Listen here to 3 excerpts from the book read by Geoffrey Palmer and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Each one is 13-14 minutes long.


Selected Works

"Whimsical and wonderful."
jpbos via Amazon.com
"A charmer of a first novel. . . . This Elizabeth is delightful, slyly funny company. You’ll never look at the real one the same way again."
People Magazine
"A fascinating window into an aspect of Jackie Kennedy Onassis that few of us know."
USA Today
"Categorical and convincing."
—The New Yorker
"An engrossing double biography."
—Sunday Times
"A timely contribution to scholarly research on a topic of great interest and fascination."
Journal of Modern History




Henry and Mary Ponsonby were two of the most important people at the court of Queen Victoria. This double biography examines their lives with and without the Queen. His father was a veteran of Waterloo. Her father bankrupted her family by building a too-elaborate country house. They came to serve at a court that was increasingly conservative in its politics as the century went on, but both Ponsonbys were liberal and sometimes radical in their political opinions. The book is based on their correspondence in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle as well as on family papers at Shulbrede Priory.


"One of the curious aspects of the British public's relationship with monarchy has been a consistent mix of veneration and ribaldry, loyalty and laughter. It is heartening to discover in William Kuhn's history of Victorian court life that this affectionate mockery extended right up to Her Majesty's Private Secretary."
—Tristram Hunt, BBC History Magazine


"History writing at its brightest and most bold"
Sunday Telegraph


"An excellent book, instructive as well as highly entertaining, and deserves a literary prize"
The Spectator


"Enthusiastically recommended, [an] intimate portrayal of court life which offers unique insights into the recent history of Great Britain's royal family in general, and the court of Queen Victoria in particular"
Midwest Book Review via Amazon.com