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Since 1066, when William the Conqueror took the throne, English and Scottish kings have sired at least 150 children out of wedlock. Many were acknowledged at court and founded dynasties of their own; several of today's dukedoms are descended from them. Others were only acknowledged grudgingly or not at all. In the 20th century, this trend for royals to father illegitimate children continued, but the parentage, while highly probable, has not been officially recognized.
This book is a genuinely fresh approach to British kings and queens, examining their lives and times through the unfamiliar perspective of their illegitimate children. Interviewees include many of their descendants. But beyond personal narratives, it also sheds light on the perennially fascinating topic of sexual habits; the links between politics, power, and patronage; the class system, scandal, and celebrity; and the different expectations we have of men and women.
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- The Curator
You might wonder how a book with such a title could be so boring. The clue is that it was originally produced by Debretts so there’s quite a lot of fauning over men who couldn’t keep it in their trousers because they were royalty. Also it’s not clue who the audience might be (it certainly isn’t scandal hungry republicans like me ) but the fact that there is an explanation of who Jack the Ripper was but not of all the awards and letters after names. Mostly it’s just a catalogue. No psychological insight, few anecdotes to give any sense of who anyone really was and a refusal to go beyond those safely dead in libel laws.
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