Initial Thoughts: When I was twelve years old, I had a strange fascination with the English monarchy, especially Queen Elizabeth I. I bought Royal Panoply by Carolly Erickson from my local bookstore and I ended up bringing the book everywhere with me for a month. There was one time that the cutest boy in my grade asked me what I was reading, I was too embarrassed, so I stupidly just said “a book…” and he never spoke to me again.
From medieval conqueror to Renaissance autocrat to Victorian Empress to modern melodrama, Royal Panoply is the story of some of the most fascinating people in world history.
With her trademark blend of probing scholarship, lively prose, and psychological insight, Carolly Erickson focuses on each monarch’s entire life—from the puny, socially awkward Charles I, to the choleric, violent William the Conqueror, to the well-meaning, deeply affectionate Queen Anne, who was so heavy she had to be carried to her coronation. Royal Panoply recaptures the event-filled, often dangerous, always engaging lives of England’s kings and queens, set against the backdrop of a thousand years of Britain’s past.
1000 years of monarchy is quite a dense subject. With all the political turmoil and uprisings throughout British history, it can be hard to condense everything into a book of 331 pages. Somehow, Carolly Erickson managed to do just that.
Royal Panoply gives a brief overview of the lives of each of the English monarchs beginning with William I and ending with Elizabeth II. The book is very easy to follow and perfect for anyone who wants an introduction into each of the monarchs’ lives. In spite of the short length of the biographies, I found that I got a good sense of the historical period of which they lived, the important contributions made by each of the monarchs, and the personalities of the monarchs themselves.Continue reading