Cover (Image: AFP)

From Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, these books recount the public affairs and behind-the-scenes stories of the British royal family

If you thought it was difficult to keep up with the Kardashians, it's even harder when it comes to the world's royal families, particularly the Windsors in the United Kingdom (UK). Having lived their entire lives under the spotlight, the British royal family has no shortage of good and bad coverage in the tabloids and media. 

Why has Prince William and Prince Harry grown apart? What does Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip really feel about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal exit? What is the UK's royal family really like behind closed doors?

These royal biographies put their stories in perspective, with detailed accounts of the events that made national headlines and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the people closest to the royals—sometimes, from the royals themselves.

Here's our reading list of royal biographies about the royal family's most prominent characters, from Queen Elizabeth and Philip to Harry and Meghan.

1. Prince Philip Revealed: A Man of His Century

Celebrating 73 years of marriage with Queen Elizabeth this November, 99-year-old Prince Philip has been the Queen’s constant companion and support from even before her reign. Yet, much of his remarkable life and achievements tend to be overshadowed by other members of the royal family. In royal expert and biographer Ingrid Seward’s latest book, the spotlight is cast on the consort’s character and career, detailing his past and how he carved an indispensable role for himself.

Revelations also include how his once-close relationship with grandson Prince Harry has not recovered since the Duke and his wife Meghan Markle decided to exit the family. According to the book, Philip was initially fond of Meghan, going as far as to make the effort to be at the couple’s wedding despite undergoing a hip operation, but had “harboured doubts” about her. Now, he compares Meghan to the late Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, an American socialite who triggered the abdication crisis when she married then-King Edward VIII in 1937.

Available at Amazon.

2. Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult by Robert Lacey

Amidst reports of a royal rift between brothers Prince William and Prince Harry, Battle of Brothers: William and Harry by royal biographer Robert Lacey—historical consultant to Netflix’s The Crown—came at the right time to shed light on events in their childhood and recent controversies that have led to their estrangement.

This includes Harry’s alleged resentment that William never got the negative coverage that he did back in the early 2000s, even though they were both wild partiers as well as William’s increasing anger at Harry and Meghan Markle for disregarding tradition with the announcement of Archie’s birth, their lawsuit against the press, and the fact that Harry only gave the palace 10 minutes notice before the Sussex couple announced their royal exit.

Available at Amazon.

3. Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

Co-written by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, Finding Freedom had already drawn lots of attention even before it was released, with speculations about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s involvement in the book. In fact, Finding Freedom is now used in Mail on Sunday’s defence against Meghan Markle’s High Court privacy claim over the publication of her letter to estranged father Thomas Markle.

The biography tells the story from Prince Harry and Meghan’s point of view, from their courtship and wedding to Archie’s milestones and the couple’s eventual departure from their senior royal roles. Iconic instances include details from the couple’s very first date at Soho House; Harry’s anger at William’s advice to “take as much time as you need to get to know this girl”; the conflict between Harry and the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly over Meghan’s wedding tiara; and how Harry and Princess Eugenie grew apart after the couple chose to reveal their pregnancy news on Eugenie’s wedding day.

Available at Amazon.

4. The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly

Offering a unique perspective to life in the palace, The Other Side of the Coin is the personal account of author Angela Kelly’s experience as the personal advisor, curator, and senior dresser to Queen Elizabeth since 2002. The book, which features intimate anecdotes from her interactions with the Queen, is even fully endorsed by Queen Elizabeth herself.

Interesting facts we learned include the Queen’s wicked sense of humour, how she broke protocol in order to appear in a scene with Daniel Craig’s James Bond, the fact that she applies her own makeup except for one special day of the year, and her love for pockets. Another fun fact that’s closer to home—the Queen loves to purchase silk from Singapore.

Available at Amazon.

5. Diana: Her True Story—in Her Own Words by Andrew Morton

Diana: Her True Story is by no means a new royal biography, but it is definitely an iconic one. First written and published by journalist and writer Andrew Morton in 1992, the book was a shattering account of how Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage broke down. Back then, Diana had denied any role in the writing of the book, other than having told friends and family to cooperate and speak to Morton.

After her death in 1997, however, an extended version of the biography, named Diana: Her True Story—in Her Own Words was released in 1998, which included an 18,000-word transcript of tape recordings secretly made by Diana in 1991 and 1992 about her unhappy marriage, her struggles with bulimia, and more. After the book’s release, the Buckingham Palace threatened to have it banned while Diana’s family sought legal advice on the ownership of the late princess’ recordings.

Available at Amazon.

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