The Royal Palaces

Kate Williams


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Quarto Publishing PLC
27 June 2024
ISBN: 9780711269392
240 pages

From the publisher

Royal expert and TV historian Kate Williams opens the doors to 30 palaces, castles and houses that have been connected with the British royals over the centuries.

Well known for her expert insights in the media and on countless royal documentaries, Kate takes you on a tour of the UK’s most fascinating palaces, past and present, to unveil the scandalous and little-known stories hidden between their walls.

Included in the book are such famous royal residences as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, but also lesser-known locations such as Falkland Palace and Beaumaris Castle. Covering the breadth of British history, there are tales from the medieval era to the present.

Among the palaces included are:

  • St James's Palace, wedding venue for the disastrous union of Caroline of Brunswick and the debauched Prince of Wales, George IV, who turned up drunk and already secretly married 
  • Holyroodhouse, where staff once ran a flourishing side hustle, charging visitors money to see the bloodstains from the murder of Mary, Queen of Scots' secretary in the queen’s chamber
  • Whitehall Palace and Banqueting Hall, home to Charles II's secret laboratory, where he tried to create an elixir of youth using human skulls
  • Tower of London, the site of the unsolved mystery of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ – the disappearance of the two young sons of Edward IV
  • Glamis Castle, the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • Greenwich Palace, where Elizabeth I survived an assassination attempt when poison was placed in her saddle
  • Windsor Castle, where princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were evacuated to during the Second World War, with a secret biscuit tin full of the Crown Jewels
  • Marlborough House, home of Sarah Churchill, the passionate confidante of Queen Anne, before her cousin Abigail usurped her as the new favourite

Revel in the glory and glamour of royal life, as well as the salacious scandals that defined these palaces. The book is vividly brought to life by numerous beautiful illustrations by James Oses, and will be irresistible to anyone interested in British royalty and the history of the United Kingdom.