Gimson’s King and Queens: Brief Lives of the Forty Monarchs since 1066 - Andrew Gimson
Reading Challenge Category: A book about history or set in the past
Gimson’s Kings and Queens whirls us through the lives of our monarchs – from 1066 and William the Conqueror right up to Queen Elizabeth II and the present-day – to tell a tale of bastardy, courage, conquest, brutality, vanity, vulgarity, corruption, anarchy, absenteeism, piety, nobility, divorce, execution, civil war, madness, magnificence, profligacy, frugality, philately, abdication, dutifulness, family breakdown and family recovery. Written in Andrew Gimson’s inimitable style, and illustrated by Martin Rowson, Gimson’s Kings and Queens is both a primer and a refresher for anyone who can't quite remember which were the good and bad Edwards or Henrys, or why so-and-so succeeded to the throne rather than his second cousin.
I’ve been really enjoying watching Victoria the past couple of weeks and have recently started watching The Tudors which follows Henry VIII. I find myself looking up facts whilst watching to see how accurate the programmes are, but the main thing I look up is who proceeded and succeeded each monarch. What relation was everyone to everyone? So when I came across this book which detailed all the monarchs in order of succession from 1066 up to our current Queen, Elisabeth II, I thought it would be the perfect read for the reading challenge category: A book about history or set in the past. This is a very easy to read account of all of the monarchs; the only confusing parts are the events that occurred. I got a little confused with some of the battles and all of the names being mentioned. It was relatively easy to keep up with the family tree sides of things, though, which is exactly what I wanted. It was astonishing to read that we’ve not had that many successful or liked monarchs and astounds me that so many could just be thrown off the thrown. The monarchs of days past certainly had more of an influence over the country and more control over how it was run. This has certainly dwindled in more recent times, and they now have to remain more impartial and let the government run the country for them. I can’t image a revolution nor the Queen being overthrown and losing the crown in battle in this modern era (but maybe when Charles is King?). The crown brings a lot to our country, and it has taken me until I’m in my 40s to really appreciate the Royal Family and to understand everything that they do and the revenue that they create. I’m glad we have such a long-standing history and that it continues to this day after so many countries having lost their royals long ago. This book was a great insight into the timelines and family tree, how there are different surnames throughout history, and what each monarch brought to the throne. A brilliant read, and at only 258 pages I really easy-read that doesn’t bog you down with too many unnecessary details.