When the Independent was launched in 1986 one of its better ideas was to resist the temptation to cover its pages with articles and ‘exclusives’ about the lives and loves of members of the Royal Family. At the time this may have been due to a desire to differentiate itself from The Times, where, if I remember correctly, Princess Michael of Kent was appearing more frequently than Robert Maxwell was in the Daily Mirror. However, this admirable principle was eroded over the years and now an Independent journalist, Richard Tomlinson, has added to the seemingly endless pile of books on the Royal Family (as opposed to the Monarchy). The style of the book, in journalistic terms, might be characterised as the Daily Mail meets the Guardian: this is tittle-tattle with a social conscience.
From the subtitle of the book one might conclude that Tomlinson was attempting a history or analysis of the endurance of the monarchy. However, the author has eschewed such dull stuff and instead offers to the reader a catalogue of royal indiscretions from Edward VII to the annus horribilis. The