Sarah Bradford

From The Sidelines

Courtiers: The Secret History of Kensington Palace


Faber & Faber 334pp £20 order from our bookshop

‘The House of Hanover are like ducks’, Sir Owen Morshead, the Royal Librarian, told Harold Nicolson, authorised biographer of George V: ‘they trample their young.’ When it came to child-trampling, however, the first two Georges as depicted in this book won hands down. George I evicted his only son, George Augustus (later George II), from their mutual home, St James’s Palace, after what became known as the ‘great christening row’. Worse, he refused to allow his son’s elder children to live with their parents, whom they were only permitted to see once a week. Even before that he had committed his own wife, George Augustus’s mother, to life imprisonment in a German castle for adultery. George II in turn expelled his eldest son, Prince Frederick, and Frederick’s wife Augusta from St James’s Palace after Frederick had disgracefully bundled Augusta in the throes of labour pains from Hampton Court, where they were all living at the time, to avoid giving the king the satisfaction of witnessing the birth of his grandchild. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,