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Courtiers: The Secret History of Kensington Palace [Hardcover] [Jan 01, 2010] WORSLEY Lucy ... 0571238890
Download Courtiers: The Secret History of Kensington Palace epub
ISBN: 0571238890
ISBN13: 978-0571238897
Category: History
Subcategory: Europe
Language: English
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ePUB size: 1115 kb
FB2 size: 1524 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 553
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The Georgians do not get nearly their due. They are not as so competent as the rulers as the Tudors nor as dysfunctional (at times) as the Stuarts, but they are fascinating in their own way. Lucy Worsley does a great deal in this book to bring back the lost world of the first two Hanoverians, George I and George II and their court at Kensington Palace.

Worsley uses a mural by early Georgian favorite artist, William Kent as an entry point for this lost world. Kent began as sign painter but through a series of commissions managed to eclipse more memorable artists of the period. Kent incorporated the fashionable classicism to legitimize the new dynasty. If the Stuarts represented absolutism and popery, the Hanoverians stood for republican virtues. Kent painted the courtiers at George I's court to include servants and other lesser lights, not the Olympian apotheosis of the Stuart Banqueting House.

This book shows the twists and turns, winners and losers of the various members of the courts and how this family of feuding German minor royalty helped literally to make Britain great in the 18th century.
In tracing the history of George the First and Georgemthe Second, Worsely uses the setting of Kensington Palace. He further explores the astounding mural ascending the formal staircase which features a series of couriers, dependents and minor players, in the household of these warring monarchs. In exploring a handful of known subjects, he is able to expound upon the world of this troubled transfer of power.

I found this structure of the story to be intriguing. While we are able to learn in depth about these less well known monarchs, we have a wonderful conduit of a second dimension. With the advent of our current curiosity concerning the underpinnings of power, I have found that those who serve are often a window to those who are served. I would recommend this book to those of us who share this interest. I am always interested in the faces in the windows or behind the scenes.
This is not one of the most interesting periods in English History. I remember thinking that I would like to know more about why George II and his wife Caroline were stuck out in Kew Gardens when I visited their house while touring the Royal Botanical Gardens. It was a great distance from the other palaces. George I imprisoned his wife and George III was faithful to his wife but lost the American colonies. I love history but I just did not feel the love for this book. There were so many questions about the period I would like to have answered that were not. If this was the last gasp for Courtiers, then their lives were just sad.
I found some sense of irony in reading this book about his grandfathers the week that the newest little George was born. It is a truly fascinating look at how people are, both in history and the present. None of the characters populating this engrossing peek into the history of the English court are unfamiliar to an observer of Human nature today. In fact, many of the philosophies and actions of our distant relatives look much as they do today and that was what made this book difficult for me to put down. It's definitely not for someone who enjoys light fiction, but if you like to read about relatively obscure periods in history this will keep you busy for a few days (even if you speed read). What was particularly poignant to me was the recounting of how fathers continually made the same mistakes with their sons that their fathers had made with them even when the sons hated what the fathers had done. Considering I read much of this book while nursing my first child, it was a strange kind of caution, a reminder that all these people in history had the same good intentions and sincerity about their children I have with mine...and I'm just as capable (or even more) of messing up as they were.
This book is very well researched and gives a no-holds-barred account of life (the good and the bad) in Georgian England's royal courts. I loved that the author starts out by talking about the people who are portrayed in the murals and portraits in Kensington Palace. I just wish there could have been more pictures in the Kindle edition so I could see what I was reading about. I did enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations of the people who would have been considered well-to-do during their time. As it turns out, most of these people had very little money of their own and really only stayed at court for the money, food and board. It was sad and enlightening about a time period that I really didn't know much about.
The Courtiers is a fun, fast read about life at court under the first two Hanoverian kings of England (George I and II) and the sometimes vicious (and often tedious) duties of the courtiers who served them. If you've ever wanted to know what the difference is between a Lady of the Bedchamber and a Woman of the bedchamber, or what the timeline is on an average day at court, this is where to go. There's also a good deal of exploration of the downright nasty interactions between George I and George II, and then George II and Prince Frederick (George III's father). These were fathers and sons who passionately hated each other.

I came to the book knowing a fair amount about most of the courtiers described here, and as a result, the book tied up loose ends for me. (In a biography, it's so easy to focus on the subject that I lose sight of what was the center of that person's world -- in this case, court life.)

Very enjoyable and informative.