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Pull back the curtain on the people who work behind the scenes of the monarchy

Courtiers is a fascinating fascinating work of non-fiction by British journalist Valentine Low that takes an in-depth look at the role of courtiers (advisors/attendants to royalty) within the British monarchy. The book defines the positions, particularly that of personal secretary, and looks at them from historical and modern perspectives. Detailed descriptions of the jobs, and people who held them, help paint a picture of the behind-the-scenes workings of "The Firm."

This book is an insightful history lesson complete with anecdotes and historical facts from times as various as the court of Queen Elizabeth I to the present day. Specifics about the personalities of several royals and some of the scandals that courtiers have felt challenged by or cleaned up shine a different light on the people and events we think we know. The chapter about Prince Andrew was particularly eye-opening, as was the information about the lack of diversity among courtiers. This isn't a salacious and gossipy book, however. Instead, it is a well-researched, well-written, and balanced look at the professionals inside the institution of the monarchy who have a job to do while adhering to constitutional regulations, dealing with the press/public, and the personalities and private lives of the royals. History lovers and royalists will both find reasons to love this book!

Sincere thanks to St. Martin's Press for my gifted copy of Courtiers!

And Steep Royal Palace Tea by Harney & Sons. A black tea with lemon and grapefruit flavorings.


The gripping account of how the Royal family really operates, from the journalist who has spent years studying them. Who really runs the show and, as Charles III begins his reign, what will happen next? Throughout history, the British monarchy has relied on its courtiers - the trusted advisers in the King or Queen's inner circle - to ensure its survival as a family and a pillar of the country. Today, as ever, a carefully selected team of people hidden from view steers the royal family's path between public duty and private life. Queen Elizabeth II, after a remarkable 70 years of service, saw the final seasons of her reign without her husband Philip to guide her. Now, a newly ascended Charles seeks to define what his future as King, and that of his court, will be. The question of who is entrusted to guide the royals has never been more vital. Yet, as the tensions within the family are exposed to global scrutiny like never before, the task these courtiers face has never been more challenging. With a dark cloud hanging over Prince Andrew as well as Harry and Meghan's controversial departure from royal life, William and Kate - equipped with a very 21st century approach to press and public relations - now hold the responsibility of making an ancient institution relevant for the decades to come. In fascinating and explosive detail, Valentine Low explores the previously unknown relationship between modern courtiers and the royal family. Courtiers pulls back the veil to reveal an ever-changing system of complex characters, shifting alliances, and a battle of ideas over what the future of the institution should be. This is the inside story of how the monarchy really works, at a pivotal moment in its history.

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