Review: The Royal Way of Death by Olivia Bland

51HjrVrmkZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I really wanted to like this, I really did, but I had some issues with this book. I have to take into consideration that it was written in the 80s, but that really can’t be an excuse for some of the mistakes I found.

I’ve based this review on the Stuart section of the book since that is my area of specialisation. I simply think that there were far too many mistakes and rumours stated as facts.

For example:

  • William was “withdrawn and a notorious homosexual’ (his rumoured homosexuality has never been proven); and then she goes on to state his affair with Elizabeth Villiers (not a man) gave Mary a great deal of pain. I think the word ‘Bisexual’ would have been more appropriate, but again, no evidence for that either.
  • She stated that Mary II’s Mistress of the Stole was “the Duchess of Devonshire” – no, Elizabeth, Countess of Derby was Mary’s Groom of the Stole and Mistress of the Robes. The Duchess of Devonshire isn’t even on the list of Mary’s staff (Derby is) so I don’t really understand where she found that name.

Credit to the writer for writing this, which is still interesting despite the aforementioned problems.

Also, she did well to avoid the common myth that William III was killed from the horse-riding accident. The autopsy clearly suggests pneumonia as the cause of the king’s death.

I reluctantly gave this a 2.5, but as I always round-up on Goodreads, that’s a 3.


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