American Princess



A behind-the-scenes look into the life of Meghan Markle and her romance with Prince Harry—a dishy, delightful must-read filled with exclusive insights for anyone obsessed with the Royal Family.

When Prince Harry of Wales took his American girlfriend, Meghan Markle, to have tea with his grandmother the queen, avid royal watchers had a hunch that a royal wedding was not far off. That prediction came true on November 27, 2017, when the gorgeous, glamorous twosome announced their engagement to the world. As they prepare to tie the knot in a stunning ceremony on May 19, 2018, that will be unprecedented in royal history, people are clamoring to know more about the beautiful American who captured Prince Harry’s heart.

Born and raised in Los Angeles to a white father of German, English, and Irish descent and an African American mother whose ancestors had been enslaved on a Georgia plantation, Meghan has proudly embraced her biracial heritage. In addition to being a star of the popular television series Suits, she is devoted to her humanitarian work—a passion she shares with Harry. Though Meghan was married once before, Prince Harry is a modern royal, and the Windsors have welcomed her into the tight-knit clan they call “The Firm.” Even a generation ago, it would have been unthinkable, as well as impermissible, for any member of Great Britain’s royal family to consider marrying someone like Meghan. Professional actresses were considered scandalous and barely respectable. And the last time an American divorcee married into the Royal Family, it provoked a constitutional crisis!

In American Princess, Leslie Carroll provides context to Harry and Meghan’s romance by leading readers through centuries of Britain’s rule-breaking royal marriages, as well as the love matches that were never permitted to make it to the altar; followed by a never-before-seen glimpse into the little-known life of the woman bringing the Royal Family into the 21st century; and her dazzling, thoroughly modern romance with Prince Harry.

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Notorious Royal Marriages, revised



In 2018 the e-book format of NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES was reissued, to feature two brand new chapters just in time for the most modern, groundbreaking royal wedding in the history of Britain’s thousand-year-old monarchy!

Ever since the tragic death of Princess Diana in a Paris tunnel in August 1997, royal watchers the world over have hoped for a happily-ever-after for the two young sons she left behind to mourn her. William was fifteen and Harry a twelve-year-old boy on the brink of adolescence. Each coped in his own way and it didn’t always work out so well. Finally, each prince found the perfect wife; both women are commoners, both the same age, both beautiful, intelligent, steady, and loyal; but in many ways Catherine Middleton and Meghan Markle are also worlds apart from each other, in personality and in life experience.

One new chapter focuses on the courtship and marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, their young family, and what the couple has been doing since their glamorous nuptials on April 29, 2011.

The final chapter places the spotlight on Prince Harry and his journey to happiness. He ultimately found his soulmate in another child of divorce—Meghan Markle—a woman who happened to check off many boxes that were once considered absolutely taboo for British royal brides. Three years older than Harry, Meghan is a biracial American divorcee who was educated at a Catholic high school. She has enjoyed a successful career as a professional actress and has secured her bona fides as a humanitarian, working with charities that bring clean water to undeveloped countries, and globally as an outspoken advocate for women’s and girls’ educational and economic rights. This daughter of Southern California may become a duchess, and a true American Princess (titled Princess Henry of Wales); but it’s doubtful one will ever be able to take the beach, the avocados and the yoga out of the woman who will, along with Harry, help make the British monarchy continue to be relevant to a global society in the decades to come.

Readers of the NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES revised e-book will enjoy 20% more new content – material that they will not find in any other of Leslie Carroll’s nonfiction “royal” titles (including AMERICAN PRINCESS), making the 2018 e-book edition of NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES a terrific companion volume to them.

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Notorious Royal Marriages



Everyone loves a royal wedding. Except, perhaps, the bride and groom. Throughout history, most royal marriages were arranged affairs, brokered for diplomatic and dynastic reasons, and often when the prospective spouses were mere children. The perfect royal marriage brought territorial gains to the ruling dynasty’s side (usually the groom’s) and cemented alliances between families and regions. It was of little consequence that the spouses often didn’t meet until their wedding day. Or that they had been in love with someone else and were now compelled to abandon all hope of the personal happiness or emotional fulfillment that might have come from nuptial bliss with another. There is no I in dynasty.

In general, there was always one primary goal of a royal marriage: to beget an heir. And for a good part of the past millennium, when much of Western Europe was embroiled in perpetual warfare, it was believed that only a male heir would be able to defend and hold the throne, although a female could legally inherit the throne in England and Scotland. During more martial eras, royal wives who managed to produce only daughters-Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, for example-were disposed of by their spouse, powerless to challenge his authority. If execution was no longer an option to ending a problematic or infertile marriage, there was always divorce. Napoleon Bonaparte divorced his first wife, Josephine Beauharnais, because she failed to bear him a son.

With so many marriages being little more than dynastic alliances, how did these royals manage to survive their arranged nuptials and make their peace with the world into which they were born? Or did they? Precious few of the notorious royal marriages profiled in this book began as love matches—although they didn’t necessarily stay that way. For several centuries, if things weren’t working out, the monarch might play the all-purpose, get-out-of marriage-free card known as a papal dispensation on the grounds of consanguinity. In other words, plenty of unions were sundered after cousins who had received a dispensation to marry in the first place suddenly decided to become appalled and repulsed by how closely they were related when it became expedient to wed another.

With so many intriguing relationships, choosing whose stories to omit was nearly as difficult as selecting which ones to include. Within this volume are some of the world’s most famous royal unions, as they affected and were affected by the historical and political events of the times; it is not intended to provide an overview of world history, to probe with great depth the wars and revolutions that gripped Europe for centuries, or to present a full biography of the principals.

Comparing the selection of a marriage partner to fishing for an eel—that staple of Renaissance diets-Sir Thomas More’s father commented that it was as if “ye should put your hand into a blind bag full of snakes and eels together, seven snakes for one eel.”

In these pages are the snakes as well as the eels—the disastrous unions and the delightful ones; the martyrs to marriage and the iconoclasts who barely took their vows seriously; the saintly and the suffering; the rebels, and the renegades-all of whom took the phrases “I do” and “I will” and ran as far as they could go with them, exploring and embracing the broad spectrum of passion, power, and possibilities far beyond the royal bedchamber.

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Royal Pains



The author of Notorious Royal Marriages presents some of history’s boldest, baddest, and bawdiest royals.

The bad seeds on the family trees of the most powerful royal houses of Europe often became the most rotten of apples: über-violent autocrats Vlad the Impaler and Ivan the Terrible literally reigned in blood. Lettice Knollys strove to mimic the appearance of her cousin Elizabeth I and even stole her man. And Pauline Bonaparte scandalized her brother Napoleon by having a golden goblet fashioned in the shape of her breast.

Chock-full of shocking scenes, titillating tales, and wildly wicked nobles, Royal Painsis a rollicking compendium of the most infamous, capricious, and insatiable bluebloods of Europe.

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Royal Romances



Elegant palaces, dazzling power plays, shimmering jewels, and the grandest of all-or-nothing gambles—nothing can top real-life love among the royalty. Louis XIV defied God and law, permitting his married mistress, Madame de Montespan, to usurp the role of queen of France, then secretly wed her successor, Madame de Maintenon. Grigory Potemkin was a worthy equal in Catherine the Great’s bed as well as in Russia’s political arena. Dashing Count Axel von Fersen risked everything to save Marie Antoinette’s life more than once—and may have returned her passion. The unshakable devotion of the beloved late “Queen Mum” helped King George VI triumph over his, and England’s, darkest hours. And the unpretentious, timelessly glamorous—even relatable—union of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton continues to enthrall the world.

Full of marvelous tales, unforgettable scandals, and bedazzled nobles who refused to rule their hearts, this delightfully insightful book is what the sweetest royal dreams are made of….

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Inglorious Royal Marriages



Why does it seem that the marriages of so many monarchs are often made in hell? And yet we can’t stop reading about them! To satisfy your schadenfreude, INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES offers a panoply of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history….some of which are mentioned below.

When her monkish husband, England’s Lancastrian Henry VI, became completely catatonic, the unpopular French-born Margaret of Anjou led his army against the troops of their enemy, the Duke of York.

Margaret Tudor, her niece Mary I, and Catherine of Braganza were desperately in love with chronically unfaithful husbands—but at least they weren’t murdered by them, as were two of the Medici princesses.

King Charles II’s beautiful, high-spirited sister “Minette” wed Louis XIV’s younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did.

Compelled by her mother to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumania—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria—emerged as a heroine of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles. Marie’s younger sister Victoria Melita wed two of her first-cousins: both marriages ultimately scandalized the courts of Europe.

Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start.

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The Royals



“Modernization is quite a strong word to use with the monarchy because it’s something that’s been around for many hundreds of years. But I think that it’s important that people feel the monarchy can keep up with them and is relevant to their lives. We are all human, and inevitably mistakes are made. . . .

Prince William, on his 21st birthday, June 21, 2003

The really crucial thing about kingship is that a king or queen must be initiated through a ritual to transform him or her from their ordinary status into something quite extraordinary. All these would-be modernizers of the royal family have got it completely wrong. The more like one of us the king becomes, the less there is any reason for having a king. A king is a symbol, not a person.

Declan Quigley, Social Anthropologist and one of Prince William’s professors at the University of St. Andrews

The English monarchy has managed to survive because of its remarkable ability to find the delicate balance between adaptability and tradition (even if it’s not done voluntarily). And for almost a millennium the British royal family has presented themselves as the pinnacle of civility and sophistication within one of the world’s most refined societies. But England’s royals have always had their share of internal strife and sibling rivalry, murder and mayhem, dalliances and divorces. As the world watched and commented on every misstep and mistake, they have juggled these dynastic disasters while making weighty national decisions and defending the realm. Time has marched on, however. Through the lives and loves of the kings and queens of England, as well as through the stories of some of their rather lively relatives, this book traces the monarchy’s journey from an autocracy to a constitutional model. Today’s monarch reigns but does not rule. She can be found dedicating hospitals, not declaring war.

And yet, despite the crowns and the pageantry, the royals were, and are, ordinary men and women who often found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. They have led anything but normal lives, although some rebelled against the restraints imposed by their birthright, struggling to enjoy what many of their social inferiors took for granted, and others stopped at nothing to keep their stranglehold on the reins of power.

While not every monarch is profiled here, and there are a few “bonus royals” included who were never monarchs or may never ascend the throne, this book features a collection of the most colorful characters in nearly a thousand years of English royal history and the major events that shaped their lives and those of their subjects.

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Scribbling Women



And so, dear reader, I married him.” I’ve written about true love in both fiction and nonfiction, within the royal houses of Europe and among the most famous, notorious names of the past few centuries. But until now, I’ve never told my own story.

It’s one that could have sprung from the pages of a novel.

In Scribbling Women and the Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them, twenty-eight romance fiction writers from diverse subgenres reveal their real-life stories of how they met, wed and love—and are loved and supported by—their spouses and life partners. At times whimsical and laugh-out-loud funny, at others poignant and bittersweet, all unfailingly inspiring, each essay celebrates that most powerful and sacred of human bonds.


Happily Ever After isn’t only the stuff of romance novels and fairy tales. It is every woman’s birthright.

Note: Net sales from Scribbling Women will be donated to Women in Need (, founded February 14, 1983 to empower disadvantaged women and their children in New York City to build positive, independent lives and move forward into brighter futures.

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Royal Affairs



Insatiable kings. Lecherous queens. Kissing Cousins. Wanton consorts.

Welcome to nearly 1,000 years of Naughty Behavior.

Sex and power have always gone hand in glove, and monarchs have been merry throughout history. Nothing can bring down a government-not even high treason-like a good sex scandal. Nowadays people yawn through newspaper accounts of civil warfare, economic downturns, even reports of appalling corporate greed. But give them a juicy sex scandal peppered with high and mighty protagonists, and it’s the first story readers turn to. We can never seem to get enough of them.

Throughout the centuries, royal affairs have engendered substantially more than salacious gossip. Often they have caused bloodshed. For example, Edward II’s homosexual affairs infuriated his barons and alienated his wife, Queen Isabella, who decided to have an extramarital affair of her own. The vicious cycle of adultery, murder, and betrayal resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy, the king’s imprisonment, and quite possibly, his assassination.

The unholy trinity of sex and politics is incomplete without religion. And a study of the extramarital affairs of Great Britain’s royals also ends up chronicling the journey of the realm’s religious history. Henry VIII’s passion for Anne Boleyn culminated not only in their marriage but in a brand-new faith that created a lasting schism with the Church of Rome, and led to hundreds of years of strife and violence among Catholics, Protestants, and Puritans that would have a lasting impact on millions of lives.

And what of the mistresses? During the earlier, and more brutal, eras of British history, a woman didn’t have much (if any) choice if the king exercised his droit de seigneur and decided to take her to bed. Often, girls were little more than adolescents when their ambitious parents shoved them under the monarch’s nose. However, most of the mistresses in Royal Affairs were not innocent victims of a parent’s political agenda or a monarch’s rampaging lust. They were clever, accomplished, often ambitious women, not always in the first bloom of youth and not always baseborn, who cannily parlayed the only thing they had-their bodies-into extravagant wealth and notoriety, if not outright fame. In many cases, their royal bastards were ennobled by the king, making excellent marriages and living far better than their mothers could have otherwise provided. Eventually taking their place in the House of Lords, the mistresses’ illegitimate sons went on to become the decision makers who shaped an empire and spawned the richest and most powerful families in Britain.

Incongruous as it may sound, England’s trajectory from absolute to constitutional monarchy can be traced through the history of its sovereigns’ sex scandals. Rough justice and kangaroo courts once dispatched any dissenters from the royal agenda; when an absolute monarch who ruled by divine right shouted “Off with her head!” it tended to take care of matters.

As time went on, the power of the public, from Parliament to the press, steadily eroded the sovereign’s supremacy, until, by the mid-1930s, King Edward VIII, a constitutional monarch with limited input in the workings of the government, felt compelled to abdicate, believing that the tide of public opinion was against his love match. In fact, suppressed by the media, the very opposite attitude was true.

From Henry II’s blatant disregard of international treaties and alliances in favor of his young French mistress to Edward VIII’s abdication for the woman he loved; from Henry VIII beheading his adulterous wives on Tower Green to Charles and Diana discussing their extramarital infidelities on national television, the world has in fact come a long way. Or has it? In the history of royal scandals is writ the ever-evolving story of our own society.

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