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RSH Book Club: 5 royal reads to take on the train

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The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations begin this month, with the Diamond Jubilee Pageant – so get in the mood for a right royal knees-up with the book club.

Read on to discover our top five royal train reads. And, if you’re planning to head off for some Jubilee fun this summer, check out our journey planner for cheap train tickets before you travel.

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant taking place in the grounds of Windsor Castle on 11 – 13 May and the main celebrations kicking off at the beginning of June, it’s time to start getting into the Jubilee spirit – so pick up one of our top five royal literary gems to take with you on your next train journey.

1. Sixty Glorious Years: Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee, 1952-2012 – Victoria Murphy

As the Daily Mirror’s Royal Reporter, Victoria Murphy is in the perfect position to create an insightful and revealing portrait of Her Maj – and she does just that in this beautiful new book.

‘Sixty Glorious Years: Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee, 1952-2012′ may be a little bulkier than your traditional train reading material, but it features more than 300 images from the Daily Mirror’s archives, as well as interviews with people close to the Queen, little-known facts and information documenting the changes in the world during her reign. So it’s sure to keep you occupied until you get to your destination.

2. The Untold Life of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother – Lady Colin Campbell

This new biography of the Queen Mum caused a storm in the run-up to its release last month. Lady Colin Campbell’s controversial claim that the nation’s beloved Queen Mother, who passed away in 2002, was actually the daughter of her family’s French cook, Marguerite Rodiere, was fiercely disputed by other royal experts, including Hugo Vickers, the writer and broadcaster, and author Michael Thornton.

This isn’t the first time that Lady Colin Campbell has caused a ruckus with a royal release. She published two biographies of Diana, Princess of Wales, containing scandalous stories about the princess and her marriage to Prince Charles, both of which infuriated other experts too.

If you want to know what all the fuss is about, pick up a copy to take on your next train trip and see what you think of it.

3. Wallis: The Uncommon Life of the Duchess of Windsor – Greg King

Whether you’re just an incurable romantic or watching ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010) and ‘W.E.’ (2011) made you want to find out more the life of the American divorcee who captured the heart of King Edward VIII, resulting in his decision to abdicate the throne, this is the book for you.

Greg King presents an unbiased view of Wallis Simpson, based on historical documents and interviews with people who knew her, to produce a fascinating account of the facts and the fiction surrounding the woman at the centre of the most famous royal love story in modern British history.

4. The Autobiography of Henry VIII – Margaret George

For a fictional take on royal history, try Margaret George’s historical novel, ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’. You can download the Kindle version from Amazon now and the paperback version is due to be released on May 10 2012.

Interestingly, that’s the same day as Hilary Mantel’s ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ – the long-awaited sequel to the 2009 Man Booker prize-winning Wolf Hall – which also fictionalises the reign of Henry VIII, is scheduled for release, so fans of the Tudor period can compare the two.

Margaret George’s novel, which is written from the King’s point of view, has had rave reviews on sites like Amazon, so it’s a must for anyone planning to indulge in a spot of royal reading this month.

The Queen’s Knickers – Nicholas Allan

If you’re looking for the perfect picture book to keep your little one occupied on the train this month, Nicholas Allan’s ‘The Queen’s Knickers’ is sure to fit the bill. This charming book takes you on a journey into a little girl’s imagination, as she wonders which knickers the Queen will wear on a school visit.

And don’t worry – Her Maj clearly isn’t offended at all this interest in the royal underwear collection. Earlier this year, on the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne, she headed off to Dersingham Infant and Nursery School, where she was greeted by a class of three and four year olds keen to show her the display of decorated royal bloomers that they had made.

Her Maj was clearly amused – although prior to her trip, Buckingham Palace did advise the school that the children didn’t need to ask the Queen what she was wearing that day.

Do you have any royal rail reading recommendations? Are you reading along with us every month? Tweet us and let us know …

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