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Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain

Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain

Written by Michael Farquhar

Narrated by James Langton


Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain

Written by Michael Farquhar

Narrated by James Langton

ratings:
3.5/5 (49 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 22, 2011
ISBN:
9781452672960
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Beleaguered by scandal, betrayed by faithless spouses, bedeviled by ambitious children, the kings and queens of Great Britain have been many things, but they have never been dull. Some sacrificed everything for love, while others met a cruel fate at the edge of an axman's blade.

Behind the Palace Doors features stories covering every monarch, from randy Henry VIII to reserved Elizabeth II; debunks historical myths; serves up surprising anecdotes; and covers four family trees spanning every royal house, from the Tudors to the Windsors. From the truth behind the supposed madness of King George to Queen Victoria's surprisingly daring taste in sculpture, Behind the Palace Doors ventures beyond the rumors to tell the unvarnished history of Britain's monarchs, highlighting the unique mix of tragedy, comedy, romance, heroism, and incompetence that has made the British throne a seat of such unparalleled fascination.
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 22, 2011
ISBN:
9781452672960
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Michael Farquhar, a former writer and editor at The Washington Post, is the bestselling author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed Behind the Palace Doors and Secret Lives of the Tsars, as well as the popular Penguin "Treasury" series: A Treasury of Royal Scandals, A Treasury of Great American Scandals, A Treasury of Deception, and A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans. He lives in Washington, D.C.


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3.5
49 ratings / 2 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    A good refresher course for me on the British royals; the subtitle "Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain" pretty much says it all -- however, it really isn't as juicy as the the subtitle implies. Even though Elizabeth II is the longest-ruling royal in this book (and British history), she only gets two pages -- probably because she and most of her family members are still living. Farquhar evidently has written other books in a similar vein and if I come across them, I'd want to read them also.
  • (4/5)
    Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal BritainAuthor: Michael FarquharPublisher: Random HousePublishing Date: 2011Pgs: 307Dewey: 941.0099 FARDisposition: Interlibrary Loan via San Antonio PUblic Library, San Antonio, TX: Hoopla Audiobook_________________________________________________REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERSSummary:500 years of royalty. Scandal. Faithlessness. Ambition. Incest. Sacrifice. Execution. History in it’s unvarnished, ugliness, and glory. From the Tudors to the Windsors._________________________________________________Genre:BiographyHistoryRoyaltyGreat BritainWhy this book:I’m on a palace intrigue kick lately._________________________________________________Least Favorite Character:So...8-year old Edward VI telling his stepmother that his sister, 20 years his senior, shouldn’t attend dances. The text refers to him as a prig. I would use another term also starting with p and rhyming with rick.The Georges(I, II, and III).Favorite Scene / Quote/Concept:James II had a penchant for “ugly” mistresses. One so called “” mistress, Catherine Sedley said, “It cannot be my beauty for he must see that I have none. And it cannot be my wit, for he has not enough to know that I have any.”Hmm Moments:Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour, uncle of Charles VI, brother of the Duke of Somerset, brother of one of King Henry VIII’s wives, Jane Seymour, could have survived his perfides...if he hadn’t shot the boy King’s dog.George II was anal and overly regimented. He effectively scheduled his entire life. George V of England, Nicholas II of Russia, and Wilhelm II of Germany: we're all cousins. So a big piece world war 1 was a family feud. Though they didn’t trigger it, they all certainly had a piece in it’s propagation. The crown within Bonnie Prince Charlie’s reach and he was done in by the promise of French reinforcements. The clan leaders forced him back when victory was, if not in reach, was definitely in play. And then, the French backed out. His retreat to retrench gave the Hannoverian forces heart and time to mount a comeback. The Bonnie Prince Charlie revolt snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. So the Danes played chicken with King George III as he girded for war over his sister. Divorced fine, but he didn’t want her killed. Her lover who threw her under the bus died a barbaric deather: he was beheaded, had his hand struck off, and his head put on a pole. The danes went big on royal executions. They created a lifetime enemy in Caroline Mathilda, a vengeful enemy with the Blood Royal. Before she succumbed to Scarlet Fever...or was she poisoned to keep her from rising up against the cabal that drover her and her lover from power in Denmark? Her son, Frederick VII of Denmark removed the plotters when he took the reins of power. And Caroline’s daughter married her cousin King Christian VIII, the grandson of the Dowager Queen, Christian VII’s mother, who overthrew Caroline and her lover in the first place. WTF Moments:Mary, Queen of Scots, husband Francis II of France died of an ear infection that abscessed into his brain… … ...what?William III and Mary II of Orange were manipulated into the invasion and overthrow of her father James II. They did it. But didn’t seem to want to do it. Though if they had left it to Anne and whatever machinations she got up to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland would have suffered more, I fear.Victoria expected things from Edward but blaming him for Albert's death, even though Albert died of typhoid, because he had a shocking affair with a woman not approved. She held him at arm's length, didn't train him, didn't show him the ropes, and then got mad when she left him to his own devices and he used those devices. Favoring the other children, Leopold, et al, who weren't going to be king drove a further wedge between mother and son. Meh / PFFT Moments:And the rise of Cromwell. Reading about Cromwell in America’s current political climate is apropos. James II bending his knee to a Papal Nuncio reinforced fears that he intended to destroy the Anglican Church and return Catholicism to English life. The Sigh:Arbella was either driven mad by her confinement or was always so.The Opera War between George II and his son Frederick was stupid. But par for the course. Frederick ended up predeceasing his father leading the crown to fall to his son, George III.I just don’t understand the Hannoverians...all these royals really. They created opposition through their treatment of their heirs.Wisdom:Well...Bloody Mary was a Holy Terror. Sometimes a name does fit.Of course, the problems with Edward VI and Bloody Mary were all Henry VIII’s fault. That kind of example, leadership, and parenting, the results weren’t going to be good.Juxtaposition:Charles II’s cavorting with mistresses openly would have caused Cromwell’s head to explode if it had not already been separated from his body. Though Cromwell was dug up, chained, and beheaded posthumously. Anne, daughter of James II and provocateur, was horrible to her half brother James Francis Edward Stuart. She continually called into question his legitimacy. This lead through the consequence of her actions to the Jacobite succession in exile and all the troubles that came with it.The whole balance of James II’s life was plot and counterplot after having lost his crown to William and Mary, his daughter, of Orange. Funny that Mary II lamented so much after overthrowing her father. She double standarded her father’s behavior, along with her sister Anne, rather than her, her husband’s, and her sister’s.Mary II and Anne were opposed significantly as their life travels brought them closer and closer to the seat of royal power.While William III was away fighting James II in France, Mary faced plots by Jacobite loyalists, republicans, and at least one which gathered around Anne. The Unexpected:James II bad efforts to regain the crown, falling and failing. This lead the Irish to refer to him as James the Shit. Wow! ...just wow.The Georges(I, II, and III) all hated each other. Though the lecherous bastards did all share a mistress. Must’ve been one hell of a woman. The Georges were all pricks.All the first cousin inbreeding, it’s surprising that there weren’t more dolts, nuts, and invalids on the thrones of Europe.Christian VII of Denmark married George III’s sister Caroline. But what Christian was into was prostitutes, masturbating excessively, breaking things, and being tied to a chair and whipped. He hated being King. Wow...just wow.I never knew that the Provisional Russian Government before Soviet takeover had offered the English to take the Romanovs into exile. And that George V said no, effectively cutting off his cousin’s only hope of escape. George was playing politics at the time, changing the name of the family from Saxe-Coburg to Windsor to more closely tie the family to England as the German wing of the family girded for war. George V snubbed his cousin, leaving he and his family to die at the hands of the Soviets.So...Edward VIII was a submissive in the sexual sense of the word. With all the whoring, mistress taking, illegitimate children, and cousin loving going on, I wonder if this would have caused condescension or not if it were widely known back then. Course, Edward did his share of those things as well...well the whoring and mistress taking anyway._________________________________________________Last Page Sound:These families are messed up.Questions I’m Left With:Was Henry VIII complicit in the death of his brother Arthur?Were all these people really this horrible or were they just people, cripplingly inbred, but still people.Conclusions I’ve Drawn:Audiobooks...I read faster than most narrators. Author Assessment:Well done._________________________________________________