The Royal Nanny: A Novel

The Royal Nanny: A Novel

by Karen Harper

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Based on a seldom-told true story, this novel is perfect for everyone who is fascinated by Britain’s royal family—a behind the scenes look into the nurseries of little princes and the foibles of big princes.

April, 1897: A young nanny arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. She is excited, exhausted—and about to meet royalty. . . .

So begins the unforgettable story of Charlotte Bill, who would care for a generation of royals as their parents never could. Neither Charlotte—LaLa, as her charges dub her—nor anyone else can predict that eldest sons David and Bertie will each one day be king. LaLa knows only that these children, and the four who swiftly follow, need her steadfast loyalty and unconditional affection.

But the greatest impact on Charlotte’s life is made by a mere bud on the family tree: a misunderstood soul who will one day be known as the Lost Prince. Young Prince John needs all of Lala’s love—the kind of love his parents won’t…or can’t…show him.

From Britain’s old wealth to the glittering excesses of Tsarist Russia; from country cottages to royal yachts, and from nursery to ballroom, Charlotte Bill witnesses history. The Royal Nanny is a seamless blend of fact and fiction—an intensely intimate, yet epic tale spanning decades, continents, and divides that only love can cross.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062420640
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/21/2016
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 3,510
File size: 769 KB

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author KAREN HARPER is a former Ohio State University instructor and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor-era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for Dark Angel, and her novel Shattered Secrets was judged one of the best books of the year by Suspense Magazine.

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The Royal Nanny 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Who hasn't at one time been fascinated by the life of royalty? From Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses, there is a sense of awe about what life is like for those the live under a royal title. Perhaps it is the little girl in all of us that when we were children, had those fairy tales read to us about princes and princesses that inspired us to dream of castles and the happy ever afters we believed was possible. In Karen Harper's latest novel, The Royal Nanny, we get the chance to see what life is like for those who take up the role as a Nanny for a couple that stands in succession to the title of King or Queen of England. The book begins in 1897 when Charlotte Bill arrives to Sandringham, England to help the nurse in charge of the princes children based on recommendations from her former work with the Duke and Duchesses children. However when Charlotte senses that there might be more going on than meets the eye regarding the behavior of David, the first in line to succeed the throne, as well as his younger brother Bertie. David is fidgety, while his brother Bertie is withdrawn. One day when she happens upon the head nanny Mrs. Peters, she sees that she is abusing the child. She is threatened with losing her job if she tells anyone what she has seen, but it is worth the risk to save the lives of both boys. It garners her the role as head nanny now, something she had only dreamed of before, and as the royal couple continue to have more children, she knows her position will be for quite awhile. What she doesn't understand is how removed the Prince and Princess are from taking any active role in the raising of their own children, only seeing them at appointed tea times in the afternoon and then only a brief exchange while she stands present. The loving affections for their own children is sorely lacking with only more recommendations from the Prince in what his expectations are for them. All Charlotte knows is how much love and caring these children need and she will do her best to provide for them even if it means risking a life of never being married and having her own children with the one man she truly loves. After all, one can't marry within the staff under the royal couple and not lose their job, it is expressly forbidden. I received The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publisher for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of the novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion. I truly love this novel because it is hard to understand the middle ground a nanny faces. She is not truly part of the royal family nor a member of the lower staff, so she rarely has any contact or friends with anyone other than other nannies or ladies maid. Such an insightful look into the secret life of a Royal Nanny. There is even an author's note at the conclusion of this novel that offers her insight on what she chose this particular topic and her own research behind it all. Fans of all things pertaining to the Royal family will absolutely LOVE this novel as well as fans of Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
bookluvr35SL More than 1 year ago
This is the story about Charlotte Bill, nanny to the children of King George and Queen Mary. I don't know as much about this portion of history so I found a book from this perspective fascinating. The story was very emotional, from the time she fell in love and then lost her chance for a family of her own, to the different personalities of all the children and their utter devotion to her. I felt as if I were right there beside her, experiencing everything she did. If you enjoy historical fiction, then you will really enjoy this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This outstanding historical fiction novel is based on the life of a real royal nanny, Charlotte Bill. The novel includes all the royal children but the focus becomes the caring of Prince John. The other children's lives are weaved around Charlotte's dedication for caring for the youngest child. The novel also includes cruelty, the hands off approach of royalty, a romance, an attack, World War One, dedication, peeps, friendships, jealousy, love, heart break, and more. The book is well written and weaves history carefully into a lovely life story. This novel deserves an A+++++++
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
Karen Harper writes this bittersweet novel in the words of Charlotte Bill, Mrs. Lala, an actual nanny in the household of George V of England. The story describes the royal household and the many hidden secrets of Queen Victoria's legacy. Harper freshly presents the details of running the nursery and caring for the six children of George V and his wife, Mary of Teck. The reader learns that the second child of George and Mary is the father of Queen Elizabeth, and also learns of the terrible treatment the two oldest children received during the reign of a different nanny. I found the book entertaining, and not boringly filled with facts of wars and treaties and political moves. Harper does address the tension and apprehension created by World War I due to family relationships within the fighting countries. The book focuses mainly on Mrs. Lala’s time as the royal nanny to the six children, and her utter devotion to the youngest child, Prince John, who died in 1919. The style presented easy reading, but inserted historic events to enhance an understanding of the family and sense of duty.
MsDollie More than 1 year ago
Extremely good historical fiction! Like Karen Harper's other historical fiction, The Royal Nanny held my attention start to finish. Very human character portrayal, wonderful story telling with ample historical events and detail which made the fiction believable. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
If you are one of the many people who love seeing photos of the young Prince George and Princess Charlotte on your Facebook page or when you see William and Kate and their beautiful children on the cover of People magazine must buy it, then Karen Harper's new novel, The Royal Nanny, is for you. Harper based her historical novel on the true story of Charlotte Bill, the royal nanny to the children of the Duke and Duchess of York, who eventually became King George V and Queen Mary, grandparents to today's reining British monarch, Queen Elizabeth. The children called Charlotte Lala, and she came to the family as an assistant to the main nanny, until Lala discovered that she had been mistreating David and Bertie, who would one day go one to become King Edward VIII, best known as the man who abdicated the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and King George VI, whom we know best from Colin Firth's portrayal of him in the Oscar-winning movie, The King's Speech. Lala was devoted to her charges, including four more born after the boys. When the Duchess was giving birth to a baby named John, she had a very difficult birth and feared that she wouldn't live through the birth. She begged Lala to promise to always care for the baby and Lala agreed. Lala became very attached to baby Johnnie, and as he grew, John appeared to be different from the other children. He had trouble sitting still, and he was slow to learn. Today, we would probably place him somewhere on the autism spectrum. As Johnnie got older, he began to have seizures. These seizures frightened everyone, and doctors recommended that John be sent away to be cared for. But Lala would not allow that to happen. She appealed to the Duke and Duchess, and promised that she would care for John herself. Eventually, John and Lala were moved from the family home to a smaller home nearby, where Lala cared for him. Lala gave up her entire life to care for the children, never marrying. She had feelings for Chad, a young man who worked on the family estate, but her sense of duty got in the way of her happiness. Fans of Downton Abbey will love The Royal Nanny. You get such a sense of what life was like as a servant and as child in a royal household. History fans will enjoy it too, as we see David and Bertie's childhood lives, and how they grew up into the men they became. Harper has some interesting insight into why David would marry Wallis Simpson and abdicate, she believes that he was attracted to women who dominated him. In what could have been stock portrayals of real people, Harper brings out their humanity. The Duke loved his son Johnnie, and was torn about sending him away to avoid a scandal. The King and Queen are shown to be particularly fond of their grandchildren, just like every other grandparent. The King plays games with melting pats of butter and the Queen shares her love of small glass animal figurines with her grandchildren. I found the relationships among the royals and their extended family members who ruled in Germany and especially Russia intriguing. We tend to forget that the Windsor family had such close ties to the rest of Europe and how that affected them during times of war. The Royal Nanny is an utterly fascinating fictional look at a real historical character, and Anglophiles will want to put this one on their TBR list. I highly recommend it, and I'll be looking for more information on the real Charlotte Bill.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
London - 1897 Miss Charlotte Bill, age 22, has just been hired to be under nurse to the royal family at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate. She is to care for David and Bertie, the two sons of the Duke and Duchess of York. The head nurse is Mrs. Mary Peters. The boys are taken by their nurse to visit with their parents each day at 4:00 PM, when their parents are in residence. David cries a lot when he sees his parents which ends up with them sending him away with his nurse. Bertie is very thin and always hungry. When Charlotte catches Mrs. Peters spanking David, she is shocked. The nurse wants David’s love only for her which is why she pinches him before he is to visit with his parents making him cry. The woman is deemed deranged and sent away. Charlotte then becomes head nurse and the children nickname her LaLa. Soon, Baby Mary is born, followed a few years later by Baby Harry. The children all love Lala and she adores them dedicating her life to them. Charlotte becomes friends with Chad who works on the estate. He proposes to her, but she refuses him because she feels her charges need her. Soon, the Duke and Duchess decide that David and Bertie have a man named Finch to come in and take over some of their care and studies. Bertie’s father always berated him which made the child stutter. This is a problem that followed him all of his life. Later, Baby George is born followed by the last child, Baby Johnnie. Johnnie’s birth was a very difficult one and for quite awhile he had breathing problems. Charlotte is very drawn to this child and considers him hers. When he starts having seizures, the family feels he needs to be hidden away. So, Charlotte and Johnnie live quietly in a cottage on the estate. This is a wonderful novel that follows the royal family for 60 years. It’s a depiction of the family life of the royals as seen from the inside. I have always been fascinated with the history of the English royal family but have not read much about this particular time period in the family. I learned a lot and will remember this terrific story for a long time to come. Copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss