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Beach Read: The Royal We

I have a Monarchy obsession and a weakness for gossipy books. So it stands to reason that eventually I would break down and read The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

Admittedly, when I first came across it I may have rolled my eyes. Even reading the blurb on the book’s jacket (that’s even after looking at the cover, an obvious [and very pretty] homage the Cambridges) one can tell that it’s the Kate Middleton story with some minor changes: Rebecca “Bex” Porter is American, she has a twin sister, she’s an artist studying at Oxford and the princes are Nick and Freddie.

But I got sucked in. I kept hearing good things about it and when I realized that Cocks and Morgan are the geniuses behind Go Fug Yourself…well I gave in. I even bought the hardcover.

royal we

Bex Porter is an exchange student at Oxford, living in a wing of the dorms with a very select group of friends that go way back, one of whom happens to be Prince Nicholas of Wales. Before realizing who he is she drops a joke about his family and syphilis and after that she pretends to play it cool, allowing Nick to feel like a regular guy. He feels a lot of pressure from his father to be a certain way and Bex just lets him watch terrible TV in her room, bingeing on American snacks.

Most of the story follows the Cambridge narrative: they date for an extended period of time under the radar, are outed on a ski trip in Klosters, break up, she parties to make it look like she’s having the time of her┬álife, they get back together, get engaged and so begins the training to be a Princess.

Here’s what I really appreciated about this book: it was just as much about the construct of Monarchy as the ultimate fairy tale (girl meets boy, falls in love, realizes he’s a prince and becomes a princess). Nick is keenly aware of his destiny and his public persona the whole time, the media is a constant shadow over him – everything has to be a certain way. Obviously it’s fiction (for example there’s a whole storyline about Nick’s “Ginger Gigolo” brother Freddie and Bex’s sister that probably has no basis in reality) but there was enough reality to make it almost feel like a behind-the-scenes look.

Despite knowing the milestones of the relationship and even some of the motivations, I found myself completely engrossed in this book. It was smart, funny, and thoroughly entertaining. A great addition to anyone’s beach bag, even if you’re not a real-life Royals fan.