The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor- the Truth and the Turmoil, by Tina Brown

Eight stars

With the recent passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, it was fate that this book by Tina Brown became available around the same time. Always one to enjoy a bit of historical explaining when it comes to royalty, I was intrigued to see what Brown had to say about the royals and some of the characters who have made headlines in the last few years, scandals and successes alike.

Brown presents the book as being a great means of exploring the backstories and more recent happenings of a number of royals. She seeks to give the reader a better understanding of the context into which the current tabloid headlines base their comments. This permits the reader to better fit the pieces together and provides a concrete understanding of how these royals lived such over-the-top lives.

While Brown’s book does delve into a number of the scandalous activities a handful of royals found themselves, I feel that it would be a waste of time to list them. Those who are interested in reading this book, as I was, are surely aware of the gist surrounding these events, but seek more of the details or context. Brown does well to offer that, providing the reader with great anecdotes.

The structure of the book seeks to explore each of the royals on their own, but also to show how their lives intertwine. There are certain moments where the likes of Charles, Andrew, and William are all compared, though there is an effort to present their differing views as part of the larger picture. This enriches the narrative and provides the curious reader with a better all-around analysis of a single event.

While there is no way to dodge that there are some scandalous moments depicted within the pages of the book, Brown seeks not to make it smarmy or overly controversial. Rather, she provides the reader with some great insight and seeks to delve a little deeper to help the reader better understand what took place, rather than sensationalize the event at hand.

As the book was published earlier in 2022, much of the comments surrounding the future of the royals comes into greater clarity now that HRH Queen Elizabeth II has died. With the ascension of Charles III to the throne, some of the expectation of the royals have shifted, or their roles become more important. While Brown could not have predicted the reality when she penned this book, a great deal is coming to pass now, as I watch the news and see how things at Buckingham Palace have changed. An oracle without necessarily knowing it.

When taking a look at the book itself, the reader can feel a sense of enjoyment as they learn about the central royals without feeling the need to take a shower to cleanse themselves from all the disgusting reporting. Brown paces the book to explore a number of the key royals in a respectiful and courteous manner, without treating them like glass figurines. In full chapters, Brown addresses characters and themes that enrich the storytelling experience. She pulls on a number of key events and gives context, which provides the reader with a better view of the horizon before them. I found her writing clear and concise, making me want to learn a great deal more when time permits.

Kudos, Madam Brown, for a highly insightful piece. I am ready to learn more about the royals and you seem to be a wonderful vehicle for my education.