The Men Who Would Be King by Nicholas Shakespeare - review by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd

Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd

A Diverting Read

The Men Who Would Be King


Sidgwick & Jackson 192pp £9.95 order from our bookshop

‘You know, confessed Her Royal Highness Princess Teti (Teresa to us) of Orléans and Bragança to the engaging young author of this picaresque ‘look’ at royalty in exile, ‘I go to bed each night thanking God there are so many snobs in the world to keep us around’. Publishers must echo her sentiments for there has been a steady trickle of these rather shallow journalistic surveys in recent years; it was only the other day, it seems, that I was reviewing Royalty in Exile by Charles Fenyvesi (Robson Books). I would have thought the snag, from a commercial point of view, is that these books tend to fall between two royal footstools: the romantic royalty-watching snob will surely be put off by the disrespectful tone and superficial treatment; while your average inverted snob would be prejudiced against the subject matter.

Nicholas Shakespeare is a witty Wykehamist currently stalking the corridors of the BBC Television Centre in studiedly casual attire and his slimmish volume is a spin-off from the research he undertook for the eponymous BBC Television documentary (a repeat might boost sales), which was fronted by the ubiquitous lightweight-suited Anthony

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