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A Treasury of Royal Scandals
by Michael Farquhar

Royal Scandals book cover A Treasury of Royal Scandals reads like a juicy soap opera. It's a light-hearted and entertaining treatment of seriously scandalous behavior that ranges from mere adultery to torture to beheading-to say nothing of the fact that most of these deeds were committed by those nearest and dearest. Present day royal scandals can't hold a candle to these infamous tales of past centuries.

While the book covers all of the European royal families, there is an emphasis on the British ones and their French and Spanish relatives. The Russians get their due as well. The book also contains 11 family trees, a timeline and a list of monarchs.

The author strikes straight to the heart of the audacious behavior of the royals, leaving out extraneous details while highlighting the gory facts. He is adept at the humorous turn of phrase.

The stories are approached from a theme point of view rather than chronologically or by personage. The Houses of Tudor, Stuart, and Lancaster and York are well represented. Jane Grey and George IV are covered in the 'sinning' section, and where else would Henry VIII and George IV belong except in the 'Unholy Matrimony' chapters. There is a section on family feuds devoted almost exclusively to the War of the Roses, the Tudors, and the Hanovers. The section 'Death be not Dignified' is not for the faint of heart. 'Strange Reigns' gives us the lowdown on Henry II and George III.

Each story is concise enough to read in spare moments and makes for attention getting party conversation. While you may already be familiar with many of the tales, the fresh approach in this book manages to make them entertaining all over again. It also brings naughty new information into the limelight. Prepare to be pleasurably appalled.

A Treasury of Royal Scandals
Penguin Books
Published by the Penguin Group
ISBN: 0 14 02.8024 3
323 pages

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