The Top Ten Royal History Books of 2012

Since founding the Royal Historian website in February, I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing numerous of royal history books. Here are my ten favourites from 2012, which would make perfect stocking stuffers for those who love history books, biographies and all things royal.

1) The Secret Of The Crown: Canada’s Affair With Royalty by John Fraser. This  eloquent and entertaining analysis of Canada’s constitutional monarchy should be on every Canadian’s bookshelf. Click here for the full review.

2) Our Queen by Robert Hardman. Of all the books published in 2011 and 2012 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, Hardman’s study provides the most comprehensive discussion of the monarch’s work as Head of State. Click here for the full review.

3) Richard III: A Life by David Baldwin. In a year that saw the discovery of what may be the remains of Richard III, Baldwin’s biography is a topical read that attempts to reconcile the many contradictory aspects of the King’s personality. Click here for the full review.
4) A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy by Helen Rappaport. The effect of Prince Albert’s death on Queen Victoria is well known but Rappaport reveals lasting impact of the Queen’s mourning on Victorian culture and the institution of monarchy. Click here for the full review.

5) Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy by Douglas Smith. This tragic account of the fates of the Sheremetev and Golitsyn families after the Russian Revolution reveals the full impact of the Fall of the Romanovs on the Russian aristocracy. Click here for the full review.

6) The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc by Nancy Goldstone. The true story of how Joan of Arc gained the opportunity to change the course of the Hundred Years War, revealing the political role of Yolande of Aragon, Queen of the Four Kingdoms. Click here for the full review.

7) On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines – and Future by Karen Eliott House. House interviews members of the Saudi royal family to discuss the past and future of one of the world’s last autocratic monarchies. Click here for the full review.

8 ) A Bride for the Tsar: Bride-Shows and Marriage Politics in Early Modern Russia by Russell E. Martin. A scholarly history book that deserves a wide popular audience. Martin discusses the political intrigues surrounding Russian Imperial weddings from Ivan the Terrible to Peter the Great. Click here for the full review.

9) Heretic Queen: Queen Elizabeth I and the Wars of Religion by Susan Ronald. Ronald’s engaging book places Queen Elizabeth I at the centre of the religious conflict of the sixteenth century. Click here for the full review.

10) The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story from Inside the Vatican by Catherine Fletcher. A fresh look at the often recounted story of the annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon from the perspective of diplomat Gregorio Casali, revealing the impact of the royal divorce on the Vatican. Click here for the full review.

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