I have always been fascinated by a good princess story. When I was a little girl, my little sister and I were obsessed with the movie Anastasia. As I grew up and fell in love with history, I began reading about other royal families in Europe, from Imperial Russia to Monaco to England.
Royal biographies, memoirs, and historical books are also excellent choices for those who have binged the Netflix series The Crown and are hungry for more. If that’s you, try one of these five books featuring all different sides of the British royal family.
Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words by Andrew Morton
This book chronicles Princess Diana’s life and royal marriage to Prince Charles, in a sort of second edition published after her death. While the first version of Morton’s biography was purportedly compiled from information offered by Diana’s friends and family, this version admits that the princess was indeed Morton’s main source.
It is eye-opening and heartbreaking all at once. As I read, I felt deeply into her troubled childhood, her relationship and marriage to Prince Charles, and her mental anguish. This is not a happy-go-lucky read, but a look into the world of a wounded woman looking to be loved.
The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 2: Political Scandal, Personal Struggle, and the Years that Defined Elizabeth II (1956-1977) by Robert Lacey
If you are like me and watched the full second season of The Crown the weekend it was released, this book is for you. One of the most well-known and respected historians of the British monarchy, Lacey goes in depth about all the real events that inspired this series. It’s a must-read if you’re interested in the real history behind the events (and who isn’t?).
This volume covers the years in seasons two and three of The Crown. An edition for season four has yet to be released.
HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes
I had my name on the waitlist for this book at the library for almost two months, and every moment of the wait was worth it.
A veteran stylist who loves royal fashion, Elizabeth Holmes expands her popular Instagram series, So Many Thoughts, into a fascinating read on royal fashion. In her book, Holmes looks at some of the most influential women of the British royal family—Queen Elizabeth II; Diana, Princess of Wales; the Duchess of Cambridge; and the Duchess of Sussex—exploring the intersections of their lives and their style.
A fun, colorful read, with lots of beautiful clothes to enjoy! If you love fashion and the way modern royal women influence style, you will love this gem of a book.
Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith
One of the most fascinating things I took away from The Crown was an understanding of the complicated person of Prince Charles. This book covers the life and trials of the future King of England, from his upbringing to his choices of women and relationships. It left me thinking there is always so much more to people than we see and experience.
If you were consumed by the love triangle of Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Princess Diana, you will definitely want to read this one.
The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair that Rocked the Crown by Penny Junor
When my mom recommended the first in-depth biography on the Duchess of Cornwall to me, I was skeptical. From what I knew of Prince Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, she was the “other woman,” the one who ruined the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
However, after reading this book, I see Camilla in a more human light, one less harsh and less judgmental. There’s always more to the story than what appears on the surface, and this book was a good reminder that, as fascinating as they are, the royals are people, just like the rest of us.