E.S. Turner is a social historian of satiric inclinations. He has written some irreverent studies of medicine, advertising, courtship and he provides here a light history of life in the English Court from the time of Edward the Confessor to the reign of the present monarch. This is necessarily a selective history being devoted to those phases which marked changes in the realm, in manners, customs, dress, etiquette, food, amusements and in the concept of the monarchy itself. Though significant social changes are recorded in terms of their influence on the monarchy, the book's emphasis remains on the more giddy aspects of court life from the vigor of Norman days, through the embellishments of the medieval court, the resplendence of the Stuarts, the corruption under George III to the skeleton proportions of the court during World War II and the recent criticisms in the press of the present royal family. One thing remains clear. The essential character of civil servants, whether courtiers or bureaucrats, remains unchanged.