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On Royalty [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Jeremy Paxman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2006
What does it mean to be royal? At a time when the monarch no longer rules by divine right and governing powers fall to our elected leaders, the concept of royalty grows ever more elusive. The intellectual argument for the abolition of the monarchy is strong, and yet public interest in the royals continues to grow. Jeremy Paxman seeks to find out how the role of our head of state has changed over the years and what the implications have been. With characteristic intelligence and humour, he looks at every aspect of the monarchy and how it has related to politics, religion, the military and the law. With a mixture of popular history, direct reportage and hilarious anecdote, the master of investigative journalism seeks to find out just how important the Royal Family is to our national identity.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 4 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141806834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141806839
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 12.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,205,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeremy Paxman was born in Yorkshire. He grew up thinking of himself as 'English' despite being one quarter Scottish. He is a journalist, best known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books Friends in High Places, Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life, The English, On Royalty and The Political Animal are all published by Penguin.

Product Description


Paxman's book is everyhing that royalty is not allowed to be - witty, stylish, intelligent, pugnacious and political. (The Times)

On Royalty is an absorbing, well-researched book, part serious enquiry, part rollicking anecdote. (Evening Standard)

Action-packed and entertaining. (The Sunday Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jeremy Paxman was born in Yorkshire and now lives in London and Oxfordshire. He is the main anchor man for Newsnight, chairman of University Challenge and a frequent reviewer. His books include Friends in High Places, The English, and The Political Animal.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up The Royal 12 Oct 2006
This is the third in Paxman's highly readable and intelligent books on aspects of British culture. The language, politics and now royalty of these sceptred isles suggests an ongoing and welcome attempt to find the things which are quintessential to the English. Royalty here is discussed in a broader European context but inevitably focuses on our own dear royal family. It is intended, by his own admission, to be a chronicle of his journey from republican to reluctant monarchist sympathies. There are lots of interesting anecdotes about the British (and other European) monarchies. One gets the impression that Paxman is more than capable of being a serious public intellectual with "something to say" but, strangely, since he is no shy, retiring flower on "Newsnight" or even, dare I say it "University Challenge", he invariably seems to stop at just that point where he is about to say something truly contentious. Perhaps his experience as an hard-hitting interviewer makes him reluctant to expose himself (there are copious unnecessary endnotes). This is a different voice of Paxman's than we hear on television and one well worth listening to. At least this is one book about royalty you won't have to cover up on the train.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paxman's Royalty 13 Sep 2011
I enjoyed this book; it was interesting, informative, intelligent and easy reading. Written by the BBC interrogator, it came as no surprise to me as I have read most of his other books.

It seems to chart his journey from a fervent republican to someone with royalist leaning, to say the least. A mixture of a history of European royalties with an obvious emphasis on our own and his personal anecdotes on his meetings with royalty, including staying at various palaces, it makes interesting reading.

At the end, I was uncertain about what it had been attempting - serious history, anecdotal impressions, casual observations - but I realised it did not matter. I enjoyed Paxman's personal view of royalty as seen by him. It felt almost like an enjoyable dinner party.

I also enjoyed the CD which whiled away many boring hours on the motorway.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paxman tugs his forelock 3 Oct 2007
Given Paxman's reputation as an intellectual Rotweiller, it comes as a surprise that he frequently seems to hold himself in check in this appraisal and analysis of royalty, ancient and modern. It is by turns impartial, critical and sycophantic.

He occasionally seems to get off the leash in respect of the current incumbents, referring to Charles' `jug-ears', describing him as `Eeyorish' and not shying away from mentioning the excruciating content of the `Camilla-gate' tape. He also makes no bones about the selfishness and lack of intelligence which mark the royal bloodline. These observations bode well for republican readers, but after a brisk, candid and often amusing first half, the book slides in the second into something rather lukewarm.

There is a good deal of analysis throughout, giving an historical perspective on the purpose of monarchy and how it was perceived from early times. He points out that, while there is no logical argument for a monarchy in Britain, its appeal has been largely undiminished throughout the centuries and that the majority still prefer to keep the Royals where they are. He examines why this is the case and puts forward some reasonable theories for it. He also draws attention to the privileged and bizarre upbringing thrust upon royal children, the current Prince of Wales in particular. Further, he presents a pretty thorough and even-handed examination of the difficulties of living in a gilded cage. We also get a visitors-eye view of palace protocol and are told of the futility of hiding one's dirty underpants on top of the wardrobe ...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On Royalty, On the Spot 26 Oct 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am interested in history and also royalty and I thought this would be an interesting book which would not bore like some scholarly texts! I was happily pleased.

This book concentrates not just issues with Royalty in our own Royal Family, but also those of nations further afield. It is not afraid to talk about the issues connected with them as well - taxes and their role with God. In fact Republicanism is discussed. It made me think, would our country be the same without a Royal Family as recognisable figureheads, what do they bring to the nation?

There are some interesting points made throughout the book, along with a number of tales of strange ways and habits of current and former royalty. It concentrates on major events through history, the Abdication Crisis of 1936 (changed my view on Edward VIII), the execution of Charles I as well as King Zog! It also successfully tackled the issue Of Diana, Princess of Wales impact on the Royal Family (both before and after her death) it could have consumed a great part of the book, but was spattered throughout and never took up more than half a page.

This is a good book, if you fancy a bit of history and royalty is fascinating, their mystery remains the interest in my opinion and doesn't come across as scholarly and certainly not a chore to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every republican should have this book. Leaves you knowing just how ridiculous Royalty is.
Published 17 days ago by Mungle Estronius Thorquip
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: On Royalty by Jeremy Paxman
This third volume in Paxman’s series on British culture essentially presents a well-argued case for retaining the monarchy, whilst simultaneously recognising the manifold flaws,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dr. Simon Howard
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and sardonic review
A good read. If you enjoy Jeremy Paxman's dry humour, you will like his comments on the history of royalty. Read more
Published 4 months ago by The Groke
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I love this and have lent it to other people to read too who also love it. Have bought others of Paxman's too
Published 4 months ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive, readable, informative, balanced
A perceptive and highly readable account of royalty in all its forms, inevitably concentrating on the House of Windsor but with amusing and informative diversions elsewhere. Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2008 by N. Young
4.0 out of 5 stars A grudging vote of confidence in "The Firm"
At the outset of this book Paxman declares that he favours a British Republic but then spends the remainder explaining why the status quo should be retained. Read more
Published on 28 Feb 2008 by Caterkiller
There is currently a reigning Queen in Denmark and another in Holland that I can recall, but who - for anyone the world over - is The Queen? Read more
Published on 23 Oct 2007 by DAVID BRYSON
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book
On Royalty by Jeremy Paxman is a very good book written in a very entertaining style. It is full of humour and anecdotes but perhaps because I am a republican some of the... Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2007 by HBH
4.0 out of 5 stars Royalty: what is it good for?
Jeremy Paxman reads this abridged audiobook version of his book, On Royalty (4 CDs, running time just over 4 hours). Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2006 by T. Bobley
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