The release of the fifth season of The Crown may not have had the same effect as its predecessors, but it surely made the audience aware that Royals and Scandals can exist together. Author Nigel Cawthorne’s The World’s Greatest Royal Scandals further cements the seed of distrust in the readers’ minds since it doesn’t miss any scandal that took place in the world of monarchy.
Before you read ahead, you must know that this book is part of a series that examines real-life stories that have made newspaper headlines around the world. Since the royals are different from their subjects, so are their activities that seem unreal at times. Updated till the last century, this book deals with everything scandalous you need to know about the Royal families of the world. The information this book has isn’t taught in any school, college, or university, making it a must-read if you are into controversies, conspiracies, and gossip.
If you thought that Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage was a sad one, in which he involved a mistress while being married to a good-looking lady, then this book will make you reconsider your assumption about the current King, to say the least. It will explain to you that how Prince Charles (now King Charles III) treated his wife was nothing compared to the deeds of his forefathers who had a long list of mistresses, who bore them kids and were usually married off to someone closer to the King to avoid embarrassment.
There have been countless kings in the world who despite marrying into royalty, were disloyal to their wives. This book begins with the last such case – Prince Charles, now King Charles III – and then keeps moving backward in a novel way of taking the readers down memory lane. First, the author dissects the British monarchy with a text that doesn’t bore the audience and then moves on to why Queen Elizabeth had to term the year 1992, annus horribilis. From the divorce of her son and her daughter to the fire in Windsor Castle, everything and anything royal can be found on these pages.
Although The Crown hasn’t tackled everything scandalous in the British Royal family, this book has. After all, Queen Elizabeth II and her family’s history would be incomplete without the mention of her uncle King Edward VIII who abdicated the throne when he wasn’t granted permission to marry a gold-digging American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. The same goes for her sister Prince Margaret who wanted to marry her lover and her father’s equerry Peter Townsend but her elder sister put a stop to it. How she married Prince Philip herself and how Lord Mountbatten fit into that is a story worth mentioning, and this book does justice to it.
You must have heard about Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth I, and Queen Victoria, and their reign in which their countries were able to conquer the world. However, what this book tells us about them is something you might never have even associated with their names. If you think that I am talking about the Victoria and Abdul romance, then that’s only one of the many stories about these ladies. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to British Royals who might seem sophisticated from the outside but in fact are nothing more than rich lecherous individuals.
Not only does it cover royal scandals from Britain but also from other lands where monarchy reigned supreme. Not far away from Pakistan, the Shah of Iran was doing things that would have brought shame to his subjects, and the same goes for Prince Farouk of Egypt who was forced to abdicate because his leisure activities were nothing short of a disgrace for the country. It also brings forth corruption tales from Europe where one King took bribes to endorse products, and another joined hands with the opposition to prolong his reign but neither stayed long on the throne to enjoy the fruits of their corruption.
And then there is the chapter about Hollywood actress Grace Kelly who according to the writer was exactly the opposite of the characters she played on screen. In what comes out as a shocking development, she was described as a nymphomaniac in her days as an actress and is said to have had affairs with everyone from Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and David Niven to name a few. She was even subjected to a fertility test by her future husband the Prince of Monaco before their marriage in 1956 and had to lie to pass the test.
Although this book doesn’t have any colored pictures, the details of some of the affairs add color to the narrative. Don’t be surprised to know that enemies used beautiful women as spies when they were told of the King’s weakness for the fairer sex, or that there was a King who was in fact a Queen. Add to that the information about those monarchs who had several wives, and you will not be able to put down this book for sure.