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Why are we so obsessed with the British royal family? Maybe it’s a toxic ex thing — they are the ultimate One Who Got Away, colonially-speaking — but I’m inclined to think it has more to do with what being a royal ultimately entails. When you’re a royal, your whole life is dictated by custom and tradition, from where you live to what you wear and who you marry. And anyone who watches enough reality TV knows that no one will go through life with those kinds of restrictions without serious drama. But those darn tight-lipped royals are intent on not letting the public see what goes on behind the mirage — and that’s exactly where our favorite royal tell-all books come in.
At the heart of what makes all royal bios so compelling is the sense of pulling back the curtain and really getting to know the people carrying out these same traditions year in and year out. Only the people themselves vary, each rebelling against and taking up their royal duties in unique ways — from King Charles III’s shocking dalliance with Camilla Queen Consort, to Prince Harry and Prince William’s long-rumored feud, and, of course, the bombshell to the firm that was Meghan Markle.
At royal appearances, it’s all smiles and curtsies. And no one but these royal biographers, royal reporters, and other insiders are quite so invested in telling the story of who the royal family is as a real family — brothers, in-laws, and a 96-year-old grandmother who has owned 30 corgis in her lifetime. That’s what we want to know more about — and that’s exactly the kind of inside look these tell-all books give us.
Read on for all the best royal reads we’re loving right now.
A version of this article was originally published in October 2020.