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on August 22, 2000
I tried to purchase this book through Amazon, but I was told that it could not be shipped to UK addresses. This is apparently due to an official ban imposed by the British Government. By chance, I then found a copy when browsing in a local 'bargain' bookshop; the book cannot be obtained from large bookstore chains in the UK such as Waterstones etc. I found it to be reasonably well researched, and far more intelligently written than articles one might read about 'the royals' in the British tabloids. Ms Kelley rightly indicates throughout her book the huge amounts of money that the various post- war debacles of the Mountbatten- Windsor family have cost the British people. How ironic, then, that we are the only people in the world who are officially not allowed to read this book! What do the international community think about this? Opinions please!
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on October 1, 1997
Having read this book I feel that it has been unfairly maligned. It is neither a trashing of the individuals in the house of Windsor nor is it a tabloid-esque scandal sheet. Ms. Kelly paints a complex psychological portrait of the members of the royal family in a way that does not excuse their well documented ill-behavior but rather allows the reader to have insight into their personal motivations. In a way the royal family of Britain are painted as very real and human characters with flaws and many emotional injuries. I wonder if the negative reaction to this book is due to the timing of its release and the fact that the narrative humanizes characters that Britain, for the sake of its history and system of governance, needs to be more that human. And for the rest of the world to serve as a mirror for our fantasies. For me this book elicited pathos for this family--the queen's coldness and inhumanity caused by the early death of her father and the trauma of the second world war with all of the incipient pressures that would befall her. (what a potentially terrifying childhood knowing that your destiny may require you to "save the nation" though the strength of your character). As for Charles (for whom I personally had a storng antipathy towards prior to reading this book) the childhood he had left him quite incapable of being a loving sympathetic man despite the fact that he apparently has a tremendous need to be so. Diana was bound to be crushed by the institution of royalty and the monarchy. Her "loony' behavior makes perfect sense when you consider that she as a 19 year old girl had just steeped though the looking glass and into a world with no allies. Also, don't kid yourself, while there some epistemological problems and some quotes must clearly be fabricated, a technique of historians going back to Herodotous, this is an exceedingly well crafted book.
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on December 27, 1997
The outraged royalists crying "shame" on Kitty should take a reality check- particularly the reviewer from Dublin who expressed such contempt for Miss Kelly. Is Princess Margaret to be defended after issuing such public statements as "The Irish are all pigs?" Yes, this book was a cold, hard slap in the face of the house of Windsor- and this reader has no sympathy. I felt that Miss Kelly's book showed the house of Windsor to be what it is- a crumbling institution that serves no purpose, except for the amusement of the tabloids. Miss Kelly presented a portrait of self serving parasites out of touch with their land and people, and she did it with skill. It was a fast paced, entertaining read, not always unsympathetic, but always fascinating. A revealing portrait of those who consider themselves our "betters," but, sadly and obviously, are not.
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on September 7, 1998
This book was definitely a page turner. Some of the gossip is pretty unbelievable but written in a way that is believable! No wonder the Royals banned this in Britain. Maybe most of this stuff is true? A real interesting read and a lot of trashy, gossip (a good book to take to the beach).
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on September 28, 1997
I have read Ms. Kelly's writing before so I anxiously awaited this book and was not disappointed. She puts you in the middle of events. Her words describe so vividly the royals that at times one has the tendancy to practice a curtsey! I was saddened, angered, overjoyed, laughing and thoroughly immersed in the book. I would highly recommend it to everyone. This is her grestest work of the written word.
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on December 8, 2010
Her books are bitchy, but this one is dead on as to my knowledge of the Royal family, whic is considerable. They are my hobby.
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THE ROYALS (1997) by Kitty Kelley is one explosive book. An unusual one at that, because it explodes with the truth - and a little cock-eyed speculation Kelley garnered at the time which in today's light is laughable. I'll get to that in a moment. Also, there is a newer edition (2010) which I haven't read ... I own the original hardcover. So it is easy to forget this book was written before Diana's death, when the future of the British monarchy was being raked over the coals of uncertainty.

Kelley is as ruthless as she is accurate with her facts. This book is about the House of Windsor - which I wish she had put in her title - beginning with a few deft slams at King George V. After that it's full steam ahead, with Kelley slashing at King George VI and the Queen Mother; she concludes her book with incredibly accurate yet mean-spirited swipes-n-snipes at Fergie and Diana.

Perhaps many of these acid-tinged writings are deserved. The world certainly deserves the truth of that comical royal family hidden behind the curtain, which Thomas Paine wrote would make people collapse in laughter if the curtain were to be pulled back.

An example of some of Kelley's weird journalistic instinct is her insistence that the Queen would take some drastic action regarding the heir to the throne. First Kelley suggests the Queen would bypass Charles in favor of his sister - an absurd notion even in 1997 - then later, Kelley suggests that the Queen has an agreement with Parliament. The agreement is that upon the Queen's death, the monarchy would be disestablished and Parliament would then go on to elect its first president.

Aside from these thankfully few odd glimpses into the future, Kelley is spot-on with her observations, facts and quotes. Moving along like a streamlined surface-to-air missile, with sharp, short sentences and well-ordered paragraphs, she peels away the layers of the Windsor Onion. Nothing like this is done these days - with the public slavishly following every stupid little adventure of Prince William and his new wife Kate (Duchess of Cambridge), it's hard to envision a time when a book like Kelley's was accepted.

Kelley really delivers. It is not just juicy gossip, though much of it seems that way; Kelley has fact-checked herself into an unassailable position. While there is clearly no love lost, Kelley awards respect whenever respect is due: she praises Prince Andrew, for example, though he has been viewed by others as a 'deadbeat dad'. I especially liked Kelley's exposure of Diana, Diana's rather hateful and imbalanced personality, and the story of how Diana and Fergie ran to each other's comfort once they had been royally ditched. Excellent reading all around, I say.

Christopher Hitchens, in 1997 a columnist for "Vanity Fair", downplayed Kelley's book and relieved tensions that it might have truly explosive revelations. It does have revelations, and no, not a lot of people know about these facts. Kelley's material is more cogent today than ever, because so much of it has been forgotten. Though she is American writing as a project for "People" magazine, Kelley shines more brightly than any other royal biographer I have ever read.

Yes, I think Kelley wrote with a tiny ounce of bile - was it necessary to seem so nasty toward the Family? In fact, she does it perfectly, with enough bile in accordance with her facts and what those facts warranted.

She writes the truth, and it is just too bad they had already shipped this book to the stores when Diana was killed. In any case, buy it and read it. It is the best biography of the Windsors you'll ever read - because it dispenses with the bull and gets down to brass tacks. How about that - I finally got to use "bull" and "tacks" in the same sentence.
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on January 11, 2016
Kitty Kelley is as entertaining as they come--and certainly intrepid, unintimidated and marvelously descriptive as a biographer. I'd first read this book shortly after it's initial release--before Diana's death--and wanted an uncomplicated, gossipy read the other night. So I re-read the entire book, enjoying it just as much this time as I did originally! "The Royals" actually has a lot of accurate reporting when it comes to the historical background of the Windsors, the behind the scenes lives of the Queen and family, and what really went on immediately after Diana's death. I say this b/c before re-reading "The Royals," I've plowed through many far more serious tomes on the British royal family and books written by or with the participation of friends of the family--and what Kelley describes jibes with accounts gleaned from insiders. The small details Kelley dares to add (the information "insiders" probably wouldn't discuss) is appreciated--particularly the descriptions of the interiors of Princess Margaret's apartment (fraying wires, tottering TV trays and all.....let's hope William and Kate purge them from the space that is now THEIR home at Kensington Palace) and the other residences (tattered old carpets, substandard heating and A/C, ancient toilets that flush UP). The personalities of the Queen, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother as described by Kelley are similar to what I've read in other books; she just takes it that one step further.....:-) The Queen is parsimonious aka cheap to a fault and turns a blind eye to Prince Phillip's affairs b/c in large part b/c she turned him out of her bed so as not to have more children while she was first "learning her job" as Queen. Her husband is a bully who once hit his assigned Secret Service agent repeatedly during a visit with President and Mrs. Reagan in California b/c he was impatient with the traffic delays. Charles dithers, lies and longs for the less complicated Camilla Parker-Bowles; not seeing that his lying about his love for Mrs. Parker-Bowles was a good part of the reason his new young wife became depressed, bulimic and determined to "give him some payback." Not that Diana is merely a victim and/or bathed in the sunshine of good deeds and "sainthood," as those who grieved her death recalled her. She is deceitful, purposely difficult, defiant with the Queen and the Queen Mother, and has two very bad habits she is unwilling to alter--her bulimia and attraction to bad men. One of the worst, James Hewitt, was going to publish some of Diana's letters to him in a book along with his personal impressions/memories of the Princess. When the Queen heard he was going to say things like "She has bad breath and wanted sex all the time," she intervened on Diana's behalf and Hewitt became Cad of the entire UK. The Queen Mother is seen as the real prevailing influence on the Queen but, while epitomizing royalty at its best, drinks heavily ("anyone else would be called an alcoholic" notes Kelley), gambles heavily and runs up huge debts ("addicted to alcohol AND gambling" says Kelley).

It's a fun, fast read. The photos are good. And the research Kelley chooses to quote verbatim is insightful--and entertaining! "The Royals" is a good compliment to more detailed, serious and high minded histories of the Royal Family. In all seriousness, it humanizes this vast, prominent, proper family and therein makes them far more interesting.
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on December 16, 1998
What a fun book and that's all it is. There is nothing new in this book, well maybe a few things, but nothing that is going to make you drop open your mouth in shock. I've read other reviews here, and I'm finding people are taking this book much too seriously. It's just fun, Everyone loves a little gossip and that's all this is. Read it and have fun with it, don't start harping on what is real and what isn't. Just read, laugh and enjoy. Nothing in here is really nasty...to anyone. The only reason it was banned in the UK is because it would be real easy for the ROYALS to sue Ms. Kelly. I have to give this book five stars, it's just too rich...and really some fun reading. By the way the cover is GREAT! Pick it up, have a cup of tea, and enjoy. It's worth it!!! Trust me.
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on July 8, 2015
This book is designed to tittilate the masses, females mainly with lots of female gossip. Most all of which is true. Beyond that it fails to mention the English Royal family head the world wide Masons up and lay claim to Throne of King David, and were behind engineering both World Wars for the British Empire and are now busy engineering WW3.

If you want to learn about the depravity of the English Royals, indeed their madness, greed, and bloodlust, read, 'Dope Inc' by the Executive Intelligence Review, 'The Controversy of Zion' by former Times Editor Douglas Reed, Pat Buchanan's book, 'Churchil and Hitler: the Unnecessary War', Murray Rothbards history of how England and the Royal family have complete control over American Monetary policy since 1913, in his "History of Money and Banking in the USA". If that is not enough to make you vomit , read Englishman's Richard Gotts Epic History of the British Empire where he gives a short , 700 page history of England's genocides over 100 years, but there were so many even he could not list them all. If that is not enough to make you vomit, read, Greg Hallet's book, 'Hitler was a British Agent'

This book fails to mention how close by blood the Windsors are to Al Gore, Bush family, John Kerry and how closely blood related the Windsors are to the Rothschilds, and Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, and Greek Crowns.

Kitty Kelly is to distract the female masses that they know who is sleeping with who.

Its been known for ages Jimmy Savile the British Paedophile and satanist was good friends with Prince Charles. Kitty does not mention that.
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