In a year of great uncertainty, we can at least all take solace in the fact that The Crown will undoubtedly serve up a slice of really good television in November. From the gorgeous sets to glamorous fashions, Netflix’s flashy period drama just premiered its most momentous season yet. After all, it’s got Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands War, IRA attacks, and, of course, Lady Diana Spencer.
If you’re dying for more royal goodness after binging the latest season, check out our list of the best audiobooks to dive into for more drama and intrigue. From biographies to historical fiction, you’re bound to find your next perfect cup of royal tea.
Since its premiere in 2016, The Crown has held the title of the most expensive show ever produced by Netflix. Of the whopping $130 million that Netflix invested into the first two seasons, £30,000 (roughly $37,000) alone went into creating an exact replica of one of the most famous gowns in history: Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress.
With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where Queen Elizabeth’s famous wedding gown was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, Robson introduces listeners to three unforgettable heroines whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.
Season four of The Crown introduced viewers to a young Lady Diana Spencer, who, two decades after her death, remains an icon and enigma. Andrew Morton’s blockbuster biography is a must-listen for any Princess Diana aficionados and is as close to an autobiography as we’ll ever get. Written using secret tapes recorded by Diana and Andrew Morton, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words reveals Diana’s unhappy marriage, her relationship with the Queen, her extraordinary life inside the House of Windsor, her hopes, her fears, and her dreams. In this fully revised edition of his groundbreaking biography, Morton considers Diana’s legacy and her relevance to the modern royal family.
Karen Harper’s The Queen’s Secret focuses on a different Queen Elizabeth: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother. As a steely, enduring figure who is resolutely devoted to the crown, the Queen Mother’s role in the show has grown ever more diminished as The Crown chugs forward in time and shifts the focus onto Queen Elizabeth’s children. So, for those who want more of Queen Mum, The Queen’s Secret will be sure to satisfy that craving.
In this riveting novel of royal secrets and intrigue, Karen Harper lifts the veil on one of the world’s most fascinating families, and how its “secret weapon” of a matriarch maneuvered her way through one of the most dangerous chapters of the century.
Scores of books and movies have already been written about Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward abdicated the crown. The banished Duchess of Windsor made appearances in three out of four seasons of the show, but nothing has been said of Thelma Morgan, the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before Wallis. In The Woman Before Wallis, Bryn Turnbull takes readers from the raucous glamour of the Paris Ritz and the French Riviera to the quiet, private corners of St. James’s Palace to tell a sweeping story of love, loyalty, and betrayal.
If you want to switch gears for a more lighthearted royal story, Mrs Queen Takes the Train will absolutely be your cup of tea. William Kuhn draws listeners into a few delightful, fictitious days in the life of a modern monarch.
Queen Elizabeth, now elderly and feeling a bit low, pops down to the stables to check on her horses. Then, in a hoodie borrowed from stable lass Rebecca, the Queen strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun. This lively, wonderfully inventive romp takes listeners into the mind of the grand matriarch of Britain’s Royal Family, bringing us an endearing runaway Queen Elizabeth on the town.
Although Danielle Steel’s Royal isn’t based on any real-life monarchs, it’s got all the heartbreak, drama, and romance to satisfy everyone who’s trying to fill the royal-sized hole left behind by the latest season of The Crown.
As war rages on in the summer of 1943, the King and Queen choose to quietly send their youngest daughter, Princess Charlotte, away to safety to live with a trusted noble family in the country. In time, she settles comfortably into a life out of the spotlight, utterly in the dark about her royal lineage. But, when a stack of hidden letters comes to light, a secret kept for nearly two decades finally surfaces, and a long lost princess emerges.
Revisit the whirlwind life of your favorite royal troublemaker through the eyes of one of her ladies-in-waiting in Georgie Blalock’s The Other Windsor Girl. In dreary post-war Britain, Vera Strathmore, the daughter of an impoverished noble is swept into the fame and notoriety of the royal family and Princess Margaret’s fast-living friends when she is appointed as Margaret’s second lady-in-waiting. Thrust into the center of Margaret’s social and royal life, Vera watches the princess’s affairs unfurl with delicious drama.
From her iconic style to her rebellious spirit, it’s no wonder Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. If you’re dying to learn more about the most talked-about English royal, look no further. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogs, and essays, Craig Brown’s Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.
Fans who were hoping to see the latest Harry and Meghan royal drama play out on screen will be disappointed. The Crown creator Peter Morgan has confirmed the series’s sixth and final season will focus on the administrations of John Major and Tony Blair, the latter of which happened nearly a decade before Harry and Meghan met.
But, fret not! There’s plenty of material to dive into as Harry and Meghan’s saga unfolds. Finding Freedom by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie is the first in-depth and intimate portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s life together. With unique access and written with the participation of those closest to the couple, Finding Freedom reveals why they chose to pursue a more independent path and the reasons behind their unprecedented decision to step away from their royal lives.
Finally, your essential The Crown listening list wouldn’t be complete without Robert Lacey’s official companion book. As the show’s historical consultant, Lacey takes listeners through the real history that inspired the drama. Volume one covers the show’s first season from 1947 to 1955, while volume two covers the second and third seasons from 1956 to 1977. Extensively researched, Lacey’s companion audiobooks offer an in-depth exploration from behind the palace gates.
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