A Royal Affair by Stella Tillyard
George III and His Scandalous Siblings

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



The acclaimed author of Aristocrats returns with a major new book that reveals the story of a regal family plagued by scandal and notoriety and trapped by duty, desire, and the protocols of royalty.
History remembers King George III of England as the mad monarch who lost America. But as a young man, this poignant figure set aside his own passions in favor of a temperate life as guardian to both his siblings and his country. He would soon learn that his prudently cultivated harmony would be challenged by the impetuous natures of his sisters and brothers, and by a changing world in which the very instituation of monarchy was under fire.

At the heart of Stella Tillyard’s intimate and vivid account is King George’s sister Caroline Mathilde. Married against her will at fifteen to the ailing king of Denmark, she broke all the rules by embarking on an affair with a radical young court doctor. Their rash experiment in free living ended in imprisonment, death, and exile and almost led their two countries to war. Around this tragedy are woven the stories of King George’s scandalous brothers, who squandered their time and titles partying and indulging in disastrous relationships that the gossip-hungry press was all too delighted to report.

Historians have always been puzzled by George’s refusal to give up on America, which forced his government to drag out the Revolutionary War long after it was effectively lost. Tillyard suggests that the king, seeing the colonists as part of his family, sought to control them in the same way he had attempted to rule his younger siblings.

In this brilliantly interpretive biography, Stella Tillyard conjures up a Georgian world of dynastic marriages, headstrong royals, and radical new ideas. A compelling story of private passions and public disgrace, rebellion and exile, A Royal Affair brings to life the dramatic events that served as a curtain-raiser to the revolutions that convulsed two continents.

About Stella Tillyard

See more books from this Author
Stella Tillyard is the award-winning author of Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740—1832, and Citizen Lord: The Life of Edward Fitzgerald, Irish Revolutionary. She graduated from Oxford and has taught at UCLA and Harvard, where she was Knox Fellow. She reviews for the Sunday Times (London) and is a frequent contributor to Radio 4. She is married to the historian John Brewer and lives in Oxford, England.
Published December 5, 2006 by Random House. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Royal Affair

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

William’s secret marriage (without royal approval) resulted in passage of the Royal Marriages Act.

| Read Full Review of A Royal Affair: George III an...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Stella Tillyard argues that the domestic troubles of the royal family during George III’s first 20 years go a long way toward explaining his inept handling of the American crisis.

Dec 27 2006 | Read Full Review of A Royal Affair: George III an...

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

A Royal Affair: George III and His Troublesome Siblings by Stella Tillyard Chatto & Windus £20, pp480 Really, you can only hope that Princes William and Harry will hurry up with the Sandhurst thing and get down to the business of fulfilling their true royal destinies: frequenting lap-dancing club...

Feb 19 2006 | Read Full Review of A Royal Affair: George III an...

The Bookbag

King George III was not the luckiest of English sovereigns.

Nov 29 2012 | Read Full Review of A Royal Affair: George III an...

Reader Rating for A Royal Affair

An aggregated and normalized score based on 6 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review