2023 Royal Reading List

Some book links below may be Amazon affiliate links. If you choose to buy through that link, it doesn’t change your price at all, but Amazon will give me a few extra cents for the tiara research fund.

Do you love reading about royals as much as I do? If so, check out my 2023 royal reading list - all the research books I bought, borrowed, and re-read are listed here. I’m adding books as I read them, so check back to see if your picks made the list.

Just scroll down to get the info for each book, including my comments. Or use the table of contents below to jump straight to a book you’re already interested in.

Want to suggest a book for me this year? I’d love to know what titles you recommend. Click here to drop me a line.

Last updated: February 1, 2023

2023 Royal Read­ing List

in alphabetical order

Clash of Generations  |  Divine Lola  |  Grand Dukes and Diamonds  |  Je devais être impératrice  |  King Leopold’s Ghost  |  Maria Dorothea von Württemberg  |

Note reviewed: fiction, out of my usual scope of research, etc.

My Dark Places  |

Clash of Generations

Clash of Generations by Lavender Cassels

Subtitle: A Habsburg Family Drama in the Nineteenth Century
Author: Lavender Cassels
Publisher: John Murray
Year: 1973
Available at: Archive.org

I borrowed this book from Archive.org because it shows up frequently in the citations and bibliographies of other Habsburg books. It’s a good read, focused on the conflict between two older Habsburgs (Emperor Franz Josef and Archduke Albrecht) and two younger Habsburgs (Crown Prince Rudolf and Archduke Johann Salvator). The information on Rudolf wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before, but I didn’t know anything about Johann Salvator.

Divine Lola

Divine Lola by Cristina Morato

Subtitle: A True Story of Scandal and Celebrity
Author: Cristina Morató
Translator: Andrea Rosenberg
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Year: 2021
Available at: Amazon

This eBook showed up in an Amazon promotional email in 2021 – and I’m just now getting to it. I’ve never had a particular interest in Lola herself, but I knew she had a disastrous relationship with King Ludwig I of Bavaria. And after reading Die Herzen der Leuchtenberg, where you get a front-row seat to the debacle via Ludwig’s sister, Augusta, I figured I’d take a quick look.

Grand Dukes and Diamonds

Grand Dukes and Diamonds by Raleigh Trevelyan

Subtitle: The Wernhers of Luton Hoo
Author: Raleigh Trevelyan
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Year: 2012 (1st ed. 1991)
Available at: Amazon

I bought this book because I’m interested in the Mikhailovichi – the children of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich (himself a son of Tsar Nicholas I). Those children include Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna, mother of past research subject Princess Alexandra of Hanover (later Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin). Anastasia’s niece, Zia, married into the Wernher family, so I wanted to see how much information this book had about her and her Romanov family.

Je devais être impératrice

Je devais être impératrice by Princess Stéphanie of Belgium

Subtitle: Mémoires de la dernière princesse héritière d'Autriche-Hongrie
Author: Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, Countess of Lonyay
Publisher: Editions Frédérique Patat
Year: 2019
Available at: Google Play Books

The first time I looked this book up online (circa 2018), there were only very expensive used copies in English available for purchase ($75+). As of this writing in early 2023, there are 2 used copies on AbeBooks – for $190+. Nope – not happening. So when, in 2020, I found this version in French on Google Play Books for under $5, I jumped. I can read French well enough to get the gist of things, and use a translator to help with tricky spots. Apparently, in 2021, someone added an English-language version you can read for free on Archive.org. The trick? The text isn’t quite the same as the French edition I read via eBook. I’m still parsing what’s different about the two, but if you’re obsessed like me, you don’t want to miss a damn word. Now you know – and knowing is half the battle.

King Leopold’s Ghost

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild

Subtitle: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
Author: Adam Hochschild
Publisher: Mariner Books
Year: 2020 (first edition, 1998)
Available at: Amazon

I bought this eBook because, well, I’d always meant to read this book and never quite gotten around to it in the million (okay, twenty-plus) years since it was published. I knew Leopold II, King of the Belgians was a bad dude – but I didn’t know how bad. I was more familiar with the details of his effort to disinherit his daughters, and his penchant for underage girls. This book filled in the details on the biggest reason why he’s an asshole: his all-encompassing greed and utter lack of humanity when it came to exploiting the people and resources of the Congo.

Maria Dorothea von Württemberg

Maria Dorothea von Württemberg by K. Eberhard Oehler

Subtitle: Ein Leben für Ungarn
Author: K. Eberhard Oehler
Publisher: Ernst Franz Verlag
Year: 2003
Available at: Abe Books

I bought a used copy of this German-language book because I wanted to know more about Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria – she’s the grandmother of a past research subject, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria. Maria Dorothea von Württemberg was Elisabeth’s mom, and when I realized there was a short German-language biography of her, I had to have it.

What royal history books have you read this year? Send me a message to recommend your favorites!

Here’s to another great year of royal reading & research in 2023!

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