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Britain's Royal Families: The Complete…
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Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (1989)

by Alison Weir

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This volume took Alison Weir twenty-two years to research and write. It's quite a feat. She's covers Britain's monarchy from the late 700s up till 2002.

Each royal house is given a summary at the start of each chapter, followed by the essential details of the ruling king/queen, followed by their consort, any siblings they may have had, and any children. Heirs who have children are also accounted for.

This is more of a reference book that can be used to access specific info, but it may also be read from start to finish. I did the latter, however, I did skip most of the Scottish monarchy section, plus some of the second generation offspring details. At times it proved a bit like reading a birth or death register, but on the other hand the info is clear if you wanted to look up someone in particular.

I found the section on pre-conquest England the most interesting, as the country was so vastly different in its structure and way of living from today that it's hard to imagine.

It's also shocking to see how many English queens lost their children in infancy or upon their birth. Queen Anne's misfortune as a mother was especially sad to read. It's hard to imagine what it must've been like to lose one child, never mind nineteen. I've copied the main details below of her unfortunate children:

1 Stillborn daughter
2 Mary or Marie
Born on 2 June, 1685. Died on 8 February, 1687.
3 Anne Sophia
Born on 12 May, 1686. Died on 2 February, 1687.
4 Stillborn child.
5 Stillborn son
6 Miscarriage
7 Stillborn child
8 William Henry
Born on 24 July, 1689. Died on 30 July, 1700.
9 Mary Born on 14 October, 1690. Died aged 2 hours.
10 George Born on 17 April, 1692. Died, aged a few minutes.
11 Stillborn daughter
12 Stillborn child
13 Stillborn daughter
14 Stillborn son Of six months’ growth.
15 & 16 Stillborn twins A male foetus of 2 or 3 months’ growth and a male foetus of 7 months’ growth.
17 Stillborn son
18 Stillborn son
19 Stillborn son ( )
  PhilSyphe | Jun 26, 2014 |
Alison Weir is an exceptional writer, and has done a great job with the Royal history. ( )
  JohnJohnsonII | May 18, 2013 |
Fantastic resource; the result of 22 years work by the author. The only downside is the format which sometimes is confusing when trying to follow a particular family. Other than that - a great book! ( )
1 vote soliloquies | Feb 3, 2009 |
Useful reference book, and definitely one of the best organised genealogical works I've read. A little out of date now, thanks to the births/marriages of some new Windsors, but I'd mostly be using the medieval sections anyway. ( )
  siriaeve | Jun 22, 2008 |
An excellent, useful, reference book to dip into for quick information on the British history of Kingdoms, Kings, Queens and dates. ( )
  Blenny | Sep 8, 2007 |
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The reader may find it helpful to note the following points:

1. Britain's Royal Families covers the period from A.D. 800 to the present day.
Forword

In 1965, when I was fourteen, I read for the first time an adult historical novel. It was about Katherine of Aragon, and was entirely forgettable, except for the fact that it left me with a thirst to find out more about its subject.
Chapter One

The Saxon and Danish Kings of England

There have been kings in England for more than 2,000 years, and yet this realm has been a monarchy for little more than half that time. Up until the Dark Ages, kingship was basically tribal, invested in chieftains of Celtic or Romano-British stock. Then, in the middle of the 5th century, England began to feel the impact of the Barbarian invasions that were changing the face of Europe.
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