A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

Front Cover
Macmillan, Nov 18, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 704 pages
44 Reviews

The Times Best Books of the Year • The Sunday Times Best Books of the Year

The New Statesman Book of the Year selection by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

BBC History Magazine Book of the Year selection by Helen Rappaport

"A masterpiece . . . . [T]his heartbreaking narrative of family dysfunction and royal sacrifice is an absolute page-turner." --Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

"[A] fascinating, story-filled account . . . . Each story is a revelation." --Jenny Uglow, The Guardian

The surprising, deliciously dramatic, and ultimately heartbreaking story of King George III's radical pursuit of happiness in his private life with Queen Charlotte and their 15 children

In the U.S., Britain's George III, the protagonist of A Royal Experiment, is known as the king from whom Americans won their independence and as "the mad king," but in Janice Hadlow's groundbreaking and entertaining new biography, he is another character altogether--compelling and relatable.

He was the first of Britain's three Hanoverian kings to be born in England, the first to identify as native of the nation he ruled. But this was far from the only difference between him and his predecessors. Neither of the previous Georges was faithful to his wife, nor to his mistresses. Both hated their own sons. And, overall, their children were angry, jealous, and disaffected schemers, whose palace shenanigans kick off Hadlow's juicy narrative and also made their lives unhappy ones.

Pained by his childhood amid this cruel and feuding family, George came to the throne aspiring to be a new kind of king--a force for moral good. And to be that new kind of king, he had to be a new kind of man. Against his irresistibly awful family background--of brutal royal intrigue, infidelity, and betrayal--George fervently pursued a radical domestic dream: he would have a faithful marriage and raise loving, educated, and resilient children.

The struggle of King George--along with his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their 15 children--to pursue a passion for family will surprise history buffs and delight a broad swath of biography readers and royal watchers.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Excellently researched work but a bit on the long side. - Goodreads
Thoroughly researched and engagingly written. - Goodreads
Janice Hadlow has researched incredibly well; I can' - Goodreads
Ms. Hadlow did her research! - Goodreads
Hadlow's writing never devolved into a listing of even - Goodreads
Four of those pages barely reference this event that ch - Goodreads

Review: A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

User Review  - Erika Daniels - Goodreads

Wow--what a great book! While I love biographies--especially of English history--I fully expect to have to skim over some pages. It is just difficult for a biography to be interesting from the first ... Read full review

Review: A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

User Review  - Andrea - Goodreads

This was an excellent book, though it was a very slow read for me and I feel like I spent most of June working through this one. The book offers an in-depth perspective on George III with a major ... Read full review

All 14 reviews »



Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Janice Hadlow has worked at the BBC for 28 years, including more than 10 years as a top executive. She was educated at comprehensive school in Swanley, in north Kent, and graduated with a BA in history from King's College London. She currently lives in Bath. A Royal Experiment is her first book.

Bibliographic information