BLURB: “Ambitious and talented people flocked to become courtiers at Kensington Palace in search of power and prestige. But the palace was also full of skullduggery, politicking and secrets – successful courtiers needed level heads and cold hearts. From the Vice Chamberlain with many vies to Peter the Wild Boy, treated by the court as a pet, to the long list of discarded royal mistresses, Worsley throws new light on the dramatic lives of these eighteenth-century royal servants.”
REVIEW: In this book Worsley presents a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the Georgian court during the reigns of George I and George II, the estranged father and son who were far more alike in their rulings than either could ever have imagined. Worsley takes as her focus sixteen courtiers, who can be seen by the public in a beautiful painting by William Kent. This painting rests alongside the grand staircase at Kensington Palace, and depicts numerous figures including George II’s mistress Henrietta Howard, George I’s Turkish servant Mustapha, and the infamous Peter the Wild Boy, who turned up at court one day and found himself an instant sensation. Worsley makes case studies of each of these characters, and each of their individual stories tells us something not only about the Kings they served, but also about how the court was run. To be successful at court, each of these figures explored by Worsley makes their own sacrifices, fearing for their position and in terror of any scandal. This book is hugely entertaining and very informative, and ignited my interest in a great many Georgians that I hadn’t previously heard of or read much about – for example, Henrietta Howard, whom I shall definitely endeavour to learn more about. I would highly recommend this book, and would suggest that it might be particularly useful to someone who has previously not studied much on the Georgian court, as it gives an insight into a wide variety of people and allows us to see what their lives would have been like individually.