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Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court

Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court [Kindle Edition]

Lucy Worsley
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Perhaps now the definitive work on the early Hanoverian court ... The depth of Worsley's scholarship is demonstrated by the absence of fudged details. She clarifies points of etiquette and toilette, for example, that most historians of the 18th century only half understand ... As in her previous book, Cavalier, Worsley's style is wonderfully readable and her talent for empathy enormous.' --Ophelia Field, Sunday Telegraph

'As chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces charity Worsley couldn't have been in a better position to winkle out the secrets of one of the palaces under her aegis. She has written a book that vividly brings to life the reigns of the first Hanoverian monarchs and almost humanises the two Georges ... One of the most appealing characters is Caroline of Ansbach, queen to George II, a woman who would rather have been a philosopher than a ruler, ill-treated yet loved by her husband. Her agonising end, brilliantly described, brought me to tears ... A compelling book.' --Peter Burton, Daily Express

'Worsley is excellent in her descriptions of court life and the tedium endured by those whom ambition subjected to it. She has a keen eye for oddity, offering nice character sketches. She is very agreeably informative about the lives of below-stairs servants, as well as ladies-in-waiting and equerries and other officials... This is an engaging, splendidly readable account of the first two Georgian courts.' --Allan Massie, Spectator

Book Description

In the eighteenth century, the palace's most elegant assembly room was in fact a bloody battlefield. This was a world of skulduggery, politicking, wigs and beauty-spots, where fans whistled open like flick-knives.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7684 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction (6 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004WMUA8O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,310 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dr Lucy Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House in Whitehall and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. (Yes, this is a fabulous job, but no, you can't have it. Bribes have been offered, and refused.)

Her first paid employment after studying history at Oxford was at a minor stately home called Milton Manor, near Abingdon, where she fed the llamas. After that she became an Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage, doing historical research at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire: this led to her first book, 'Cavalier', about a dissolute Royalist duke. Her work as a curator at Kensington Palace led to 'Courtiers', and taking part in a BBC TV series on the history of houses resulted in her most recent book, 'If Walls Could Talk, An Intimate History of the Home'.

Do please visit for lots more information, and for Lucy's blog.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating book - the people leap into life 13 May 2010
I loved the cover of this book with the depiction of the courtiers and elegant scrolled metallic writing. However not to judge the book by the cover I plunged in - and had to force myself to emerge from the pages.Molly Lepel her husband the bisexual John Hervey, the fascinating Queen Caroline with the fiery King George II. Even the tactiturn George Lewis with his exotic Turkish attendants spring into life showing the colour and decadence of the Georgian court.
The accounts of medical procedures caused me to shudder in sympathy with Caroline and I was fascinated by Peter the wild boy.
The museums, the novelties, the pastimes - all appealed to me.
Court ettiquette is discussed in detail with the fashions and wonderful names for the different styles of mens wigs including snail back.
My only gripe is the length of the book. I would love it to be double the size.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history "lite", but very enjoyable nonetheless 9 May 2010
The scene: Kensington Place in the early eighteenth century. The main characters are a disparate and motley bunch: Prince George Augustus(later to become George the Second), his wife, the "fat, funny and adorable" Princess Caroline and Henrietta Howard the mistress Prince George thought due to his position rather than his desire. Then there is the ubiquitous Lord Hervey, Peter the Wild Boy and Mustafa and Mohammed George's Turkish servants. One of Mohammed's duties was to treat George's haemorrhoids while Mustapha dealt with his laxatives.

The wide-ranging supporting cast is as full as the whole court itself and features such characters as the enchanting Molly Lepel who was rather too fond of the bottle and the unloved heir to the throne Prince Frederick.

Concentrating on the lives of the main characters the book ranges widely throughout the life of George the Second as both prince and king and paints a vivid portrait of the preoccupations of court life: an endless round of back-biting, place-seeking, scandal political and sexual, strict attention to etiquette and endless games of cards to kill time.

Nothing is gone into very deeply but it is a highly enjoyable and engaging romp through the largely overlooked period of the reigns of the first two Georges. It left me wanting to know much more, especially about Caroline, acknowledged to be "the cleverest queen consort ever to sit on the throne".

Frothy as the lace ruffles on the court ladies gowns, this is a highly addictive read.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - fascinating stuff! 21 Nov 2010
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very very very good book! Read it in one rainy Sunday from cover to cover (devoured every page, including the Bibliography).

Thoroughly recommended. A great general interest read for anyone with any level of prior knowledge in the Eighteenth century Court and George I and George II's family life. The famous and the unknown people in this world are brought to life in these beautifully written chapters. Very readable - very interesting - very worthwhile!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting view of 18th century history 21 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Felt like old fashion history as I have read similar books in the 1970s revolving around Queen Victoria's court but in the end this did not distract from the fact that it was well written and deeply interesting. Dealing with the times of George 1st and George 2nd it concentrates on the personnalities of the court to bring this period alive. However I do not think that the book really brought out just how political the court still was [for instance the 'The Garter Crises' involving Earl Temple and nearly brought down a government is only obliquely mentioned]. But I do agree with the other reviewers that it is 'very readable - very interesting - very worthwhile! And that the peiople 'come alive as Worsely has creatively depicted their intriguing lives.'.

The Kindle edition I read was a model of its kind with links to the notes, a full, and again linked, index and a good bibliography. The plates at the end came out surprissingly well. However it also showed up the Kindle's limitations in that it was impossible to read the family tree at the beginnning even when using the zoom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing Georgian Kings to Life 27 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I so enjoyed this book. It really brought to life those two enigmatic Kings of Britain, George I and George II. The court is described in all its claustrophobic splendour, where cleverness is not always rewarded. Queen Caroline plays a pivotal part here, partly clever and charming, and partly heartless and unforgiving. Family quarrels and feuds are central to this royal family.
The Courtiers of the title are many and varied, each fascinating in their own way.
I would really recommend this book. It is very well written and accessible, as well as informative and written by an expert in the subject.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner 21 July 2010
By Larley
I finished this book last night and so I thought I'd let you all know how much I enjoyed it! As much as I love reading all types of literature - fiction and non-fiction, I don't think I would ever have described a non-fiction history book as a page-turner before, but I could definitely say that of Courtiers!

They often say life can be stranger than fiction and this book colourfully illustrates that old adage; there's love, lust, beauty, jealousy, duels, death (and pretty grim ones, at that!), power, money and dreams, both fulfilled and shattered.

I look forward to the next one from Lucy Worsley!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtiers, secret history of a georgian court by Lucy Worsley
Bought as a Christmas present for a relative who much enjoyed Lucy's recent tv series " a very english murder" - book was un-put-downable and most interesting and written... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucy presents another winner
As an ardent Lucy fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this denouement of the rascally Georgians. They'd never get away with it today!
Published 5 months ago by Mike Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I've read a lot about the Georgian court and the family of George II, but this is by far the best of those books. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Laura Purcell
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
'Courtiers' deals with life at court under the first two Georges. I quite enjoyed this book; it is well written and a true pleasure to read. Read more
Published 10 months ago by M. Baerends
5.0 out of 5 stars still enjoying it
Marvelous book,You can dip in and out...fascinating,well researched..good illustrations loving it and will continue to.can recommend,can't think of any thing negative.
Published 14 months ago by not a teckie
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I was really and truly blown away by this book. Knowing the stories of almost all the main players it was like rediscovering them in this fantastically written and planned account... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book is so engaging (and I find it hard to get into books!!) It gives you and insite into an interesting period of history and is told in a story-like way!! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Emma Williamson
3.0 out of 5 stars History of the Georgian Court
I bought the paper back version of this book but I think I should have gone for the hardback,it is quite small so thus any of the pictures are also small.
Published 16 months ago by Ginny
3.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to the Georgian court
I'll be honest, I have read very little about this era and although there were some really good nuggets of information here, it was a bit of a plodding read at times. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Aunt Allie
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
Prior to reading this I knew very little about the Georgian period. I found the book easy to read and fascinating. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Nix
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Popular Highlights

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Highlighted by 6 Kindle users
A German countess caused immense offence by announcing that ‘English women did not look like women of quality’ because ‘they hold their heads down, and look always in a fright, whereas those that are foreigners hold up their heads and hold out their breasts, and make themselves look as great and stately as they can’. &quote;
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Lady Deloraine, whose husband served in the Prince of Wales’s household, made a tart reply on behalf of the English: ‘We show our quality by our birth and titles, Madam, and not by sticking out our bosoms.’28 &quote;
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