Right Royal Bastards

Written by Peter Beauclerk-Dewar Roger Powell
Review by Sarah Bower

Since the English throne was taken by William the Bastard, aka the Conqueror, in 1066, the British monarchy has enjoyed an equivocal and colourful relationship with its bastards. Several of our great families can trace their heritage back to royal scions conceived on the wrong side of the blanket. The St. Albans family alone claims more than 2000 living descendants of Charles II and his most famous mistress, Nell Gwynn. They include dukes and dustmen and David Cameron’s wife.

                This book is an absorbing read, full of anecdotes attesting to the eccentricity and sheer humanity of that curious anachronism, the British Royal Family. It is also a serious, scholarly study of four dynasties, the Tudor, Stuart, Hanoverian and Windsor, and the breadth and complexity of their reach into the life of the nation. Forgetting history for a moment, we can indulge ourselves in a spot of contemporary gossip, as even the parentage of Prince Harry is speculated upon here. Though it is all done in the best possible taste, as you would expect of Burke’s.

                And you’ll have to read the book to find out who the authors think Harry’s father is…