As the whole world welcomes Baby Sussex this week (aren’t Harry and Meghan adorable? they’re simply glowing) I thought it’d be a great opportunity to write about some great “royal romances” I’ve read recently.
We’ll start with RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston. The Kirkus starred review (here) introduces it with “The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut,” and calls it a “A clever, romantic, sexy love story.”
What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic.
The book is written from Alex’s perspective, and the character is young, smart and completely magnetic. We completely understand why the Prince falls in love with him and, thanks to McQuiston’s terrific voice, we feel completely connected to his roller coaster emotions as he realizes he’s in love with a man, but also, the second in line to the English throne. The author’s clever use of emails and texts make the story feel modern and intimate, and the love Alex feels from family and friends that is extended to Henry in ways he’s not used to is only one way the book tackles the many facets of the gay (and bisexual) experience.
A really great read (and listen—thank you St. Martin’s/Macmillan for the audio).
I also loved THE ROYAL RUNAWAY by Lindsay Emory.
A modern-day princess teams up with a spy to find out what happened to the fiancé who left her at the altar. And maybe she’ll get her own fairytale in the process.
Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.
After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place….
Funny, fast-paced, and full of more twists and turns than the castle Thea lives in, The Royal Runaway is a fresh romantic comedy that will leave you cheering for the modern-day royal who chucks the rulebook aside to create her own happily-ever-after.
The book was really fun, and I loved Thea and Nick, her shadowy spy companion. There were a few moments where the plot didn’t quite hold up, but I was okay with it, because I love it when an author does something new and unique, and a princess finally taking the reins of her life and holding her own with a Scottish James Bond meets Special Forces character (who has some aristocratic blood of his own, too).
It’s an entertaining and sexy (though very closed doors) romp—part spy novel, part mystery, part political intrigue, part romance—and definitely worth picking up.
Kirkus agreed, and gave it a star review (here): “This imaginative, absorbing, and empowering story is a must-read.”
Finally, I read A ROYAL ROMANCE by Jenny Frame when it came out a few years ago.
Georgina, Princess of Wales, has always known her destiny, but she never expected duty to call so soon. When her father dies suddenly, she is called back from her Royal Navy post to assume the crown. While the people acclaim their new Queen, Great Britain’s first openly gay monarch, all George feels is the isolation of her station.
Beatrice Elliot’s staunch anti-monarchist views have always been a point of gentle contention with her working class, royalty-loving parents. When Bea—director of a hospice charity—must spend six months working with Queen Georgina, her charity’s new patron, sparks fly and passion blooms. But is love enough to bridge the gap between Bethnal Green and Buckingham Palace?
This was a fun take on the royal romance, and Frame has two more titles in the series, ROYAL REBEL and REBEL COURT, which came out in January and features an female Naval officer and Queen Georgina’s Royal Dresser, Holly Weaver, the self-professed man-eater who begins to question her sexuality when she develops a crush on Captain Quincy and whose exuberant lust for life is the opposite of the good-looking captain’s emotionless personality.
Sounds great to me!
Of course the gold standard for royal romance (for me) is THE ROYAL WE—which you should totally pick up if you haven’t, and I really loved the first two titles of The Montmaray Journals series and definitely hope to get to the 3rd one soon (which never came out in audio).
These were marketed as young adult titles, which might have kept a lot of romance readers from picking them up, but they are the full package, funny, smart and touching, so if you haven’t discovered them, you really should!
So welcome to the world Baby Sussex, and as we wait for more news, here are some very fun reads for us to sink into while we do.
Happy Reading! xo