy mystery imagines Her Majesty as an amateur sleuth. When a scandalous murder occurs at an exclusive supper event, the Queen enlists her Private Secretary’s help to track down the perpetrator. It turns out Queen Elizabeth has been solving mysteries for years — and we’ll get more of her in future instalments of this new series.

Biographies of Members of the Royal Family

The Queen by Matthew Dennison cover

The Queen by Matthew Denison

Hot off the press in June this year, this biography of the Queen gives a “worthy and balanced overview” of her life and is “especially good on her childhood”, says the Times. 

Elizabeth and Margaret by Andrew Morton cover

Elizabeth and Margaret by Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton, a well established biographer of royals and other prominent public figures, explores the relationship between the two very different sisters in detail in this 2021 book.

The Duke by Ian Lloyd

The Duke by Ian Lloyd

Published shortly before Prince Philip passed away, this biography was carefully researched in interviews with friends, family, and members of the Royal Court. We learn of his eccentricities and varied interests, from jazz to UFOs.

The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown cover

The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown

To understand the current context and history behind the Oprah interview, it’s really important to know the Diana story. Tina Brown’s book is one of two well regarded biographies — alongside Andrew Morton’s — and the podcast You’re Wrong About used both extensively for their excellent, five-part deep dive into the Charles and Diana marriage.

Prince William cover

Prince William by Penny Juror

A list of books on the Royal Family wouldn’t be complete without a biography of Prince William, but oddly there don’t seem to be many recent biographies of the kind that Andrew Morton, for example, wrote about his father. This one is from 2013, but is still worth the read if you are taking a deep dive into the Heir.

Finding Freedom cover

Finding Freedom by Obid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

If you’re #TeamMeghan, this is probably the book about Megxit that you’ll want to pick up. Published last summer, it tells Harry and Meghan’s side of the story.

Meghan and Harry cover

Meghan and Harry by Lady Colin Campbell

Depending whom you talk to, this book is a more neutral, or more pro-Royal, account of the Meghan and Harry love story and subsequent departure. Vanity Fair put it like this:”If Finding Freedom is about the making of a modern royal family, Campbell’s book could be read as the outrage in response to the making of a modern royal family.”

Memoirs About Life with Royal Family

Lady in Waiting by Anne Glennconner cover

Lady in Waiting by Ann Glennconner

Anne Glenconner was Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret for many years, and has lived her own fascinating life, with heartbreaks and difficulties as well as privilege and adventure. The Times called her bestselling memoir “gentle, wise, unpretentious, but above all inspiring”.

The Windsor Diaries cover

The Windsor Diaries by Alathea Fitzalan Howard

These wartime diaries take us behind the scenes of the Royal Family alongside a teenager Alathea, sent to spend the war years at Windsor Great Park, where she befriended the young Princesses.

Need more reading about the Royal Family? Check out Books about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and 13 Stories of People Who Fall in Love with Royalty