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The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace

Lucy Worsley.
Publisher Walker & Company  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
ISBN 9780802719874
Pages/Publication Date 402/2010
Daedalus Item Code 36273
This item is not available.
Kensington Palace is lately famous as the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but during the reigns of George I and II (17141760), it was a world of skullduggery, intrigue, politicking, etiquette, wigs, and beauty spots, where fans whistled open like switchblades and unusual people were kept as curiosities. Structured around the paintings of courtiers and servants that today line the walls of the King's Staircase of Kensington Palace, this book by the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces charts the trajectory of the fantastically quarrelsome Hanovers.

"Now the definitive work on the early Hanoverian court.... The depth of [Lucy] Worsley's scholarship is demonstrated by the absence of fudged details. She clarifies points of etiquette and toilette, for example, that most historians of the 18th century only half understand.... Worsley's style is wonderfully readable and her talent for empathy enormous. She always takes a charitable view of superficially obnoxious people and sees half-invisible female figures very clearly.... [The book] haunts one's imagination."Sunday Telegraph (London)

"The nasty spats of Charles and Diana pale in comparison to the bloody family battles waged by the prince's dysfunctional ancestors, Georges I and II. Fathers turned against sons and vice versa, and family quarrels led to expulsions from the royal palaces. A respected if not popular sovereign but a diabolical husband and father, George I denied his adulterous wife access to her young son, the future George II, and imprisoned her for 33 years in a remote German castle. George II himself endured a forced separation from his son, Frederick, yet when years later the grown Frederick arrived in London, George banned him from the palaces as he had been banned by his father. Worsley, chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, recreates the first two Georgian courts, depicting rival royal mistresses; a disaffected equerry; a 'wild,' probably autistic boy found in the woods and kept as a pet by George II's wife; and scheming courtiers, as well as Kensington Palace's various architectural renovations.... A tasty slice of 18th-century life that is colorful, gossipy, and authoritative."Publishers Weekly

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