October 20, 2022

The British Monarchy:A New History


Tracy Borman

Tracy is a historian and author from Scothern, Lincolnshire, England; most widely known as the author of Elizabeth's Women, a portrait-gallery of the powerful women who influenced Queen Elizabeth I.

In February 2022, her book
Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy, from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II was released. It is Amazon's editors pick for Best Books of 2022 So Far.

“Crown & Sceptre brings us in short, vivid chapters from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth herself, much of it constituting a dark record of bumping off adversaries, rivals and spouses, confiscating vast estates and military invasions…. lucid, character-rich book.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Since William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy, crossed the English Channel in 1066 to defeat King Harold II and unite England’s various kingdoms, forty-one kings and queens have sat on Britain’s throne. “Shining examples of royal power and majesty alongside a rogue’s gallery of weak, lazy, or evil monarchs,” as Tracy Borman describes them in her sparkling chronicle, Crown & Sceptre. Ironically, during very few of these 955 years has the throne’s occupant been unambiguously English—whether Norman French, the Welsh-born Tudors, the Scottish Stuarts, and the Hanoverians and their German successors to the present day.

Acknowledging the intrinsic fascination with British royalty, Borman lifts the veil to reveal the remarkable characters and personalities who have ruled and, since the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, more ceremonially reigned. It is a crucial distinction explaining the staying power of the monarchy as the royal family has evolved and adapted to the needs and opinions of its people, avoiding the storms of rebellion that brought many of Europe’s royals to an abrupt end. Richard II; Henry VIII; Elizabeth I; George III; Victoria; Elizabeth II: their names evoke eras and the dramatic events Borman recounts. She is equally attuned to the fabric of monarchy: royal palaces; the way monarchs have been portrayed in art, on coins, in the media; the ceremony and pageantry surrounding the crown.

Elizabeth II is already one of the longest reigning monarchs in history. Crown & Sceptre is a fitting tribute to her remarkable longevity and that of the magnificent institution she represents.

Borman was born in 1972 in Lincoln and brought up in the village of Scothern. She was educated at Scothern Primary School (now Ellison Boulters Academy), William Farr School, Welton, and Yarborough School (now Lincoln Castle Academy), Lincoln. She studied and taught history at the University of Hull, where she was awarded a PhD in 1997.

Elizabeth's Women was serialised and became a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week in September 2009. Borman appeared on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, also in September 2009.

In 2013, she was appointed Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces alongside Lucy Worsley.

She and her husband, whom she married at the Tower of London, live in New Malden, south-west London.

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