Can’t wait for your favorite royal family of four to become five? Here are nine great reads about the British monarchy to tide you over until the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge add another heir this spring. From the definitive biographies that’ll have you winning royal trivia night to page-turning novels set in the courts and castles of burgeoning empires, consider this the crowning glory of your winter reading list.
Victoria: The Queen, by Julia Baird
Baird’s look at Queen Victoria has already been hailed as one of the best biographies of 2017. That’s because the struggles and triumphs that marked Queen Victoria’s 18th century rule at the height of the British Empire are still relatable. This royal was feisty and outspoken, and she fought for what she believed in. Baird’s confident prose makes her biography read like a novel.
To buy: $15; amazon.com.
Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words, by Andrew Morton
Princess Diana left behind a larger-than-life legacy. First published in 1992, Andrew Morton’s biography of the monarch was the insider’s tell-all for royal family fans who wanted the real story. The 25th anniversary edition has been updated with new insights on Princess Diana from Morton’s archive of tapes, in which she candidly lifted the veil on what life was really like inside the House of Windsor.
To buy: $12; amazon.com.
Victoria and Abdul, by Shrabani Basu
Before you head to the theatre to see Dame Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul, read the book about this unlikely friendship. Basu’s history sheds light on a lesser known figure—a young Indian servant named Abdul Karim—in Queen Victoria’s life, showing readers that sometimes it’s the friends we seemingly have nothing in common with that can teach us the most about our shared humanity.
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
The Royal Nanny, by Karen Harper
This page-turning work of historical fiction blends fact with fiction to tell the tale of Charlotte Bill, a young nanny hired to care for the Duke and Duchess of York. If you devoured Downton Abbey and The Crown, consider this your next behind-the-scenes look at what life was really like behind castle walls.
To buy: $9; amazon.com.
Game of Crowns, by Christopher Anderson
Blending biographies of the royal family’s most influential women—Queen Elizabeth, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Kate Middleton—with readers’ insatiable thirst for all the juicy details, Game of Crowns is equal parts informative and salacious. In other words, consider this your next royal character study.
To buy: $16; amazon.com.
The Creation of Anne Boleyn, by Susan Bordo
Boleyn’s life represented the epitome of scandal—religious, political, and sexual—in conservative 16th century England. But what’s even more fascinating is how historians have distorted her legacy to fit her into convenient stereotypes. Bordo expertly peels back the layers to reveal a fresh look at England’s most notorious Queen.
To buy: $9; amazon.com.
The Last Tudor, by Philippa Gregory
Royal family fanatics are probably already well-acquainted with Gregory’s historical fiction series. Her latest, The Last Tudor, focuses on Jane Grey—Queen of England for just nine days—and her two captivating sisters. Fans will revel in the plot twists that beset the Tudor sisters.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.
A Column of Fire, by Ken Follett
This turbulent story of lovers kept apart by religious and political tumult revolves around Princess Elizabeth, a ruthless 16th century British monarch who goes to any lengths to maintain her power. From royalty to commoners, everyone is caught in the crossfire—and it makes for an explosive novel.
To buy: $22; amazon.com.
The Last Castle, by Denise Kiernan
Round out your royal reading list with a story that brings the glitz and glamour of the British royal family to American soil. In this true story, Keirnan focuses on Biltmore, the most extravagant mansion ever built in the U.S. Reigning royalty of the Gilded Age, Edith and George Vanderbilt, and their lifetime of financial excess, ruins, scandal, and perseverance come alive on these pages.
To buy: $18; amazon.com.