Behind the Throne

A Domestic History of the British Royal Household
Narrated by: Steven Crossley
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
4 out of 5 stars (134 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An upstairs/downstairs history of the British royal court, from the Middle Ages to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Monarchs: they're just like us. They entertain their friends and eat and worry about money. Henry VIII tripped over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on the alcohol bills.

In Behind the Throne, historian Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking the listener on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another and exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads: the power struggles and petty rivalries, the tension between duty and desire, the practicalities of cooking dinner for thousands and of ensuring the king always won when he played a game of tennis.

A masterful and witty social history of five centuries of royal life, Behind the Throne offers a grand tour of England's grandest households.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Adrian Tinniswood (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Charmingly erudite...Like a seasoned tour guide, Tinniswood keeps us moving through chambers of wonders, from the Elizabethan to the modern era...Tinniswood is both a careful scholar and a nimble writer." (Washington Post)

"A glimpse into a world where everything is possible for the rulers, because the ruled do all the work: This sounds enchanting, and so Behind the Throne proves to be...The author has a wry humor and a way with a phrase." (Wall Street Journal)

"An intimate and entertaining look at the private lives of monarchs from Elizabeth I to the current occupants of Buckingham Palace...Deft, zesty social history." (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Very Worthwhile

This has been a fascinating behind the scenes view of the British Monarchy. It has made the monarchs more real than historic reports detailing dates and events and, in fact, it is much more revealing about the difficulties of ruling than TV and movies indicate. I now have a much better understanding of how the monarchy has evolved in the UK.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

More about the private lives of the Royals than about their household.

I thought the description “A domestic history of the British royal household” meant hearing about the the hundreds of staff members and their lifestyles. This book is 90% about the Royals themselves and their private lives and relationships with their relatives and those staff members closest to them. Quite a bit on some and almost nothing on others but touching on every Monarch since Elizabeth I. I always love listening to Steven Crossley and he kept the content as entertaining and interesting as it was possible to do.

7 people found this helpful

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Maybe better in print

I really expected to enjoy this book, but I found it dull and disorganized. The author calls it a “domestic history” and there is detail about household expenses and general lifestyle of royals. Unfortunately, there was precious little about how the royal households were actually organized, much less about the people who did the work to keep things running, or even those who directed those people. As a recorded book, it drags. Not because the reader did a bad job - he just didn’t have much to work with.

2 people found this helpful

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A bit drawn out but fabulous narration

This is a good book for scholars. A bit draggy in content and not all juicy in revelations but then it isn’t meant to be. The narrator is so musical in voice I couldn’t turn it off.

10 people found this helpful

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not so great

relatively few of the tales one would expect and more of a selective history of the royal family

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

If you are interested in the day to day realities of the Monarchy, this is a fascinating book! Adrain Tinniswood moves through the history of the ruling Kings and Queens personal and domestic challenges, giving us a peek into the complex issues of keeping a royal household moving as “smoothly “ as possible! Steven Crossley, as always, does an excellent turn in his narration!

2 people found this helpful

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soooo boring but it did have to be

could be the narrator. I just couldn't finish it. wanted it to be better but it just wasn't.

4 people found this helpful

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Fun behind the scenes

Fun information from behind the scenes of several of history's royal courts. I enjoyed it very much.

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ENJOYABLE

Very enjoyable listening...relatable..familiar and warming in history recommended for a lazy day listening session enjoy