One fun fact about me is that I grew up in the United Kingdom. I was at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, as well as Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
While I wasn’t completely infatuated with the royal family at the time, once I came to the United States for university, I realized how glamorous the royal life seems from afar.
As an avid reader, I love reading stories centered on the royal family; here are three of my personal favorites!
- American Royals by Katharine McGee
Imagine if the US was a monarchy instead of a democracy…that’s the premise of American Royals. This book is set in present-day America in 2013 – right after the inheritance rules changed in the United Kingdom, finally allowing a woman to inherit the throne, even if she has a brother; in the past, a male heir would be preferred, even if he was younger.
American Royals follows Princess Beatrice Georgina Fredericka Louise of the House of Washington, the eldest of three siblings, as she begins her journey toward becoming the first Queen of America. Had she been born a generation earlier, her younger brother, Jefferson, would have been King instead of her.
Being the First Queen of America certainly comes with its challenges, as you’ll see in the book. Sadly, the closer Princess Beatrice gets to her coronation, the more distant she feels from her family and the more uncertain she feels about her future. While Princess Beatrice is not the only character we follow in the book, the importance of her future drives the other characters’ stories.
American Royals tells the story from multiple points of view: Princess Beatrice, her twin siblings Princess Samantha and Prince Jefferson, Jefferson’s wicked ex-girlfriend, and a couple of commoners (who are involved in unfortunate love triangles.)
This book is my favorite on the list, not only because of the character arcs, but also because of the beauty of the world the characters live in.
- Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
In this book, Casey McQuiston imagines what would’ve happened if a woman had won the US presidential election in 2016. The story follows fictional First Son, Alex Claremont-Diaz, and his rocky relationship with the fictional Prince Henry of the United Kingdom.
Their “relationship” starts when Alex and his sister June travel to the UK to attend a royal wedding, and Alex accidentally pushes Prince Henry into a very elaborate wedding cake. This unfortunate event leads to an onslaught of media hysteria, which both men need to resolve before the onset of an international crisis; they end up having to pretend to be friends despite their dislike for each other. As they try to salvage the relationship between the UK and the US, their hatred turns to friendship and eventually blossoms into something more.
McQuiston expresses her own identity in this queer rom-com, explaining that she writes queer fiction “for the same reason straight people write straight fiction:” a desire to share her love and experiences with a world of readers.
Another great reason to read this book is that it’ll soon become a movie. Amazon Studios has obtained the book’s rights for a film adaptation!
- Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins
The protagonist of this novel, Daisy Winter, is a sixteen-year-old girl whose life gets turned upside down when her sister gets engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. In order to learn more about the world she’s about to enter, avoid disappointing the royal family, and ultimately stay out of the tabloids, Daisy travels to the UK. A family friend of the royal family, Miles, is assigned to help her grasp what’s expected of her. Unfortunately, the Prince’s younger brother takes it upon himself to stir up some trouble. In order for Daisy to become a royal while maintaining her own identity, she has to write her own royal rule book.
While this book is not the most academically inclined (it’s full of fluff), it’s a fun, short read. Rachel Hawkins wrote a second book, Her Royal Highness, and while it’s not a direct continuation of Prince Charming, it still draws on details mentioned in the first book. Both of these stories are quick reads that’ll pull on your heartstrings during winter break.
While this article only discusses three books focused on royal life, there are numerous other stories out there. One reason why I find myself obsessed with the monarchy is that with all the glitz and glam, few get to experience the downsides of royal life.
Of course, while all of these books unmask the seeming attraction of the royal life, the fantasy of the monarchy is still extremely enticing; it lends itself to fascinating fictional worlds you can get lost in for a few hours. Happy reading!