Review: Royal Affairs by Leslie Carroll

by Leslie Carroll

Rating:  5/5

In Royal Affairs, author Leslie Carroll, chronicles the many scandalous infidelities of the English Monarchs. From Henry II in the 12th century to the current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, Royal Affairs is an entertaining excursion through the lives of our favorite salacious sovereigns!

Due to the fact that royal marriages were for solidifying political alliances between countries and strengthening royal families and NOT designed with love in mind, there comes the unfortunate by-product of infidelity. For the most part, neither the bride nor groom wanted each other and were just doing their royal duty. And infidelity is not only on the part of the the Kings, but Queens also.

Royal Affairs covers staples such as Edward II and his two lovers – Piers Gaveston and Hugh le Despenser, Henry VIII and his gaggle of mistresses, Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley and Mary, Queen of Scots and Earl of Bothwell.

Also included were a few interesting tidbits that I didn’t know prior:

Every English monarch from 1461 is descended from Katherine Swynford, the mistress and eventual wife of John of Gaunt. Mary II was in love with a woman in her youth. And one thing I found particularly amusing was that King James, who lent his name to the English-translated King James Bible, was a homosexual.

Carroll lends her incredible sense of humor to each story and it makes for a much more engaging read. Non-fiction can be stuffy and fact-filled, but not so with Royal Affairs! For example, she compares the 2 mistresses of George I to the ugly step-sisters in Cinderella and speaks about the fabulous upper “assets” of Caroline of Anspach – wife to George II.

With concise and succinct chapters, Royal Affairs is great to pick up when you have a few minutes or equally awesome to devour in one sitting – trust me when I say, it’s not easy to put down! I heartily recommend to anyone who likes a juicy story!

Many thanks to Leslie Carroll for sending me this fantastic read! Be on the lookout for her upcoming release called Notorious Royal Marriages!



  1. I read this a couple of years ago, and agree that Leslie's style is very humorous. I've had the pleasure of meeting her in real life since, and immediately learned that this is just an indelible part of her personality. She's got a dry and ascerbic wit that makes you double over in mirth.

    I'm looking forward to NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES next month, but I won't drink coffee while reading it, lest I accidentally spew it through my nose laughing.

  2. I can't wait to read this one and I have Notorious Royal Marriages as well for review. I don't know about many of the people in the book so this should be great fun and informative!

  3. Great review, Amy!! I agree that this was such a fun read. And I know exactly what Christine means about how Leslie's friendly, witty writing style is totally representative of how she is in person :)

    The way she writes really struck me as if you were sitting next to her having a cup of joe. My favorite part about this book was not only all of the juicy tid bits, which were amply spread throughout, but also the analysis of how these affairs affected British and world history! Amazing how so much what went on in the boudoir has shaped world politics.

    Susan Holloway Scott's Duchess: A Novel of Sarah Churchill is an historical fiction elaboration on Mary II's Sapphic relationship with Sarah Churchill. Her books tend to get a little heavy in the bedroom department and this one is no exception, but there's a very informative and interesting story there anyway.

  4. Sounds like an enjoyable read. History is so much more interesting when presented with a sense of humor. A little gossip never hurt either.
    I look forward to reading this book and NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES.

  5. I wonder how much of this is fact and how much is conjecture? It sounds like a really interesting read though! I'll probably pick this up.

  6. Hi, ladies!

    Amy, thank you so much for your wonderful review. I am touched and honored. And so delighted that you enjoyed it.

    Ladytink, to answer your question, I read about 60 biographies as well as dozens of biographical articles from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in the course of researching ROYAL AFFAIRS. So, it's all fact, except in the few places where the history is hazy or there are conflicting opinions of the way a given event transpired (such as the death of Edward II). In instances like that I was sure to point out the diverging opinions, and when possible, I analyzed why one scholar's conjecture might be more plausible than another historian's.

  7. Awaiting my copy in the mail :) I loved All for Love, so I'm pretty sure this one will be amazing as well!

  8. Wow! This is something I would definitely love to read! oh - uh! This is going to be in my wishlist!


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