Andrea’s Picks of the Week: Royal Reads

Are you a fan of the British royal family? Love to read the latest on what’s happening with the House of Windsor? Here are a couple books for you!

HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes

In this beautifully designed book, fashion reporter Elizabeth Holmes breaks down the wardrobe choices of four British royal women: Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle. Each has her own unique approach to style: the Queen, demure and functional; Diana, attention-getting and bold; Kate, preppy and accessible; and Meghan, savvy and fashion-forward. In a positive, journalistic (not gossipy!) style, Holmes expands upon her very popular Instagram feed about royal fashion with lots of background information and gorgeous photos of all the women. Looking good is part of their job, Holmes explains, and each one understands that her sartorial choices are examined by the whole world each time she appears in public. HRH is a real treat for anyone who likes royal fashion.

The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett

This is a delightful, traditional British mystery starring an unlikely amateur sleuth: Queen Elizabeth herself! Set in 2016 around her Majesty’s 90th birthday, the book imagines a murder taking place right in Windsor Castle during what’s called a “dine and sleep,” when the Queen’s dinner guests also get to spend the night. It turns out Her Majesty has been secretly solving crimes for a long time. With the help of her trusted assistant private secretary, a Nigerian British woman named Rozie Oshodi, she quietly provides clues to the police and MI5, pointing them in the right direction – with them being none the wiser.

The Queen is portrayed as a person of great kindness, caring deeply for those around her and giving herself over completely to her duty to country. Bennett makes her a wonderful three-dimensional character, likable and surprisingly relatable. She’s a sleuth who is all the more brilliant because she never takes credit for solving the case. Through alternating points of view between the Queen and those around her, the reader gets a glimpse into Elizabeth’s mind and what it feels like to be in her presence. One also gets a sense of the genuine affection and loyalty Her Majesty’s staff have for her. And while the story itself is fiction, it is set against real events, like the Annie Leibowitz portrait session that took place for the Queen’s birthday.

It was a lot of fun reading these books in tandem. I hadn’t done it on purpose, but found that the images and descriptions from HRH nicely complemented the fictional Queen in The Windsor Knot. If you really like the royals, read them both. If you’re just looking for a good traditional mystery in a unique setting, The Windsor Knot is a great read.

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