Blood Royal: The Story of the Spencers and the Royals

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9780002559348: Blood Royal: The Story of the Spencers and the Royals

The Spencers, like the Windsors, are a dynasty, and one of the most successful families that England has produced. But how did a family of Tudor sheep farmers from Northamptonshire reach the ranks of the upper aristocracy by the time of the Restoration, and how did they then continue to consolidate their great position at the apex of society through the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries? The Spencers have quietly adapted from one generation to the next, sweeping up heiresses and magnificent estates, buying great libraries and pictures, then building London's most beautiful palladian mansion to house them. Family characteristics emerge, as do family traditions and attitudes to life. And, by the zenith of the eighteenth century, almost everyone who is anyone in politics seems to be related to this overwhelming family.

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About the Author:

John Pearson is the author of several novels and biographies including The Life of Ian Fleming, Stags and Serpents: The History of the Dukes of Devonshire and The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, which was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award by the Mystery Writers of America.

From Publishers Weekly:

This is a lively if superficial overview of the lives and times of Princess Diana's illustrious family through 500 years, from the Tudor age to the present. Gaining and losing vast fortunes; making shrewd, status-enhancing marriages; and jockeying for social and political power are the recurring themes of this family saga, whose subjects rose from being wealthy farmers during the reign of Henry VII to ranking among the most prosperous and prominent families in the land by the 18th century, only to see both their wealth and their status decline throughout the Victorian and contemporary eras--until Diana, third daughter of the eighth earl, made her "fairy-tale" marriage into the royal family. Including such notables as Sarah Churchill and the infamous 18th-century duchess of Marlborough, whose carefully calculated scheming made the family one of the richest in the land, the Spencer clan is replete with colorful characters. That Princess Diana herself drew strength from this ancestral heritage, as Pearson claims, is undoubtable; more dubious, however, are his repeated assertions that various facets of Diana's own character are direct inheritances from one ancestor or another. This suggestion that biology is destiny culminates in the proposition--based on the observation that Princes William and Harry look more like their mother than their father--that the Spencer genes have superseded those of the Windsors and will be instrumental in shaping the future of the British monarchy. While this claim that the Spencer family history yields vital insights into the destinies of Diana and her children seems somewhat overstated, those who admire the late princess of Wales and those who are drawn to accounts of English dynastic history will find the story of the Spencers engrossing. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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