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The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace (Hardcover)

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Description


Kensington Palace is now most famous as the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but the palace's glory days came between 1714 and 1760, during the reigns of George I and II . In the eighteenth century, this palace was a world of skulduggery, intrigue, politicking, etiquette, wigs, and beauty spots, where fans whistled open like switchblades and unusual people were kept as curiosities. Lucy Worsley's The Courtiers charts the trajectory of the fantastically quarrelsome Hanovers and the last great gasp of British court life. Structured around the paintings of courtiers and servants that line the walls of the King's Staircase of Kensington Palace-paintings you can see at the palace today-The Courtiers goes behind closed doors to meet a pushy young painter, a maid of honor with a secret marriage, a vice chamberlain with many vices, a bedchamber woman with a violent husband, two aging royal mistresses, and many more. The result is an indelible portrait of court life leading up to the famous reign of George III, and a feast for both Anglophiles and lovers of history and royalty.

About the Author


Lucy Worsley is, by day, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. By night, she is a writer and presenter, most recently author of Cavalier: a Tale of Passion, Chivalry and Great Houses, described by the Mail on Sunday as 'a remarkable achievement by an immensely talented and innovative historian.'

Praise For…


“All those flowers placed outside Princess Diana's London home 13 summers ago are only the latest chapter in the history of one of those palaces where the walls could tell many a tale about the intersection of aristocracy and political culture.”—Martin Rubin, The Wall Street Journal

“Brilliantly entertaining … [she] writes with flair, bringing her characters to life … In spite of its accessible charm, Courtiers is a serious historical study which chisels much richness from the ornate, dingy, contradictory world of the palace.”—Times Literary Supplement

“As chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces charity Worsley couldn’t have been in a better position to winkle out the secrets of one of the palaces under her aegis.  She has written a book that vividly brings to life the reigns of the first Hanoverian monarchs and almost humanises the two Georges … Worsley’s book is full of extraordinary characters … one of the most appealing characters is Caroline of Ansbach, queen to George II, a woman who would rather have been a philosopher than a ruler, ill-treated yet loved by her husband.  Her agonising end, brilliantly described, brought me to tears … a compelling book.”—The Express

“We have a fine modern historian to guide us through the dreamlike maze of 18th-century palace life.”—The Times

“Racy, amusing and informative.  She brings the Georgian courts and their personalities to life … extremely enjoyable.”—Literary Review

“Threaded through with the stinging witticisms of 18th-century observers, Worsley’s own prose bounces along.”—The Sunday Times

“Now the definitive work on the early Hanoverian court … The depth of Worsley’s scholarship is demonstrated by the absence of fudged details. She clarifies points of etiquette and toilette, for example, that most historians of the 18th century only half understand … As in her previous book, Cavalier, Worsley’s style is wonderfully readable and her talent for empathy enormous.  She always takes a charitable view of superficially obnoxious people and sees half-invisible female figures very clearly … haunts one’s imagination.”—The Sunday Telegraph

“An intimate account of life at court that at times reads like an 18th-century version of Heat magazine … an exhilarating but unstable world, described with the relish of a court insider.”—Waterstones Books Quarterly

“Worsley’s book romps along breezily [and] the stories are fresh.”—The Mail on Sunday

“The kind of captivating history I most enjoy: full of unexpected stories.  It makes one look at Kensington Palace in an entirely new light.”—Lady Antonia Fraser

“Lucy Worsley writes with flair and passion about a lost world where smiles could kill and kisses condemn.”—Amanda Foreman

“Compulsively readable … it is impossible not to want to know how they all end up.”— Irish Examiner

“Worsley is Chief Curator for the Historic Royal Palaces and what she doesn’t know about Kensington Palace isn’t worth reading, and here she tells its lurid and enthralling story with all the flair, panache and vitality of a born raconteur.”—Lancashire Evening Post

“The colourful goings-on at London’s Kensington Palace during its heyday in 1714-60 are vividly described by Dr Lucy Worsley … the book is packed with extraordinary characters … most people know little about Georges I and II but Worsley fills that gap.” —Leicester Mercury

“Brings to life the story of Kensington Palace as it was in the eighteenth century, with tales of sexual intrigue and bad behaviour conducted in the glittering drawing rooms and secret passages of this rabbit-warren of a place, where position and rank counted above everything, including personal happiness.”—Angel Magazine

“Engaging and witty, yet also rigorous in its scholarship, Courtiers tells the scandalous stories of Kensington Palace in its Georgian hey-day.”—Andrew Roberts

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802719874
ISBN-10: 0802719872
Publisher: Walker & Company
Publication Date: August 17th, 2010
Pages: 402
Language: English

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