A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings

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Random House, 2006 - History - 352 pages
17 Reviews
The acclaimed author of Aristocrats returns with a major new book that reveals the story of a regal family plagued by scandal and notoriety and trapped by duty, desire, and the protocols of royalty.
History remembers King George III of England as the mad monarch who lost America. But as a young man, this poignant figure set aside his own passions in favor of a temperate life as guardian to both his siblings and his country. He would soon learn that his prudently cultivated harmony would be challenged by the impetuous natures of his sisters and brothers, and by a changing world in which the very instituation of monarchy was under fire.

At the heart of Stella Tillyard's intimate and vivid account is King George's sister Caroline Mathilde. Married against her will at fifteen to the ailing king of Denmark, she broke all the rules by embarking on an affair with a radical young court doctor. Their rash experiment in free living ended in imprisonment, death, and exile and almost led their two countries to war. Around this tragedy are woven the stories of King George's scandalous brothers, who squandered their time and titles partying and indulging in disastrous relationships that the gossip-hungry press was all too delighted to report.

Historians have always been puzzled by George's refusal to give up on America, which forced his government to drag out the Revolutionary War long after it was effectively lost. Tillyard suggests that the king, seeing the colonists as part of his family, sought to control them in the same way he had attempted to rule his younger siblings.

In this brilliantly interpretive biography, Stella Tillyard conjures up a Georgian world of dynastic marriages, headstrong royals, and radical new ideas. A compelling story of private passions and public disgrace, rebellion and exile, A Royal Affair brings to life the dramatic events that served as a curtain-raiser to the revolutions that convulsed two continents.

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Review: A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings

User Review  - Goodreads

This was a fantastic read although it may have been better to focus purely on Caroline Mathilde. Long never ending chapters disrupted the ease of reading. I kept trying to read to the end of a chapter before a break but when they are floating for 70 odd pages it is hard to do. Read full review

Review: A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings

User Review  - Goodreads

It never ceases to surprise me how much scandal there was in high society. The British Royal family have had their fair share and could give the current generation a run for it's money. This was an ... Read full review

Contents

TWO A Sayer of Things
22
THREE A Dangerous Prescription
68
FOUR A Lewd and Adulterous Conversation
134
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About the author (2006)

Stella Tillyard is the award-winning author of Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740—1832, and Citizen Lord: The Life of Edward Fitzgerald, Irish Revolutionary. She graduated from Oxford and has taught at UCLA and Harvard, where she was Knox Fellow. She reviews for the Sunday Times (London) and is a frequent contributor to Radio 4. She is married to the historian John Brewer and lives in Oxford, England.

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