Behind the Palace Doors

Written by Michael Farquhar
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

“Five centuries of sex, adventure, vice, treachery, and folly from royal Britain.” The tribulations of the Tudors are well known, thanks to numerous books and TV programs. Farquhar’s exposé also delves into their descendants: the crude Scottish Stuarts, the grumpy Hanoverians, down through Queen Victoria’s long reign to the present Queen Elizabeth II.

You’ll cringe at the reckless spending of various monarchs, which ran the country into debt, and the grisly desecration of Charles I’s corpse. Yet young Queen Victoria’s disaster-prone coronation and her graceful demeanor throughout will bring a smile. An interesting side-story is the fate of King George III’s sister, Caroline Matilda, after her marriage to mad King Christian of Denmark. Another less publicized scandal is a gruesome murder mystery surrounding George III’s son, the Duke of Cumberland.

The book may not uncover too many shocking secrets, but it’s a great introduction for the neophyte to the seamier side of royal British history.