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Spare generated its fair share of headlines (and controversy) even before the book arrived online, with leaked excerpts detailing everything from the Prince’s grim future with the monarchy, to Harry and Meghan Markle’s fallout with Buckingham Palace. Harry’s subsequent press tour to promote the book further fueled the attention, making Spare one of the most-anticipated autobiographies in recent memory.
Of course, there have been dozens of books about the Royal Family released in the past, though no one from the family wrote any of those books themselves. Spare is the first memoir to be told from a first-person perspective, as an officially-authorized memoir, written by Harry.
Want to catch up on your royal reading? Here are six of the most popular books about the Royal Family that you can read and buy online right now.
1. Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words
Buy Diana: Her True Story–in Her Own Words $10.99
Perhaps the most famous book about the Royal Family was Andrew Morton’s 1992 biography about Princess Diana. Released to much fanfare in the UK, it quickly became an number-one bestseller both in Europe and across the pond in the U.S., with readers rapturously diving into the details of Diana’s unhappy marriage to Prince Charles, and her rocky relationship with the press.
Both Diana and Morton originally denied the Princess’ involvement in the book, with the author insisting that his sources were simply Diana’s family members and friends. But after Diana’s death in 1997, Morton revealed that the Princess of Wales had given secret interviews to a “middleman” for the biography; Morton even released some of the recorded conversations on tape. The book title was soon revised to add In Her Own Words to the original title, acknowledging that Diana had been a willing participant in the biography’s publication.
2. The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil
Tina Brown has covered the British Royal Family for more than two decades, and in her latest book, The Palace Papers, the veteran journalist dishes on the “scandals, love affairs, power plays, and betrayals that have buffeted the monarchy over the last 25 years.”
Released in 2022, the book covers everything from Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, to Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. But Brown also explores some of the more delicate royal relationships over the years, from Queen Elizabeth’s bond with the Queen Mother, to her decades-long marriage to Prince Philip. Of course, Harry and Meghan feature prominently in the book as well, with Brown writing about the fraught relationship between Harry and Prince William, and offering insight into the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step back as senior royals.
The Palace Papers follows Brown’s unauthorized 2007 bestseller, The Diana Chronicles.
3. Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship — and subsequent marriage — have generated incredible interest from royal watchers from the start, and in this 2020 biography, royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand detail everything from the couple’s high-profile wedding to their so-called “Megxit” from the Royal Family.
Seen as a favorable book toward the Duke and Duchess, the authors claimed to have sourced details from people in Harry and Markle’s circle. It was later revealed as part of Markle’s tabloid trial that the Duchess had also allowed a “friend” to speak to the authors to “prevent any misrepresentation.”
4. Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult
The title of this book alone tells you everything you need to know about its contents. Author Robert Lacey (a historical consultant on The Crown) breaks down the relationship between Princes William and Harry, from their seemingly idyllic childhoods in the UK, to the toll of their parents’ divorce and how they both coped — differently — with Princess Diana’s sudden death.
Released in 2020, the book also looks at the strained relationship between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle and how their wives have played a role into where William and Harry stand with each other today.
“This book reveals the untold details of William and Harry’s closeness and estrangement,” states the publisher notes, “asking what happens when two sons are raised for vastly different futures – one burdened with the responsibility of one day becoming king, the other with the knowledge that he will always remain spare.”
5. The Queen: Her Life
Andrew Morton returned in 2022 with a new biography, this time exploring the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. From her ascension to the throne at just 25 years of age, to her 70 years as the Queen of England, Morton’s book follows her journey from a shy and self-effacing girl to becoming one of the most beloved royals of all time.
As the book’s publisher writes, “This is the story of a woman of unflagging self-discipline who will long be remembered as mother and grandmother to Great Britain, and one of the greatest sovereigns of the modern era.”
6. Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy
Neither a biography nor a tell-all, historian Alison Weir’s book tracks the genealogical details of every royal house of England, Scotland and Great Britain from 800AD to the present day. A must-read for royal watchers and history buffs alike, the 400-page reference book is one of the most comprehensive tomes of the Royal Families, providing an overview of each family member, their relationship to the throne and their often-complex connection to other royals around the world.