Format Hardcover
Publication Date 12/05/23
ISBN 9781639365135
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 304

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Gilded Youth

A History of Growing Up In the Royal Family: From the Plantagenets to the Cambridges

Tom Quinn

A colorful, fascinating look at growing up in the royal family over the centuries, from the Plantagenets and Tudors to the Windsors and Cambridges.

For as long as the British royal family has existed, their children have been brought up in ways that seem bizarre and eccentric to the rest of us—the royal family’s obsession with making their children tough and independent as early as possible, often by delegating their parental duties to staff, goes back centuries.

Gilded Youth looks at centuries of growing up aristocratic and royal—from Edward VII smashing up his schoolroom to Prince Andrew peeing on a stable lad’s shoes; from Princess Margaret putting horse manure in a footman’s pockets to Diana Spencer wearing crop tops, kissing a local village boy, and drinking cider in a bus shelter; from a teenage Prince Harry throwing up in the street to Prince William becoming completely obsessed with doing the right thing regardless of the feelings of his younger brother.

Even Queen Elizabeth herself reacted oddly to her upbringing, becoming in many ways obsessively compulsive—as a child she insisted her shoes should always be positioned in the same place, her lunch set out exactly the same way each day, and that for tea she have jam pennies (small rounds of bread and jam), which she was still eating every afternoon into her nineties.

The younger generation seem to insist they want a normal or ordinary upbringing for their children—because that goes down well with the public—but this is just window dressing. Gilded Youth looks at how, when it comes to their children, the British royal family is still behaving much as they did in the past.

Tom Quinn is the author of several books published in Britain, such as Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan MarkleThe Reluctant Billionaire: The Tragic Life of Gerald GrosvenorMrs Keppel: Mistress to the King; and Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon, the Queen Mother’s Most Devoted Servant among others. He lives in London.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Ever wonder what it was really like growing up in the Royal Family? Tom Quinn has the answer. It's as much about royal parents as is it about royal children. An absolutely fascinating read on the private royal family life." Town & Country
"An eye-opening and deliciously juicy account." PEOPLE magazine
"Biographer Quinn (Kensington Palace) contends in this fleet-footed history that the child-rearing practices of Buckingham Palace have 'hardly changed in centuries.' Incisive character sketches and a dollop of below-stairs gossip add entertainment to this thoughtful, well-documented study. Royal watchers, take note." Publishers Weekly
Praise from Britain for Tom Quinn:
"Brisk and entertainingly damning.” The Observer (London)
“A deliciously, revealing biography.” The Mail on Sunday (London)
“A prolific writer of books that explore England’s history, he uses his expertise to flesh out and bring context to some of the more recent controversies to emerge out of the palace.” Vanity Fair
“A sparkling account of the often very unregal goings-on at the palace. Richly laced with insider gossip, this is behind-the-scenes royal history at its most entertaining.” Jane Shilling, The Daily Mail