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Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain by…

Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain (1986)

by David Williamson

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I've owned this book since 1995 and I never tire of reading it. Lots of information on Britain's Kings and Queens, plus some beautiful photographs.
Each King or Queen has his/her own section listing their spouse and children, before we get a reasonable amount of information about their reign. It's the perfect book for looking up facts when reading historical fiction. At the back there are genealogical tables, which are clearly set out. Fantastic book! ( )
1 vote soliloquies | Oct 9, 2008 |
A beautiful book; a hardbound, lovingly illustrated coffee table book, full of royal portraits, details from mediaeval tapestries and photographs of statues, battlefields and castle ruins. In the 1990s it was reprinted as The National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings & Queens of England with identical text but new pictures, just as beautiful but now specifically from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

The book is easily accessible and organised chronologically, with a chapter on Ancient Britain, then a short chapter on each of the seven kingdoms of the Saxon Heptarchy prior to the Viking incursions. When we come to Egbert of Wessex, who essentially transformed the position of Bretwalda (overlord of the Heptarchy, or High King of England) from a rank that had been passed around amongst the Saxon kings depending upon who was strongest to a hereditary title of the Kings of Wessex (that is, turned the Kings of Wessex into de facto rulers of England), we get short biographical sketches of each King of Wessex.

The bulk of the book, though, covers the monarchs who have reigned over us since the Norman Conquest of 1066. Each sovereign has a comprehensive biographical table--birth, marriage & death information, date of accession, date of coronation, & biographical information for each legitimate child. There's also a short biography for every royal bride who bore the title of Queen--or, in the case of Mary I's consort, King, as her husband Philip of Spain is (I learnt from this book) the only "King-consort" England has ever had. Additionally, the book contains a section of detailed genealogical charts.

Both a beautiful addition to the bookshelf and a thorough resource for the casual reader. ( )
  ianracey | Jun 27, 2008 |
This coffee table book provides a good overview of the kings and queens who have reigned in the British Isles from Anglo-Saxon times until the present day. Arranged chronologically with chapters by dynasty, the volume is beautifully illustrated with portraits and easy to understand genealogical tables. A good book for beginners or those with only a casual interest in royalty. Written by one of the co-editors of Debrett's Peerage. ( )
  MDTLibrarian | Jul 25, 2006 |
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