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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 May 2011
The subject is vast and it is interlinked with the history of England and Britain; so in this format it would be hard for anyone to come up with a good enough book. It is not until you get to the house of Windsor that you understand the authors slant. Her sycophantic recant of the Windsors makes the latter part of the book embarrassing, with general omitance of what the monarchy stood for and how it help to suppress various nations; in fact according to the author, everyone loved them. There is little balance in the book with regard to what the people actually thought about their monarch. That said the family trees are helpful and show how they are all interlinked, or not as the case maybe. Good to have on the shelf to find out who came before who, thats about it.
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HALL OF FAMEon 23 December 2005
Antonia Fraser's 'The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England' has long been one of my favourite books (since my childhood, really), because it has both breadth and brevity simultaneously, a rare feat. Lady Fraser's style is evident here, a non-imposing and non-technical style, that is nonetheless satisfying to all but the most rigourous of academic historians.
Fraser's account begins with the Norman invasion; like many books on royal history, scant attention is paid to pre-Norman figures. Fraser groups the monarchs into categories:
Normans
Angevins
Plantagenets
House of Lancaster
House of York
Tudors
Stuarts
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor
Putting together the genealogical tables is a fun exercise--beware here, however, that lesser historical figures are left off the charts (thus, Queen Anne's bevy of children are not represented on the genealogy as none lived to assume the crown or perpetuate the line). Each monarch is given an article about 10-15 pages in length (a good bedtime reading length, I've found). Pictures and paintings help place visually the stories, together with the interspersed essays on coats-of-arms and other topics.
Fraser likes to find the humourous aspects whenever possible. Writing on William IV's distaste for the young Victoria's mother:' 'In 1836 the Duchess of Kent took over a large suite of rooms in Kensington Palace without the King's permission. William was furious. If he died now, Victoria would not be old enough to rule without her mother as Regent. At a public dinner, attended by more than a hundred guests, William said that he hoped his life would be spared long enough to prevent such a calamity.'
His wish was granted.
An ideal gift for anyone, child to adult, who has an interest in the history of the British royals, and a good ready-reference for students, this book is first-rate.
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on 4 June 2013
Fantastic conditions, brilliant price fast delivery what more can I say. New the book already and this was a copy for my Mum. Our family ancestry involves Kings and Queens and this is perfect for reference.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 September 2011
As guides go, Antonia Fraser is as good as they come for kings and queens; not quite a coffee table book, it would certainly do for a breakfast in bed setting! Lavishly illustrated, it contains a wealth of information about each king and queen and her research has been thorough. Other reviewers have given chapter breakdowns and so on so there is little point in repeating them here.

Suffice to say I recommend it.
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on 22 August 2011
Worthy overview of this tangled topic, although some variation (or even relief) from the narrator's voice, by means of some sort of occasional dialogue or dramatisation, would have been a good idea.
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on 8 August 2013
When I ordered this I thought it was the paperback edition I had previously. Its a full size book, lovely condition with a plastic dustcover. Great value and would use again
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on 24 August 2012
Bought this second hand for a friend who had seen my copy and wanted one for herself. As described and in good condition. Pity it is out of print,
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on 12 November 2012
Find this book very useful to have in the house as a reminder of our royal history

It is well written and easy to refer to
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on 2 April 2015
A well written account of the kings of England. The book includes many interesting colour photographs.
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HALL OF FAMEon 23 December 2005
Antonia Fraser's 'The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England' has long been one of my favourite books (since my childhood, really), because it has both breadth and brevity simultaneously, a rare feat. Lady Fraser's style is evident here, a non-imposing and non-technical style, that is nonetheless satisfying to all but the most rigourous of academic historians.
Fraser's account begins with the Norman invasion; like many books on royal history, scant attention is paid to pre-Norman figures. Fraser groups the monarchs into categories:
Normans
Angevins
Plantagenets
House of Lancaster
House of York
Tudors
Stuarts
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor
Putting together the genealogical tables is a fun exercise--beware here, however, that lesser historical figures are left off the charts (thus, Queen Anne's bevy of children are not represented on the genealogy as none lived to assume the crown or perpetuate the line). Each monarch is given an article about 10-15 pages in length (a good bedtime reading length, I've found). Pictures and paintings help place visually the stories, together with the interspersed essays on coats-of-arms and other topics.
Fraser likes to find the humourous aspects whenever possible. Writing on William IV's distaste for the young Victoria's mother:' 'In 1836 the Duchess of Kent took over a large suite of rooms in Kensington Palace without the King's permission. William was furious. If he died now, Victoria would not be old enough to rule without her mother as Regent. At a public dinner, attended by more than a hundred guests, William said that he hoped his life would be spared long enough to prevent such a calamity.'
His wish was granted.
An ideal gift for anyone, child to adult, who has an interest in the history of the British royals, and a good ready-reference for students, this book is first-rate.
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