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A stunning tour de force and a remarkable achievement. Alison Weir

This is Our Island Story for the modern age. – Charles Spencer


‘Not just a brilliant compendium of biographies, but the biography of an institution: a marvellous read’ – Tom Holland


‘This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle’
(William Shakespeare, Richard II)

The British monarchy is the one of the most iconic and enduring institutions in the world. It has weathered the storms of rebellion, revolution and war that brought many of Europe’s royal families to an abrupt and bloody end. Its unique survival owes much to the fact that, for all its ancient traditions and protocol, the royal family has proved remarkably responsive to change, evolving to reflect the times. But for much of its history, it also spearheaded seismic change, shaping our religious, political and cultural identity and establishing the British monarchy as the envy of the world.

There has never been a more apposite moment to consider the history of this extraordinary survivor. Within the next decade, there is likely to be a change of monarch, sparking renewed global interest on a scale not seen since Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Even the media and popular frenzy evoked by recent royal events such as royal weddings and births will not compare to that generated by the accession of a new king. In the lead up to this pivotal moment in Britain’s history, Crown & Sceptre explores the history and evolution of the monarchy from 1066 to the present day, feeding the renewed interest not just in the modern royals but in the predecessors who helped shape the institution into what it is today.

Crown and Sceptre shows an astonishing command of a thousand years of the British monarchy, its traditions, roles and realities beyond the pageantry and romance. Beautifully crafted, insightful, and a genuine pleasure to read, it underscores the royal heritage at the heart of a nation.” – Lauren Mackay

“Crown and Sceptre” combines an eminently accessible narrative with a lucid scholarly lens. Tracy Borman skilfully unravels the trials and triumphs of this ever-shifting institution. By charting both the majesty and mechanics of monarchy, we get a vivid understanding of why its glittering gears shifted over time, and by whom the levers of change were pulled. A triumph.’ – Owen Emmerson, Curator at Hever Castle

‘Tracy Borman’s passion for the British monarch and the crown is infectious and compelling!’ – Estelle Paranque

‘Borman embraces a huge task’ Gerard DeGroot, The Times

Enlightening, gripping and skilfully composed, Tracy Borman navigates the twists and turns of the British monarchy with an expert hand. A pacy narrative that’s simply bursting with colour and intrigue, Crown and Sceptre is both powerful and compulsively readable. A masterpiece. – Nicola Tallis