Starting with King Egbert and his father in the year 784.
Ending with Queen Elizabeth II and her offspring.
I just finishing reading.
And loved it! Yes. I'm odd.
This record does not tell stories.
I looked for details of rumour and tale of William Wallace under Edward I and Robert the Bruce. Proof, perhaps, that Braveheart was highly accurate and that Edward III was indeed Wallace's child. There was none.
I looked for details relating to the stress and havoc created by Robin Hood under (bad) King John. The scandal surrounding the princes in the tower (Edward V and Richard, Duke of York). Any proof of Mary Boleyn and her saucy ways. And the stuttering language of King George VI. They weren't their either.
No mention of that royal connection to Jack the Ripper.
And no mention of Camilla Parker Bowles, of course, or Charlie's other woman, "Kanga" - thankfully.
I did learn, however, the following:
1. The majority of kings had A LOT of illegitimate children. I am sure they were all very devoted husbands who accidentally fell over the occasional woman - sometimes the same women, who they rewarded with title and land somewhere.
2. The majority of royals married .. each other. Some married their niece. Most married their cousin. One was engaged to two brothers (Lizzy's grandmother). A few were married to royalty several times. Marriage was clearly a transaction of title and land. Let's keep it all in the family ...
3. There was no way any of us plebs could become a part of the royal institution.
4. There was such a kerfuffle when Edward VIII married scandalous Mrs Simpson, because she was twice divorced - and yet so many royals before him were either divorced themselves or married divorcees. Let me introduce you to King George I, who not only divorced his wife Sophia, but forbade her to ever remarry and locked her up in a castle until she died. The ultimate backlash from accused adultery. (Still, a castle ain't bad.)
5. There were a lot of miscarriages and still born babies. Queen Anne had it tough .. she outlived all her 19 children.
6. I am somehow related to people in the book. I need to track down the exact link before I can reveal my claim to a throne ... a throne that doesn't actually exist anymore. But start practicing your curtsy anyway.
This book is a true family history of those that ruled or reigned Britain - both England and Scotland. Following the succession, it records their names and dates, all their titles (gosh, do they accumulate), and their spouses (sometimes several - and usually a cousin or someones niece), their children (including all the illegitimate ones ... oh, so many!) and their spouses.
I read it cover to cover.
An excerpt, just for you:
George III is alleged to have married secretly, on 17th April, 1759, a Quakeress called Hannah Lightfoot, daughter of a Wapping shoemaker, who is said to have borne him three children. Documents relating to the alleged marriage, bearing the Prince's signature, were impounded and examined in 1866 by the Attorney General. Learned opinion at the time leaned to the view that these documents were genuine. They were then placed in the Royal Archives at Windsor; in 1910, permission was refused a would-be author who asked to see them. If George III did make such a marriage when he was Prince of Wales, before the passing of the Royal Marriages Act in 1772, then his subsequent marriage to Queen Charlotte was bigamous, and every monarch of Britain since has been a usurper, the rightful heirs of George III being his children by Hannah Lightfoot, if they ever existed.
Taking her 22 years to research this one book, it certainly is a unique reference book. Alison Weir drew on countless sources and authorities - include scandalous rumour if it had some base - both ancient and modern. Covering all the royal houses of England, Scotland, and Great Britain, it is both comprehensive and complete.