So here's the thing: I still miss Diana. I can’t believe she died in a car crash. At just 36! Ever since her death in Paris in 1997, I have been worried about her boys. I long to replace that heart-crushing image of a ginger-haired boy walking behind his mother’s coffin—a wreath on top with the word M-O-M-M-Y in his handwriting—with a shot of a euphoric young man walking up the aisle with a woman he loves. But becoming a princess, or technically, a duchess, isn’t easy. To make sure this marriage goes better than the wedding of the last century, I have unearthed the best listens for a budding royal. —Maggie M., Audible Editor

Get to know the Family Business:

One simply can’t become a Windsor without studying up on "The Firm,” the Duke of Edinburgh’s nickname for the business of “being royal.” To gain the most insight on the woman at the center of it all, one should start with skilled biographer Sally Bedell Smith’s Elizabeth the Queen, which paints a riveting portrait of a woman who, time and again, put country first—even ahead of her own family.

Follow up with Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch, a rather proper sounding audio show that uses archival recordings from the BBC and will feel like an audio version of The Crown.

If you listen at 2.5 [speed], you get a fast overview of Once Upon a Time, which details the not always charmed life of American actress Grace Kelly after becoming Her Serene Highness of Monaco.

Only after digging into the life of a European royal, and grasping the challenges of marrying into a dynasty, can one begin to take in the story of the woman who changed the monarchy as much as Elizabeth. Diana: I’m Going to Be Me is a collection of quotes from royal reporter Phil Dampier that brings the voice of Diana back to life in her own words.

For a girlfriend’s guide to not-so-shy Di, there’s The Diana Chronicles. At Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, Tina Brown commissioned many gossip-y and decidedly pro-Diana stories that chipped away at the façade of Buckingham Palace (based on off-the-record lunches she had with the press-friendly Princess).

For an empathetic portrait of a woman who married too young, was betrayed too often, and who paid the ultimate price, there’s Andrew Morton’s Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words, which Diana was intimately involved in reporting. (Warning: Prince Charles comes off rather badly!)

And in Morton’s latest, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, we learn much about Harry, his troubled twenties, his sudden eagerness to settle down, and how Meghan Markle became the girl much suited for the role.

Study up on the Sceptered Isle:

Do Richard the II proud and get to know the locals. While the monarchy experienced its share of annus horribilis, the average British citizen kept calm and moved on. Among the novels depicting the richness and challenges facing England in the late 20th century is White Teeth. Zadie Smith’s cross-generational story set in the North End, focuses on the multicultural universe outside Buckingham Palace, and issues of race, religion, and cultural bias in British society.

On the other side of the spectrum is the work The London Times called the best English novel ever: Middlemarch. Set in the English midlands, it reveals how marriage and various misfortunes shape a town and its citizens. The themes of social justice and feminism will speak to modern royals, as will the rich pageantry and despairing realities of Victorian life.

Both sides of the pond adore Bill Bryson. A Midwesterner by birth, he has spent most of his life chronicling his adventures and interactions with his adopted land. Especially, Notes from a Small Island. He speaks to the absurdity and charm of England, its gorgeous and rugged landscapes, and resilient and unique people. Maybe the royal couple should have him over for tea to understand how to stay in good with the Fleet Street tabloids and develop a liking for warm beer.

Put Mr. & Mrs. First:

A carousel at Heathrow has less baggage than these almost marrieds. Between his dead mother, her alienated relatives, his reckless youth, and her failed marriage, there’s a lot of . . . stuff. To make sure the past stays past, they should periodically close the shutters at Kensington, put that engagement chicken recipe in the oven, and get a relationship tune-up with Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin? The world’s leading couple’s therapist provides a roadmap to relationships to keep them healthy and strong. After all, a good marriage can survive everything but bad communication.

We hope she packs wool (Balmoral can be damp), remembers to drive on the left side of the road, and that Diana is somewhere watching over them. I will be, too.

Featured in this Article:

  • Elizabeth the Queen

  • The Life of a Modern Monarch
  • By: Sally Bedell Smith
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 21 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 461
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398

From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Enchanted Life of a Queen and Duty

  • By Brian on 07-10-12
Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch

  • By: Ruth Cowen
  • Narrated by: Jennie Bond, Tim Piggott-Smith, Lindsay Duncan
  • Length: 4 hrs
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

On the occasion of the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, respected royal broadcaster Jennie Bond explores the life of the longest reigning British monarch. Born a minor royal, Elizabeth is now the most recognisable woman in the world. Admired by many, she has reigned through a period of unprecedented change, keeping the monarchy strong and consistent despite the end of empire, public scandals and private loss. This newly written history uses actors and eyewitness observation to bring to life the story of this most remarkable woman.

Narrated by: Jennie Bond
5 out of 5 stars
  • Once Upon a Time

  • Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
  • By: J.Randy Taraborrelli
  • Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
  • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44

Once Upon a Time there was a woman who embodied the secret fantasies of every woman of her time. She was a classic beauty, the daughter of a millionaire, an Academy Award-winning actress, and then, after she married Rainier of Monaco, a real-life princess. This audiobooks takes an unprecedented look at the lives of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier and answers the question: Did they live happily ever after?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Portrait of a Pristine Princess

  • By e.grace on 04-30-14
Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
4 out of 5 stars
  • Diana: I'm Going to Be Me

  • The People's Princess Revealed in Her Own Words
  • By: Phil Dampier
  • Narrated by: Roger Harrison, Rachel Harrison
  • Length: 1 hr and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

It is now 20 years since this iconic royal figure died at the tragically young age of 36 in a Paris car crash. Her powerful legacy lives on through her sons, Princes William and Harry, and a new generation is becoming aware of her extraordinary life for the first time.

Narrated by: Roger Harrison
3.5 out of 5 stars
  • The Diana Chronicles

  • By: Tina Brown
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 21 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 302
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164

In The Diana Chronicles, you will meet a formidable female cast and understand as never before the society that shaped them: among them, Diana's sexually charged mother, her bad-girl sister-in-law, Fergie, and, most formidable of them all, her mother-in-law, the Queen. Add Camilla Parker-Bowles, the ultimate "other woman" into this combustible mix, and it's no wonder that Diana broke out of her royal cage into celebrity culture, where she found her own power and used it to devastating effect.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Privileged people behaving badly

  • By Chris on 08-27-12
Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
4 out of 5 stars
  • Diana

  • Her True Story - in Her Own Words
  • By: Andrew Morton
  • Narrated by: Michael Maloney, Caroline Langrishe
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 332
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 301

The sensational biography of Princess Diana, now revised to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death. When Diana: Her True Story - in Her Own Words was first published in 1992, it forever changed the way the public viewed the British monarchy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful overall with one issue...

  • By globewest on 07-02-17
Narrated by: Michael Maloney
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Meghan: A Hollywood Princess

  • By: Andrew Morton
  • Narrated by: Charles Armstrong
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

From Andrew Morton, the New York Times best-selling author of Diana: Her True Story, comes a revealing, juicy, and inspiring biography of Meghan Markle, the American actress who won Prince Harry's heart. When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were set up by a mutual friend on a blind date in July 2016, little did they know that the resulting whirlwind romance would lead to their engagement in November 2017 and marriage in May 2018. Since then, our fascination with the woman who has smashed the royal mold has rocketed.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Book offers no new material

  • By Jean on 04-24-18
Narrated by: Charles Armstrong
4 out of 5 stars
  • White Teeth

  • A Novel
  • By: Zadie Smith
  • Narrated by: Lenny Henry, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Ray Panthaki, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 73

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Modern Classic Reworked

  • By kurdis teed on 06-06-18
Narrated by: Lenny Henry
4 out of 5 stars
  • Middlemarch

  • By: George Eliot
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 35 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,006
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,752
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,734

Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon’s mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Audible book ever

  • By Molly-o on 12-25-11
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Bill Bryson Collector's Edition

  • Notes from a Small Island, Neither Here Nor There, and I'm a Stranger Here Myself
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 11 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,653
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,243
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,228

In the first of three essays included in this audiobook, Bill Bryson decides to move his wife and kids back to his homeland, the United States, after nearly two decades in Britain. But not before taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. The result is a hilarious social commentary.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So good I hated for it to end

  • By J. Dominy on 08-08-12
Narrated by: Bill Bryson
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Ep. 1: I've Had Better

  • By: Esther Perel
  • Narrated by: Esther Perel
  • Length: 47 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,545
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,478
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,481

[Contains mature themes] He reached out because a year after the discovery of his affair, they aren’t fighting anymore, but they certainly haven’t moved on. Esther guides them towards a more honest conversation, and a revelation about their communication.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Response to the bitter comments...

  • By Ashley on 06-15-17
Narrated by: Esther Perel
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • American Princess

  • The Love Story of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
  • By: Leslie Carroll
  • Narrated by: Andi Arndt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

In American Princess, Leslie Carroll provides context to Harry and Meghan’s romance by leading listeners through centuries of Britain’s rule-breaking royal marriages, as well as the love matches that were never permitted to make it to the altar; followed by a never-before-seen glimpse into the little-known life of the woman bringing the Royal Family into the 21st century; and her dazzling, thoroughly modern romance with Prince Harry.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful!

  • By K. Shaw on 05-05-18
Narrated by: Andi Arndt
4.5 out of 5 stars