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Royal Family: Years of Transition

By Theo Aronson

Here is a royal book with a difference.

It is a family saga showing the monarchy from the death of Queen Victoria to the present day. But rather than just an account of the reign of the five 20th-century monarchs, this is a study of their dynasty; of both its major and minor members. The entire royal family is vividly portrayed — with its triumphs and its heartbreaks, its brilliance and its mediocrity, its strengths and its vulnerabilities.

Over eighty years, the royal family has adapted to changing times in order not only to survive but to enhance its position in national and international life. They are in a state of continuous transition; a family deeply concerned with making itself relevant to contemporary life while retaining its essential element of mystique.

Many other interesting themes also emerge: the education and upbringing of the royal children; the reconciling of public obligations with private inclinations; the constitutional position of the monarch; the frustrations of heirs-apparent; the varied and often onerous duties of family members; the composition of the royal households; the relationship with the press; the contrasting atmosphere of the different reigns; the marriages, the divorces and the sometimes disastrous love affairs.

Theo Aronson has received an exceptional degree of cooperation from the Palace. He has been granted audiences with members of four generations of the royal family: the late Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and the Prince of Wales. He has also heard from members of the various royal households — secretaries, comptrollers, press secretaries, equerries, and ladies-in-waiting.

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