Adrian Tinniswood

Cooking Things Up

The Royal Stuarts: A History of the Family That Shaped Britain


Jonathan Cape 370pp £20 order from our bookshop

In the spring of 1889 a neo-Jacobite group, the Order of the White Rose, organised an ‘Exhibition of the Royal House of Stuart’ at the New Gallery on Regent Street. The exhibition’s patron was Queen Victoria (‘Stewart blood is in my veins, and I am now their representative’) and the English and Scottish aristocracy eagerly lent nearly 1,200 Stuart paintings, miniatures and relics. Along with the Holbeins and Van Dycks they included Bonnie Prince Charlie’s sporran, Mary Queen of Scots’ backgammon board and more locks of hair than you’d find on the floor of a barber’s shop. Most improbable of all was a pair of drawers that had, apparently, been worn by Charles I at his execution.

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