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The Secret History of the Royal Court of England (Hardback)

The Scandalous History that the Georgians Didn’t Want You to See

P&S History > British History > Georgian History P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > Royal History Women of History

Edited by Stephen Basdeo, Foreword by Dr Rachael Gillibrand
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 368
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399015820
Published: 3rd February 2023



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The Georgian era, we are told, was a “polite and commercial” era. The supposedly refined aristocracy governed the nation while the bourgeoisie, at the centre of the largest empire the world had ever known, expanded the nation’s overseas trading interests while currying royal favours. It was an era which witnessed the flowering of art, literature, and music. But at the heart of the British Empire was something rotten: Vice, corruption, and crime reigned supreme.

Someone had had enough and decided to expose this and so, in 1832, a curious book appeared for sale titled The Secret History of the Court of England. Written by Olivia Serres under the pseudonym of “Lady Anne Hamilton,” this was a sensational chronicle of the crime, vice, and debauchery designed to shock and titillate its reader. It contained a number of accusations against establishment figures: Was George IV guilty of bigamy? What was the Prince’s true relationship with one Mrs Robinson? Did the Duke of Cumberland’s servant Mr Sellis really commit suicide or was he MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD? All these questions, and more, will be answered in Lady Anne Hamilton’s Secret History of the Court of England, originally published in 1832 and reprinted at long last!

It is a wonderful read: covering world events – including the American War of Independence and famine in Ireland – as well as domestic royal and political scandals and wrongdoings.

Joceline Bury, Jane Austen Regency World

Overall, The Secret History of the Royal Court of England is an important book. It is a reminder that even the most powerful people are not immune to the temptations of vice and corruption. A very good book but text heavy too, not for the faint hearted.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had a lot of fun, it was a sort of collection of gossips and secrets. The language is quite formal but the content is excellent.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

'The Secret History of the Court of England' is an interesting and informative read. It is not often you read a primary source that is full of gossip and hearsay, while explicitly challenging royal rule. I enjoyed the language and turn of phrase, which together, with tidbits of salacious gossip, sounded like an extract of 'Bridgerton'. However, the author's passion to underscore royal corruption and excesses did begin to feel repetitive. This book is a great read for a historian passionate about the regency era and an insightful way to gain an 'insider's' perspective on events that took place during the reign of King George III and IV.

NetGalley, Christy Howl

About Stephen Basdeo

Stephen Basdeo is a historian and the author of several history books and academic journal articles. He has also co-edited and published transcriptions of primary sources for academic publishers.

About Dr Rachael Gillibrand

 Lecturer in History at the University of Leeds.

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