Unroyal: Three Women Who Shook the Monarchy

Pushkin Industries. Nov. 2023. 4:30 hrs. ISBN 9798985080223. $14.99. BIOG
In the recent history of the British monarchy, disruption has come most potently not from war or weakness but from women—specifically, Wallis Simpson, Diana Spencer, and Meghan Markle, the famous/infamous wives to princes and kings, whose conspicuous presence (or absence) in the British imagination has posed a threat to the royal status quo. Variously accused of being untraditional, unstable, or uninterested in blending in, each woman sought redemption by tapping into the power of the media. Lyall (The Anglo Files) draws on her extensive experience as a New York Times London correspondent to capture the exuberant, demanding, and frequently disturbing relationship between British royals and the press, up to and including developments in the rocky “post-royal” era of Meghan and Harry. Her focus is on how these women reacted to and were treated by the royal establishment, the public, and the media; she touches only briefly on their biographies, including Simpson’s alleged Nazi sympathies. Add in some music and interview clips, and what results is an audio delight narrated by the author, a fast-paced yet thoughtful rendering of three fascinating women who all deserve to be heard anew.
VERDICT A richly rendered audiobook offering insight into the experiences of the women who shake (and are shaken by) the power of the Crown. Recommended for followers of British royalty and those seeking feminist cultural studies works.
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