10 Books to Read if You Loved The Crown

Missing the Crown? Suffering royal wedding fever? These real-life reads are for you

So you binge watched Netflix’s The Crown and now you’re at a loss, wanting to know more about the Queen’s palace, state dinners, the royal marriage and family feuds, tragedy and scandal. As we await season 3—and the real-life royal wedding!—here are 10 royally fascinating reads to help tame your royal fever.

Penguin Random House
Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith (Credit: Penguin Random House)

This one’s juicy. Detailing Elizabeth’s early days as Heiress Presumptive, her determination to marry Prince Philip despite her parents’ protests, and all the ups and downs of her 60-plus-year reign, this best seller goes behind the queen’s perfectly presented public poise to explore the wit and charm that is rarely given the chance to flourish outside the palace walls.

WW Norton & Co.
Philip and Elizabeth by Gyles Brandreth (Credit: WW Norton & Co.)

If Claire Foy and Matt Smith’s portrayal of Elizabeth and Philip’s romance was your favorite part of The Crown, this one’s for you. The course of true love never did run smooth, and that’s certainly true for the young queen and her overshadowed husband (and distant cousin). Despite living their entire married life in the public eye, very little is known about what actually goes on between the couple behind palace walls. Read this biography to find out if the Duke of Edinburgh was really as surly as the Netflix show suggests. Plus, the book includes a selection of Prince Philip’s family photographs as well as pictures from the Queen’s royal collection.

Carlton Books
Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts by Christopher Warwick (Credit: Carlton Books)

In The Crown, Queen Elizabeth always has to sacrifice her wants and desires for the role she must play, while her younger sister Prince Margaret often gets to have plain, simple fun. Margaret also encountered some trying times — namely her forbidden romance with Group Captain Peter Townsend — but all that passion, angst, and betrayal makes for an even more gripping read in her biography, written by Christopher Warwick, who dives into the conflicting private and public worlds of the queen’s little sister.

Pan Macmillan
Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother by William Shawcross (Credit: Pan Macmillan)

No monarch has ever been as publicly adored as the queen mother. She lived to the impressive age of 101, so you know there’s plenty of royal living to pack these pages. Shawcross was awarded unrestricted access to the queen mother’s personal papers, letters, and diaries to put together this biography. The queen mother’s life spanned two world wars, and she was also witness to the abdication of her brother-in-law and the death of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret, making this one a gripping reading.

Bonnier Publishing Australia
On Duty With the Queen by Dickie Arbiter (Credit: Bonnier Publishing Australia)

In this unique look at royal life, former press secretary to the royal family, Dickie Arbiter, reveals the day-to-day workings of Buckingham Palace as well a day in the professional life of the queen. Arbiter has four decades of experience covering the queen and is the only royal commentator to have witnessed the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, covered her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees, and join Her Majesty for dishwashing chores after a picnic in Balmoral Castle. Those classy credentials make for fascinating and insightful reading.

Young Prince Philip by Philip Eade (Credit: HarperCollins)

Charming, truculent and often times not entirely politically correct, Matt Smith’s Prince Philip is one of the best parts of The Crown. Despite having been married to the queen for more than 60 years, the early life of the man whose grandson and future king, Prince William described as a “legend” is rather mysterious. This book focuses exclusively on the future Duke of Edinburgh’s young life, before Elizabeth’s coronation, including his mother’s commitment to a psychiatric clinic when he was just nine years old, his turbulent upbringing across Greece, France, Nazi Germany, and Britain, and later his time serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

V&A Publishing
Queen Elizabeth II Portraits by Cecil Beaton (Credit: V&A Publishing)

English photographer, designer, and diarist Cecil Beaton’s collection of stunning photos offers a glamorous glimpse into royal living with accompanying descriptions of how these royal portraits shaped the monarchy’s public image from the 1930s to the late 1960s.

Time Warner Trade Publishing
The Royals by Kitty Kelley (Credit: Time Warner Trade Publishing)

Packed with scandals including marriage dissolutions, affairs, and the ruined lives of regal children, this is a juicy, shocking page-turner — and, most definitely, an unauthorised biography.

Michael O'Mara Books
Wallis in Love by Andrew Morton (Credit: Michael O’Mara Books)

The famed royal biographer has a new book out about Meghan Markle—in this one, he explores the life and love of another unconventional American royal bride: twice-married Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. The decision by King Edward VIII to abdicate his throne for the sake of the woman he loved shocked the world, but all was not as it seemed, as Morton demonstrates in this gripping portrait of a notorious figure.

Allen & Unwin
The Crown: The Inside History by Robert Lacey (Credit: Allen & Unwin)

Royal biographer Robert Lacey adds expert and in-depth detail to the events of Netflix’s original series The Crown. Featuring a combination of evocative historical photos with stills from the show, this is the perfect guide for fans bingeing series 1 and 2 again ahead of the next season.

Who Collector’s Edition (Credit: Who)

For more on the real-life stories behind The Crown, pick up the WHO special collector’s edition, on sale now.

WHO magazine’s new TV podcast, Binge List is your weekly guide to what’s bingeworthy on Australian TV. From streaming, to pay TV, to broadcast, we’ve got it all covered. Join TV aficionados Matthew Denby, Gavin Scott and Clare Rigden as they talk about this week’s must-watch shows. So get comfortable, find the remote and tune in for everything you need to know – and a lot more!

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