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About the Author

Robert Lacey was born in Guilford, Surrey, England on January 3, 1944. He earned a B.A. in 1967, a diploma of education in 1967, and an M.A. in 1970, all from Selwyn College, Cambridge. Lacey began his writing career as a journalist, working for the Illustrated London News and later the Sunday show more Times magazine. While working for the latter, he also began writing biographies; his books about Robert, Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh led to a commission to write a history of Queen Elizabeth's reign, to be published during her silver jubilee. Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor became an international bestseller, and established Lacey's reputation as a biographer who treated his subjects accurately and fairly. Lacey is a thorough researcher who has often gone to great lengths to immerse himself in the background of the people he writes about. He moved to the Middle East and even learned Arabic while doing research for The Kingdom, a biography of Saudi Arabia's first ruler, Abdul Aziz Sa'ud. And when writing Ford: The Man and the Machine, about Henry Ford, he relocated to Michigan and worked for a time on the assembly line in an auto plant. He is also the author of Little Man: Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life, The Queen of the North Atlantic, The Life and Times of Henry the VIII, God Bless Her!, and Princess, a pictorial biography of Diana, Princess of Wales. Robert Lacey married Alexandre Avrach, a graphic designer, in 1971. They have three children, Sasha, Scarlett, and Bruno. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Robert Lacey

The Kingdom (1981) 398 copies
Grace (1995) 195 copies
Sotheby's: Bidding for Class (1998) 124 copies
Sir Walter Ralegh (1542) 111 copies
Princess (1786) 82 copies
Aristocrats (1656) 71 copies
Queen Mother (1987) 49 copies
The Queen Mother's Century (1999) 42 copies
The Queen: A Life in Brief (2012) 30 copies
A Brief Life of the Queen (2012) 9 copies
The French Revolution (1968) 3 copies
The Kingdom 1 copy
Aristocratas 1 copy

Associated Works


11th century (39) Anglo-Saxon (29) biography (364) Britain (80) British (39) British history (122) business (31) ebook (34) England (280) English (29) English History (137) Europe (28) European History (36) Great Britain (37) hardcover (26) health (28) history (1,201) Kindle (21) library (21) medicine (73) medieval (123) medieval history (90) Middle Ages (68) Middle East (74) monarchy (33) NF (19) non-fiction (574) own (20) politics (53) Queen Elizabeth II (23) read (57) royals (19) royalty (111) Saudi Arabia (85) science (92) social history (30) to-read (435) Tudor (22) UK (35) unread (46)

Common Knowledge



The author uses a calendar (The Julius Work Calendar) from about 1020 to provide structure and line drawings from the time for each month. He adds information from other sources and the book is interesting and informative (and occasionally a bit horrifying).
TanyaRead | 49 other reviews | Feb 14, 2024 |
I read through this for the second time over the weekend and found it to be a bit more “meh” than the first time I read it. A lot of the info was things I already knew and what I didn’t know wasn’t that interesting.
classyhomemaker | 49 other reviews | Dec 11, 2023 |
The three stars are for the information provided about Grace Kelly, which is the only reason, in my opinion, to read this one. I find this book lacking both in heart and emotional insight. Minus this, the reader feels an emotional distance from Grace, making some of her dalliances seem tawdry rather than wistful or sad.

There has yet to be a truly great bio of this lovely star whose public image of a woman lovely and kind, fiercely loyal, flawless in grace, is accurate, yet terribly incomplete. There is too much of a matter-of-fact tone to the revelations about her various affairs and life-long need for love and acceptance to give the reader anything other than a surface picture of woman behind that famous smile. It is the greatest failing of this biography.

She married a Prince to escape the stifling atmosphere of the studio system, yet found her restless spirit again stifled as her time in Monaco lengthened. Acting in front of the camera had at least given her soul an outlet, a chance to fly. Her life-long quest for praise and acceptance from her father marred her youth, her career and her private life. She hurt easily, loved hard, and needed to be loved in the same way. She settled for tender dalliances to soothe her inward unhappiness, while outwardly being exactly what the public saw her as.

Tackling this lovely woman’s inner frustration behind that million-dollar smile was either beyond this author’s ability, or he was not inclined to do so. For that reason it comes off as remote and distant, making revelations about affairs of the heart seem salacious when in fact they were sad. If you’re looking to get a three dimensional picture of Grace, you won’t find it here. Perhaps one day this fine and lovely woman will get a biography worthy of her, one with insight and understanding, one which isn't boring. This book isn’t it. Yet still, even as lacking in empathy and insight as it is, a vague portrait does appear. If I had to describe Grace Kelly, I would say this:

“Privately unhappy, trapped like a bird in a gilded cage, she sometimes escaped, finding in various arms, brief moments of love and acceptance that made the cage bearable.”

It's unfortunate this book wasn't better, and that with all the various books floating around out there, a real portrait of Grace that goes beyond the surface, and to the heart of her, does not exist.
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Matt_Ransom | Oct 6, 2023 |
Not as good as the first volume. It seems like the author wrote this in a hurry to meet some Netflix deadline.
RRabas | 11 other reviews | Jun 16, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Antonia Fraser Editor, Introduction
Meyer LANSKY Associated Name
Denis Authier Translator
Josie Fanon Translator
Sabine Delattre Translator
Marianne Véron Translator


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