2011: 68. The Courtiers

"The Great Drawing Room, crammed full of courtiers, lay at the heart of the Georgian royal palace."

68. The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court and Kensington Palace, Lucy Worsley

Well, I am a sucker for this type of book, a history of the British royals/aristocracy (if I ever get my archives up, you'll see), and the fact that this one happens to be well written, and clear-eyed and tells a great story while being clear at a fundamental level about how important this is (one the one hand, not really, but on the other hand, these were people who shaped history).  This book focuses on an area of history I haven't paid much attention to before, the reigns of George I and George II, and the courts that surrounded them.  I'd read before (and will some day update this parenthetical to give us a hyperlink to) about the children of George III, and having read that it was interesting to learn how they got to be the people they were.  Which is to say, oh my lord the Hanoverians were messed up.  And while mad George III might have been the best of them, even his family bore the brunt of their ancestors.

A little history.  When the English decided that their monarchs couldn't be Catholic, they skipped over the legitimate heir to the throne - and landed on the monarchs of Hanover, a little teeny kingdom in what is now Germany and imported them to be the new Kings of England.  The transition was slow - both George I and George II liked Hanover more than England and were more German than English, and it wasn't helped by that fact that, oh, my lord, their family was frakked up.  Just a taste - back in Hanover, George I's wife was caught cheating on him, and he: 1) had her lover murdered and II) had her locked up in a castle for the rest of her life, so that his son never saw his mother again.  Later on, in a fit of pique (they had a big problem with sons and fathers clashing, with that whole "someday you will inherit and take over for me" thing), George I kicked his son and wife out of the palace - but kept their children - which basically ruined their relationships forever.

Anyway, that's just a taste of a non-fiction work that covers the intrigues of both George's courts, various mistresses, the intelligent Queen Caroline, the lusty maids of honor, the homosexual courtiers, the artists, the poets, the feral child, and all the others who made up the Court at Kensington Palace.  And its well written, entertaining, and the history is sound.  So, all in all, a great fun read. 

Categories:  Non-Fiction, Library Book

So, just in case it's not clear, let me add the disclaimer that this is a link to Amazon Affiliates.  I'm trying it out - basically if you want to read the book, and you click through here, I get a little money back.  Mostly I'm doing it to get the images without violating copyright, but if you click through, that's much appreciated.  

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017