Behind the Throne

Behind the Throne

A Domestic History of the Royal Household


Behind the Throne is, above all, a history of family life.

They ate, entertained their friends and worried about money. Henry VIII kept tripping over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on the drink bills.

The great difference is that royal families had more help with their lives than most.

Charles I maintained a household of 2,000. Victoria's medical establishment alone consisted of thirty doctors, three dentists and a chiropodist. Even today, Elizabeth II keeps a full-time staff of 1,200.

A royal household was a community, a vast machine. Everyone, from James I's Master of the Horse down to William IV's Assistant Table Decker, was there to smooth the sovereign's path through life while simultaneously confirming their status.

Here, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking you on a remarkable journey, exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads.

Behind the Throne is a true domestic history of the royal household, a reconstruction of life behind the throne.

'The most interesting and informative book on British royalty for many years' Literary Review


  • This is the most interesting and informative book on British royalty for many years.
    Sarah Bradford, Literary Review

About the author

Adrian Tinniswood

Adrian Tinniswood OBE FSA is the author of fifteen books on social and architectural history, including Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the Royal Household; The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars, a New York Timesand Sunday Times bestseller; His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren and The Verneys: a True Story of Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England, which was shortlisted for the BBC/Samuel Johnson Prize. He has worked with a number of heritage organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Trust, and is currently Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Buckingham and Visiting Fellow in Heritage and History at Bath Spa University.
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