The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor

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Before you say it could never happen, read A. N. Wilson's spectacular account of privilege and profligacy, a riches-to-ruin saga as bizarre as any novel. 1992 was the year the roof fell in on the storybook existence of the British royal family, the Windsors, and Queen Elizabeth referred to it as the "annus horribilis." The British press could barely keep up with the succession of separations, divorces, and sex scandals that undermined popular support of the monarchy and may yet redefine its role in the political ...
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Overview

Before you say it could never happen, read A. N. Wilson's spectacular account of privilege and profligacy, a riches-to-ruin saga as bizarre as any novel. 1992 was the year the roof fell in on the storybook existence of the British royal family, the Windsors, and Queen Elizabeth referred to it as the "annus horribilis." The British press could barely keep up with the succession of separations, divorces, and sex scandals that undermined popular support of the monarchy and may yet redefine its role in the political and social life of Great Britain. Readers with an interest in history (and perhaps a taste for the gothic) will be fascinated by Wilson's tracing of the present misery of the Windsors to the quarrels and eccentricities of elder generations, and perhaps to an even more ancient family curse, pronounced by a disappointed heir to the fortune. The author shows us how the constitutional crisis of Charles and Diana's impending divorce - de facto or official - is rooted in the bitter family struggle over the personal life of Edward VIII, who chose to marry a divorced American woman, and was forced to abdicate in 1936. From the glittering history of the Windsors to the tabloid exploits of the Duchess of York, and from Prince Charles's steamy telephone tapes to the ecclesiastical and political fallout of a royal divorce, A. N. Wilson fashions a dramatic narrative out of the strands of this all-too-human catastrophe. Can the Windsor dynasty survive? Or is there a new English revolution in the making?
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wilson presents a savvy and gossipy look at the history of the Windsor family and the future of the British monarchy. (June)
Library Journal
Wilson poses the question ``Can the British monarchy (and the House of Windsor) survive?'' The ensuing discussion is interesting, but wading through the unsubstantiated allegations is tiresome. In particular, Wilson objects to Prince Charles, whom he finds totally unsuitable to be king, based principally on the fact that Charles did not attend Eton and that he made what some consider an ill-judged speech in 1992 while the British government was engaged in delicate trade negotiations. Wilson first defines the monarchy today as having only three functions and then sets out to prove that Charles and the Windsors cannot fulfill them. He contends that Britain needs a wholesome royal family to act as role models and fulfill various ceremonial duties but who are, as individuals, too dull to inspire public interest. Wilson is the author of numerous novels and biographies (e.g., C.S. Lewis , LJ 2/15/90; Eminent Victorians , LJ 6/1/90). Buy this if you must, but there's nothing new in fact, just interpretation.-- Katharine Galloway Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449909324
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/10/1994
  • Edition description: 1st Ballantine Bks. ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224

Table of Contents

1 The Curse of the Coburgs 1
2 Margaret Thatcher's Legacy 14
3 Lady Di 30
4 The Prince of Wales 47
5 The Queen 64
6 The House of Windsor and the Press 82
7 The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg 114
8 The House of Windsor and the Church 139
9 Constitutional Monarchy 154
10 Royal Money 172
11 A Modest Proposal 187
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