The Royal Nanny
Based on a seldom-told true story, this novel is perfect for everyone who is fascinated by Britain’s royal family—a behind the scenes look into the nurseries of little princes and the foibles of big princes.April, 1897: A young nanny arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. She is excited, exhausted—and about to meet royalty. . . .So begins the unforgettable story of Charlotte Bill, who would care for a generation of royals as their parents never could. Neither Charlotte—LaLa, as her charges dub her—nor anyone else can predict that eldest sons David and Bertie will each one day be king. LaLa knows only that these children, and the four who swiftly follow, need her steadfast loyalty and unconditional affection.But the greatest impact on Charlotte’s life is made by a mere bud on the family tree: a misunderstood soul who will one day be known as the Lost Prince. Young Prince John needs all of Lala’s love—the kind of love his parents won’t…or can’t…show him.From Britain’s old wealth to the glittering excesses of Tsarist Russia; from country cottages to royal yachts, and from nursery to ballroom, Charlotte Bill witnesses history. The Royal Nanny is a seamless blend of fact and fiction—an intensely intimate, yet epic tale spanning decades, continents, and divides that only love can cross.

The Royal Nanny Details

TitleThe Royal Nanny
Author
ReleaseJun 21st, 2016
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN-139780062420640
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, European Literature, British Literature, Literature, 19th Century

The Royal Nanny Review

  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    What a treat! I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into the lives of the British Royal family through the eyes of such a wonderful character... Lala. I loved her and am thankful that these children were blessed with such a wonderful caretaker. Everyone, especially Royal watchers, should put this novel at the top of to-read lists... 5 stars.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 A young nanny arrives to be under nurse to the young princes, Bertie, and David. Her name is Charlotte and will soon answer to the name, LaLa a nickname given to her by the young Bertie. Witnessing an act of cruelty she is soon made head nursemaid and will give up her life to care for this young royal family. A family that will add, Mary, George, Harry and John.This really happened, although of course the conversations, the dialogue is not known. A good hard look at these young lives, the ro 3.5 A young nanny arrives to be under nurse to the young princes, Bertie, and David. Her name is Charlotte and will soon answer to the name, LaLa a nickname given to her by the young Bertie. Witnessing an act of cruelty she is soon made head nursemaid and will give up her life to care for this young royal family. A family that will add, Mary, George, Harry and John.This really happened, although of course the conversations, the dialogue is not known. A good hard look at these young lives, the royal residences, their parents, grandparents, the furnishings, the ceremonies, the many things and lessons it took to be royal. Anyone interested in Britain's royalty will find much to like here in this behind the scenes look. These royal personages were so lucky to be raised by so many caring nursemaids, teachers and servants. It didn't start out that way. Loved the end where Charlotte in now in her eighties, looking back, updating the reader on her charges. She gave up so much, her own romance, her own children, so much love, and so much heartache. She experienced it all. I realized reading this how little I actually know about England's rulers after Charles the second. Never even knew of Johnny existence, the poor young royal they call the Lost prince.ARC from publisher.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....I requested a review copy of Karen Harper’s The Royal Nanny with half-hearted curiosity. I had a vague historic interest in George V and his family, but I can’t say I was chomping at the bit to experience a fictional account of Prince John and his beloved nurse, Charlotte Bill. In retrospect, this lack of enthusiasm is rather embarrassing as it represents a severe understatement of both author and subject matter, but it is s Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....I requested a review copy of Karen Harper’s The Royal Nanny with half-hearted curiosity. I had a vague historic interest in George V and his family, but I can’t say I was chomping at the bit to experience a fictional account of Prince John and his beloved nurse, Charlotte Bill. In retrospect, this lack of enthusiasm is rather embarrassing as it represents a severe understatement of both author and subject matter, but it is something I gladly cop to in order to emphasize how profoundly impressed I was on completing the narrative. Harper’s pen bewitched my imagination in such a way that even now, weeks after completing The Royal Nanny, I find myself at a loss for words. I’m a picky reader and there are a few things I’d have loved to see Harper elaborate on over the course of this story, but those details are so insignificant that they don’t bear mentioning. At the end of the day, my wants stem from a desire for more time with certain members of Harper’s cast and I don’t feel it appropriate to criticize when the root cause of my comments is in fact adoration and praise. Charlotte proved a charmingly endearing heroine in my eyes. She isn’t particularly complex in terms of disposition and temperament, but her internal struggles and personal relationships are so intimately drawn that it’s hard not to be moved by her experiences. There is an authenticity in her character that pulls at the heartstrings and despite knowing how events would unfold, I often found myself lost in both her joys and sorrows. Society has changed a lot in the last hundred years, but the intensely personal ramifications of her career choices felt relevant even by contemporary standards. Charlotte could not have everything she wanted in life and watching her accept that reality and find her own happiness despite that which life denied her was truly inspiring.The children themselves added another layer of depth to novel. Harper took great care to depict each in a way that would complement their real life experiences and I loved how her attention to detail manifested itself through her adolescent cast. I often found myself exasperated with Edward, sympathetic toward Albert, and delighted with Mary. Henry and George play smaller roles, but the moments they share with Charlotte also hint at the trials their historical counterparts faced as adults. John’s relationship with Charlotte is different, but appropriately so. In many ways John was her child and I felt the shift seen in narrative as he grows fitting in light of the situation and circumstances of the life they shared. My favorite element of the story, however, was Chad. He wasn’t a character I’d anticipated and his role caught me entirely off guard. I worried about his relevance in the early chapters, but soon realized his importance and admire how Harper used him to round out and challenge Charlotte throughout the story. He’s the perfect counterbalance and I think he brings out something in Charlotte that is often overlooked when examining her legacy and involvement with the royal family. At the end of the day, I can’t recommend The Royal Nanny highly enough. Author Sandra Byrd dubbed it compulsively page-turning and I couldn’t agree more. It is a brilliant illuminating novel that affords exceptional insight to the world of Britain’s monarchs, their children, and their staff.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Based upon real people and events of the time, the novel centers around the Royal children of the Duke and Duchess of York. Charlotte Bill, affectionately known by the children as "Lala", is hired to be an assistant nursemaid. When it is discovered that the boy's are being abused by the current nursemaid, she is quickly elevated to the head position. Her first charges were David and Bertie, who grow up to be King Edward VIII and King George the VI, who became king after King Edward VIII abdicate Based upon real people and events of the time, the novel centers around the Royal children of the Duke and Duchess of York. Charlotte Bill, affectionately known by the children as "Lala", is hired to be an assistant nursemaid. When it is discovered that the boy's are being abused by the current nursemaid, she is quickly elevated to the head position. Her first charges were David and Bertie, who grow up to be King Edward VIII and King George the VI, who became king after King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson. The Duke and Duchess went on to have four more children, one girl and three more boys. The last of the children, Johnnie, was weak at birth. Though he found a special place in Charlotte's heart, Johnnie had epileptic seizures, and likely was somewhere on the autism spectrum, although nothing was known of this at the time. Caring for the children also meant that Charlotte must be completely devoted to the children, denying herself the opportunity for marriage and a family of her own. Told through the viewpoint of Charlotte, there is an intimate feeling of being in the grand settings, and sensing the great responsibility of caring for a future monarch.If you enjoy historical fiction about the Royal family, and are mourning the ending of Downton Abbey, this might be a book for you.
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  • MAP
    January 1, 1970
    For those of you who have seen the King's Speech, you know the historical figures of Bertie (George VI), his older brother David, and their parents, King George V and Queen Mary. For those paying close attention, you may remember Lionel Logue asking about Bertie's youngest brother, Johnnie, who died at a young age. This novel ostensibly gives a closer look at Johnnie's life through the eyes of his nanny, Charlotte Bill, or "Mrs. Lala."It was....ok. Certainly most of the people in this book, incl For those of you who have seen the King's Speech, you know the historical figures of Bertie (George VI), his older brother David, and their parents, King George V and Queen Mary. For those paying close attention, you may remember Lionel Logue asking about Bertie's youngest brother, Johnnie, who died at a young age. This novel ostensibly gives a closer look at Johnnie's life through the eyes of his nanny, Charlotte Bill, or "Mrs. Lala."It was....ok. Certainly most of the people in this book, including Mrs. Lala, are real people. So Harper chose to write a historical novel through the eyes of this actual person who started out as a nanny to all the royal children and then primarily took care of Johnnie as people realized he was having difficulties with seizures. I enjoyed the pieces that tried to piece together the probable home life of the royal family and how servants such as Lala could get caught in the middle of those things. She tried to capture the personalities of the different children, although how accurate they are, I can't tell.But there were some serious flaws I just couldn't get past. First, and probably least flawed, is that we are well over 100 pages in before Johnnie is born, so even though her care of him is the central plot of the book, it takes a LONG time to get off the ground.Second, CHAD REAVER. Dammit Chad! Chad Reaver is NOT a real historical figure; Harper mentions his character is an amalgamation of 2 people. It shows. Harper writes this forbidden romance between Reaver and Mrs. Lala and it is the most irritating, shallow, annoying, distracting thing about this book. Every time I was getting into the plot CHAD REAVER showed back up and a piece of me died. In this book, Lala meets Reaver early on in her time there, and - telling not showing - exposits how much they love each other and very quickly has him propose, her decline, and DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA. Then he pops back up to add some "spice" to the plot at seemingly pointless intervals. This bothers me for a lot of reasons. One - you chose to write a book around this real person. If they're actual, non-romance including life was not good enough for you and you feel the need to spice it up with some fake forbidden love, PICK SOMEONE ELSE TO WRITE ABOUT. It also bothers me in a more general sense because I never pick up historical fiction with women protagonists that doesn't have some shoehorned romance plot included, as if women can't be whole people without some sort of WUV in their life. Ugh.Also, Chad himself was legitimately the worst. He was whiny and mean and sulky and a big fat cheater and how dare the author try to present him as someone I was supposed to like. YOU ARE THE WORST, CHAD.The parts of this book based on reality are really quite good. But she mixes it in with her own fantasy love life for Lala that really detracts from the whole. If you are really interested in this often unwritten about era in British royal history, it might be worth pushing through. But it's not a solid enough novel on its own.2.5 stars
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    I wish the author hadn't felt compelled to invent the love interest. The book dragged a bit but I did find the nanny/child relationship as well as the nanny/family (parents and grandparents) to be really interesting. I think I'd have preferred to have read a book that looked at that more closely. If there wasn't sufficient material on Charlotte Bill, then comparing the royal household against other upper class/aristocratic households might have been a way to go. As it was, the material really wa I wish the author hadn't felt compelled to invent the love interest. The book dragged a bit but I did find the nanny/child relationship as well as the nanny/family (parents and grandparents) to be really interesting. I think I'd have preferred to have read a book that looked at that more closely. If there wasn't sufficient material on Charlotte Bill, then comparing the royal household against other upper class/aristocratic households might have been a way to go. As it was, the material really wasn't sufficient for a 357 page book. Better to have cut 75 pages and pick up the pace. I thought I was going to be reading something a little closer to non-fiction so I was a bit disappointed. The best part was the author's notes. I suppose you could skip to the back of the book and just read those.
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  • Saturday's Child
    January 1, 1970
    I almost gave this 4 stars however I found that the romance side of the plot annoyed me, other than that I found it entertaining and worth a read.
  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    I read The Royal Nanny after I started to watch Netflix tv-series The Crown. I also, years ago, watch The Lost Prince about Prince John and now I want to rewatch it after reading this book. This book was really fantastic and I'm glad that I took the time to read it. One thing that really struck me about this book was what a fantastic life Charlotte Bill had. Sure, not an easy life, with sacrifices and lot of sadness. But, she lived through a time of changes, world wars, kings, and queens, and sh I read The Royal Nanny after I started to watch Netflix tv-series The Crown. I also, years ago, watch The Lost Prince about Prince John and now I want to rewatch it after reading this book. This book was really fantastic and I'm glad that I took the time to read it. One thing that really struck me about this book was what a fantastic life Charlotte Bill had. Sure, not an easy life, with sacrifices and lot of sadness. But, she lived through a time of changes, world wars, kings, and queens, and she saw it all. Reading this book made me wonder how much was true and how much was added to the story. Charlotte's "love story" with Chad, a very platonic relationship I might add (since working for the royal family as nanny prohibited marriage) felt like the thing that was added to make the story a bit more tragic & romantic. At first, I did not really find myself enjoying that angle, but as the story progressed did I find myself more and more enjoying their story. Who knows, Charlotte was young once, and giving up the idea of a marriage life to take care of other people's children can't have been an easy decision. I think Karen Harper has written a superb book about a woman who gave up her life to take care of six children, two that would later one become Kings. One thing towards the end that really made me think was Charlotte's thought about David, when he was old and not King anymore, how he never managed to get over how his previous nanny had treated him, and after that, how he spent his whole life being attracted to the same dominated kind of women until he married one. Interesting...I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!
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  • Penmouse
    January 1, 1970
    The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper is a deeply moving book that tells the fictional tale, based on historic fact about Miss Charlotte Bill, called Lala by her charges. Lala was hired as an undernurse to work for the Duke and Duchess of York. Lala was charged with caring for the little princes David and Bertie. Later she would care for Prince John whose story is the heart of this book. John or Johnnie was the lost prince (and I did see a movie about Johnnie by that name) who time almost forgot.The R The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper is a deeply moving book that tells the fictional tale, based on historic fact about Miss Charlotte Bill, called Lala by her charges. Lala was hired as an undernurse to work for the Duke and Duchess of York. Lala was charged with caring for the little princes David and Bertie. Later she would care for Prince John whose story is the heart of this book. John or Johnnie was the lost prince (and I did see a movie about Johnnie by that name) who time almost forgot.The Royal Nanny also features a love story as Lala falls in love with a Chad Reaver. Reaver works at the royal estate. Their romance is beset with difficulties as Lala loves caring for her royal charges and would probably have to leave the royal children she loves, if she marries. Lala wants to remain in her position making the possibility of marriage almost impossible.Throughout the novel Lala and Chad's romance is interspersed with Lala's travels with the royal family, her day-to-day caring for the royal children, and finally the marriage proposal that did not quite go as planned.Lala later almost marries Chad but fate intervenes once again.In the end, Johnnie dies after having a strong epileptic seizure. Throughout the book you will read about the luxurious royal life and learn to love (and sometimes dislike) the royal characters found in her book. You will also get a birds eye view of what royal life may have been like during the late 1800s to early 1900s.Recommend.Review written after downloading a galley from Edelweiss.
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  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    Historical fiction can be amazing, plodding, or middle of the road. This one falls into the middle of the road section. It told the story of the Royal Nanny to the children of George V, one of whom would go on to abdicate the throne, and another of whom would become the reluctant George VI.While the story starts out with these two eldest children, the main focus was on the younger children, especially the youngest son who had some serious health problems from birth. The story is told as if the N Historical fiction can be amazing, plodding, or middle of the road. This one falls into the middle of the road section. It told the story of the Royal Nanny to the children of George V, one of whom would go on to abdicate the throne, and another of whom would become the reluctant George VI.While the story starts out with these two eldest children, the main focus was on the younger children, especially the youngest son who had some serious health problems from birth. The story is told as if the Nanny is the most selfless individual ever - I would have preferred someone more flawed. The author did create a romance for her, but it actually hindered any attempts at humanizing her. I found the personalities of the Royals much more interesting than the personality of the Nanny and would probably have preferred a well written non fiction book a bit more. But for me I learned a lot about Edward VII and George V as post-Victorian, pre-WW II British history was an era I did not know much about.
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  • Gaile
    January 1, 1970
    LaLa is not her real name but when she comes to be nanny to the royal children in 1897, that is what they call her. Princess May doesn't like being pregnant and is not a good mother. The royal custom of seeing her children for half an hour each day is usually about fifteen minutes as the Prince Of Wales has a short fuse. It is Lala who discover that the heir (David) is being abused by the head nanny, a woman who when sent away soon descends into madness. David and his brothers are all sent away LaLa is not her real name but when she comes to be nanny to the royal children in 1897, that is what they call her. Princess May doesn't like being pregnant and is not a good mother. The royal custom of seeing her children for half an hour each day is usually about fifteen minutes as the Prince Of Wales has a short fuse. It is Lala who discover that the heir (David) is being abused by the head nanny, a woman who when sent away soon descends into madness. David and his brothers are all sent away to Naval academies except the youngest, Prince John. This baby becomes dear to Lala's heart but nothing can be done to cure his epilepsy and general poor health. Meanwhile Lala falls in love but refuses to marry as she can't leave Prince John. Seeped in history with Lala regretting her choice but feeling she has no other choice, I found this novel absorbing.
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  • Amanda McGill
    January 1, 1970
    For full review - The Limit of Books Does Not ExistI didn’t plan it this way, but I picked the perfect week to read The Royal Nanny since there is a new royal baby! I’m not a huge fan of the Royals, but I really enjoy learning about the history since I know very little! Honestly, the furthest back of the Royals that I knew previously was about King George VI and that’s because of the Netflix show, the Crown!The Royal Nanny is about a young woman, Charlotte, who in 1897 begins looking after Queen For full review - The Limit of Books Does Not ExistI didn’t plan it this way, but I picked the perfect week to read The Royal Nanny since there is a new royal baby! I’m not a huge fan of the Royals, but I really enjoy learning about the history since I know very little! Honestly, the furthest back of the Royals that I knew previously was about King George VI and that’s because of the Netflix show, the Crown!The Royal Nanny is about a young woman, Charlotte, who in 1897 begins looking after Queen Victoria’s great-grandchildren, David and Bertie, who later become King Edward VIII and King George VI. We see the journey that Charlotte (called Lala by David and Bertie) goes on raising the royal children. She later develops a strong bond with the youngest child of King George V and Queen Mary, Prince John who is later known as the Lost Prince. I mostly enjoyed The Royal Nanny. Like I mentioned, I don’t know too much about that time period and I found that I learned so much, without it being too difficult or overwhelming. It was interesting to learn how the Royalty interacted and how dependant they are on the nannies to raise their children.The one part that I couldn’t stand was the love interest of Chad for Charlotte and the reason why I’m giving the novel a lower rating. I didn’t like Chad and I felt like I was getting interrupted by their relationship when I really wanted to read about Lala and the children!I read in another review on Goodreads that the author just added Chad as a love interest, even though he was never a real historical figure. That annoys me so much. He wasn’t needed in the story. The readers can see what a loving, devoted person Charlotte was with the children and how she dedicated her life for those children, especially Johnnie whom she adored and even fought the King over!I would recommend this for anyone who is interested in the Royals or even a fan of history!
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Charlotte "Lala" Bill arrives at Sandringham eager to begin as an assistant to the royals' head nurse. But when she witnesses the young boys' abuse at the hands of this nurse, she takes matters into her own hands, and forever shapes the landscape of royal nurses and nannies. As she raises each of the children, wondering what she'll do when the youngest will age out of the nursery and enter the schoolroom, one last royal is born: Prince Johnny, a misunderstood soul and young boy with epilepsy. He Charlotte "Lala" Bill arrives at Sandringham eager to begin as an assistant to the royals' head nurse. But when she witnesses the young boys' abuse at the hands of this nurse, she takes matters into her own hands, and forever shapes the landscape of royal nurses and nannies. As she raises each of the children, wondering what she'll do when the youngest will age out of the nursery and enter the schoolroom, one last royal is born: Prince Johnny, a misunderstood soul and young boy with epilepsy. He's hidden from view of the public, and the family rarely witnesses his epileptic attacks, but it's Lala's steadfast love and determined devotion that unites the family during a tumultuous time in history.This novel really pulled at my heartstrings. Watching David and Bertie grow up and experience the reign of three different monarchs (great-grandmother Queen Victoria, grandfather Edward VII, father George V) as well as the other children's interactions with their royal cousins (specifically the Romanovs), witnessing all the changes in history at the turn of the century (electricity, cars, planes, WWI), was fascinating in and of itself. Some of the dialogue felt a little forced, but it was to give the reader a sense of the passage of time with regard to meaningful events. And, admittedly, I was more curious about David and Bertie, the two kings pre-WWII and all the drama surrounding abdicating the throne. However, Harper wrote a very engaging narrative that made me care more than I ever thought I would about little John, the lost prince. His story is the epitome of the sad, bleak reality of royal children prior to his birth. Royals were presented to their parents for a few minutes each day! Lala changed that. Lala gave these children the love and attention they deserved, especially since their parents could not or would not. And she made a taboo illness a discussable topic, embracing and facing adversity head on instead of brushing it under the rug.  The writing is intimate, revealing the hidden history behind the events of WWI and the deep family connections within.Toss in the upstairs-downstairs point of view of the royal nanny who shaped the kind of nannies royalty seek today, and you're in for a treat. Fans of King's Speech and Downton Abbey, royal history buffs, and anyone who loves reading books with family dynamic focus would thoroughly enjoy this novel.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Probably more like 3.5. Loved the historical aspects of the book related to the British monarchy but got a little annoyed with the main character and her love interest.
  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    If you are one of the many people who love seeing photos of the young Prince George and Princess Charlotte on your Facebook page or when you see William and Kate and their beautiful children on the cover of People magazine must buy it, then Karen Harper's new novel, The Royal Nanny, is for you.Harper based her historical novel on the true story of Charlotte Bill, the royal nanny to the children of the Duke and Duchess of York, who eventually became King George V and Queen Mary, grandparents to t If you are one of the many people who love seeing photos of the young Prince George and Princess Charlotte on your Facebook page or when you see William and Kate and their beautiful children on the cover of People magazine must buy it, then Karen Harper's new novel, The Royal Nanny, is for you.Harper based her historical novel on the true story of Charlotte Bill, the royal nanny to the children of the Duke and Duchess of York, who eventually became King George V and Queen Mary, grandparents to today's reining British monarch, Queen Elizabeth.The children called Charlotte Lala, and she came to the family as an assistant to the main nanny, until Lala discovered that she had been mistreating David and Bertie, who would one day go one to become King Edward VIII, best known as the man who abdicated the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and King George VI, whom we know best from Colin Firth's portrayal of him in the Oscar-winning movie, The King's Speech.Lala was devoted to her charges, including four more born after the boys. When the Duchess was giving birth to a baby named John, she had a very difficult birth and feared that she wouldn't live through the birth. She begged Lala to promise to always care for the baby and Lala agreed.Lala became very attached to baby Johnnie, and as he grew, John appeared to be different from the other children. He had trouble sitting still, and he was slow to learn. Today, we would probably place him somewhere on the autism spectrum.As Johnnie got older, he began to have seizures. These seizures frightened everyone, and doctors recommended that John be sent away to be cared for. But Lala would not allow that to happen. She appealed to the Duke and Duchess, and promised that she would care for John herself. Eventually, John and Lala were moved from the family home to a smaller home nearby, where Lala cared for him.Lala gave up her entire life to care for the children, never marrying. She had feelings for Chad, a young man who worked on the family estate, but her sense of duty got in the way of her happiness.Fans of Downton Abbey will love The Royal Nanny. You get such a sense of what life was like as a servant and as child in a royal household. History fans will enjoy it too, as we see David and Bertie's childhood lives, and how they grew up into the men they became.Harper has some interesting insight into why David would marry Wallis Simpson and abdicate, she believes that he was attracted to women who dominated him.In what could have been stock portrayals of real people, Harper brings out their humanity. The Duke loved his son Johnnie, and was torn about sending him away to avoid a scandal. The King and Queen are shown to be particularly fond of their grandchildren, just like every other grandparent. The King plays games with melting pats of butter and the Queen shares her love of small glass animal figurines with her grandchildren.I found the relationships among the royals and their extended family members who ruled in Germany and especially Russia intriguing. We tend to forget that the Windsor family had such close ties to the rest of Europe and how that affected them during times of war.The Royal Nanny is an utterly fascinating fictional look at a real historical character, and Anglophiles will want to put this one on their TBR list. I highly recommend it, and I'll be looking for more information on the real Charlotte Bill.
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  • Connie Fischer
    January 1, 1970
    London - 1897Miss Charlotte Bill, age 22, has just been hired to be under nurse to the royal family at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate. She is to care for David and Bertie, the two sons of the Duke and Duchess of York. The head nurse is Mrs. Mary Peters. The boys are taken by their nurse to visit with their parents each day at 4:00 PM, when their parents are in residence. David cries a lot when he sees his parents which ends up with them sending him away with his nurse. Bertie is very thi London - 1897Miss Charlotte Bill, age 22, has just been hired to be under nurse to the royal family at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate. She is to care for David and Bertie, the two sons of the Duke and Duchess of York. The head nurse is Mrs. Mary Peters. The boys are taken by their nurse to visit with their parents each day at 4:00 PM, when their parents are in residence. David cries a lot when he sees his parents which ends up with them sending him away with his nurse. Bertie is very thin and always hungry. When Charlotte catches Mrs. Peters spanking David, she is shocked. The nurse wants David’s love only for her which is why she pinches him before he is to visit with his parents making him cry. The woman is deemed deranged and sent away. Charlotte then becomes head nurse and the children nickname her LaLa.Soon, Baby Mary is born, followed a few years later by Baby Harry. The children all love Lala and she adores them dedicating her life to them.Charlotte becomes friends with Chad who works on the estate. He proposes to her, but she refuses him because she feels her charges need her. Soon, the Duke and Duchess decide that David and Bertie have a man named Finch to come in and take over some of their care and studies. Bertie’s father always berated him which made the child stutter. This is a problem that followed him all of his life.Later, Baby George is born followed by the last child, Baby Johnnie. Johnnie’s birth was a very difficult one and for quite awhile he had breathing problems. Charlotte is very drawn to this child and considers him hers. When he starts having seizures, the family feels he needs to be hidden away. So, Charlotte and Johnnie live quietly in a cottage on the estate.This is a wonderful novel that follows the royal family for 60 years. It’s a depiction of the family life of the royals as seen from the inside. I have always been fascinated with the history of the English royal family but have not read much about this particular time period in the family. I learned a lot and will remember this terrific story for a long time to come.Copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
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  • MissSusie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book, I know I had heard of Lala before, I believe it was in The Kings Speech so it was neat to see this family from her perspective.Of course we all know who David and Bertie are but there were a few royals I knew nothing about not only Prince John or Johnnie as he was known but I also knew very little about Queen Alexandra and King Edward so this was a very interesting glimpse into their lives and the lives of their family.Charlotte Bill or Lala as the boys dubbed her cam I really enjoyed this book, I know I had heard of Lala before, I believe it was in The Kings Speech so it was neat to see this family from her perspective.Of course we all know who David and Bertie are but there were a few royals I knew nothing about not only Prince John or Johnnie as he was known but I also knew very little about Queen Alexandra and King Edward so this was a very interesting glimpse into their lives and the lives of their family.Charlotte Bill or Lala as the boys dubbed her came to the household at a very opportune time and was able to save the boys from a nanny that wasn’t good to them at all. She became indispensable to the family and helped David & Bertie immensely in recovering from the trauma. Lala stayed with the family through 3 more children and until the all the children had grown she took special care of Johnnie who had epilepsy and possibly was somewhere on the autism spectrum, and in that day and age that he wasn’t carted away after his first seizure says so much about the wonderful Lala and the care she gave these children.This was such an interesting look at the Windsor’s home life from 2 kings before Bertie and the mess with David, I found it interesting that David even as a boy had no interest in being King and was a womanizer even during the 1st World War. When he was barely 21. Also since the majority of this book takes place before 1918 there were royal visits from their cousins the Tsar & Tsarina and their beautiful girls and even little Alexey it was sad because of knowing what happens to them.I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end and thought the author did a great job of combining the fiction with the real and melding them into a great story. This is my first book by this author and I would definitely read another historical fiction by her.4 Stars
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  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating insights into the lives of the children of the "royals" and the strong bond with their nanny's and other hired help. Service to the royals meant giving up one's own life and aspirations especially to "Lala". Touching, moving, surprising and most interesting read.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    This novel filled in a time period in British history about which I previously knew very little. After Victoria and before King David's abdication to marry "that woman" as the Royal Family thereafter referred to Wallis Simpson, is an era with which I've had limited dealings. The title refers to the nanny to both "David," who became King Edward who abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, as well as his successor, the future King George, Elizabeth II's father. I was surprised to learn they had both a s This novel filled in a time period in British history about which I previously knew very little. After Victoria and before King David's abdication to marry "that woman" as the Royal Family thereafter referred to Wallis Simpson, is an era with which I've had limited dealings. The title refers to the nanny to both "David," who became King Edward who abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, as well as his successor, the future King George, Elizabeth II's father. I was surprised to learn they had both a sister as well as a brother, the latter dying before reaching adulthood. Behind the palace doors is a world I've always found fascinating. That the royals of the time devoted so little attention to the hiring of help that essentially raised their children is mind boggling to me. I'm guessing the phrase, "the hand that rocks the cradle..." about the influence of early caregivers on children and eventually the world, had not yet become known or appreciated. Harper did an excellent job of pulling in historical events including Teddy Roosevelt's brief time with the family and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany as well as the Windsor's visiting cousins, Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia and their children. Tying all of those historical people and events together was an enjoyable process for me. I knew Nicholas of Russia and the British king were 1st cousins and had seen picture of them together that made them look more like twins separated at birth, but I never considered the fact that the remote Russian Tsar and his family actually spoke fluent English and visited England. In retrospect, it only makes sense since Queen Victoria's children married into both royal and aristocratic families all over Europe.I have read other books by Karen Harper that kept me much more engaged. She was obviously limited on the content in order to keep it historically accurate. Perfectly enjoyable as well as eye opening in the fact that the ruling royals were all related, but not as compelling as other selections of hers. Really more of a 3.5 star read. I am pretty stingy with my star ratings.
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  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    This book, although marked as historical fiction, is based on a true story.The book begins in the late 1890's, when a young woman, Charlotte Bill, is traveling to the home of royalty where she will be an aide to the current nanny. On the way, the driver the royals sent to greet her at the train station tells her of the good life at the estate. However, when she tells him she is to be working under the present nanny, his face clouds over for a moment - a harbinger of things to come.Although the y This book, although marked as historical fiction, is based on a true story.The book begins in the late 1890's, when a young woman, Charlotte Bill, is traveling to the home of royalty where she will be an aide to the current nanny. On the way, the driver the royals sent to greet her at the train station tells her of the good life at the estate. However, when she tells him she is to be working under the present nanny, his face clouds over for a moment - a harbinger of things to come.Although the young woman comes from little means and expects the home to be grand, nothing can prepare her for her first glimps of Sandringham. It is grand beyond her wildest dreams. It is here she will be introduced to the Duke and Duchess of York, and their two young boys who will be her charges. Upon meeting the boys, she knows right away something is amiss. Observing them, and how people react to the current nanny (with fear) "LaLa" as the children calls her, Charlotte is the first to speak out and bring to light the abuse the boys are suffering at the hands of their mentally ill nanny. The other servants are also extremely afraid of the violent and volitile nanny. Luckily for her, she is believed, and the nanny is sent packing. Charlotte is left to pick up the bits and pieces of the shattered hearts of the boys, and if that's not enough, the Duchess has given birth to a baby girl, who is also in her care.Eventually, LaLa becomes the mother the children really do not have, as the royal family does not exactly shower them with love, including a son who will be called "The Lost Prince" (Prince John) who needs the most love of all.
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  • Lois
    January 1, 1970
    Superior historical fiction. I am a dyed in the wool Anglophile and this story was new to me. It covers the royal nanny in charge of six children in the royal family. It begins in 1897 when Charlotte Bill arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. Her charges dub her LaLa . Eldest sons David and Bertie would each one day be king. One child touches her soul, Prince John, known as the Lost Prince. The book is a fascinating portrait of the life of royal children and t Superior historical fiction. I am a dyed in the wool Anglophile and this story was new to me. It covers the royal nanny in charge of six children in the royal family. It begins in 1897 when Charlotte Bill arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. Her charges dub her LaLa . Eldest sons David and Bertie would each one day be king. One child touches her soul, Prince John, known as the Lost Prince. The book is a fascinating portrait of the life of royal children and the crucial role their nannies play in the lives. The book is a seamless blend of fact and fiction, spanning decades and continents.
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  • Ericka Lanier
    January 1, 1970
    First book I've read of Karen Harper. I tend to enjoy historical fiction, especially when great liberties are NOT taken. I am a childcare provider, of eleven years, so I have a different view than some of the inner workings of raising children. The respect I have for women in this type of role is incredible; to raise children as your own, only to know they are never yours. This book spoke to my heart for so many reasons. It was EXACTLY what I needed right now; many selfless acts by one extraordi First book I've read of Karen Harper. I tend to enjoy historical fiction, especially when great liberties are NOT taken. I am a childcare provider, of eleven years, so I have a different view than some of the inner workings of raising children. The respect I have for women in this type of role is incredible; to raise children as your own, only to know they are never yours. This book spoke to my heart for so many reasons. It was EXACTLY what I needed right now; many selfless acts by one extraordinary woman in her ordinary life.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    It was a little slow at times, but sweet and a little sad. The main story was of Charlotte Bill and her royal charges, most beloved was the youngest, Johnny, who suffered from epilepsy and developmental delays. There is a very mild love interest which tries hard to be star-crossed lovers, but feels more like something her editor told her she needed to add in because the nanny story wasn’t enough to make a book. The whole book is so formal, yet the nanny is making out with a married man and stati It was a little slow at times, but sweet and a little sad. The main story was of Charlotte Bill and her royal charges, most beloved was the youngest, Johnny, who suffered from epilepsy and developmental delays. There is a very mild love interest which tries hard to be star-crossed lovers, but feels more like something her editor told her she needed to add in because the nanny story wasn’t enough to make a book. The whole book is so formal, yet the nanny is making out with a married man and stating that they were kissing with open mouths using their tongues. It was a little jarring given the tone of the rest of the book.I enjoyed the book, but I think you really need to like inside looks into royal life.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Great book! It was a quick, easy read but then I ended up doing additional reading on the real life nanny, Charlotte Bill. Though some of the story is fictionalized, it is based on real people and true scenarios. An interesting look into the life of the royal family; I will miss reading about them!
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Loved reading about the royal nanny and the young royals in her care. I kept stopping to look up the history of the family and the people that were mentioned. Would love to read more like this. I never knew so many of these royal families were related.
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  • Lynda Brown
    January 1, 1970
    I love reading about English history. This was part of history I didn't know much about. Was interesting hearing about inside the royal family. Good book
  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. It was fascinating reading about the early lives of the royal children. Very interesting that it is faction and characters like Mrs Lala did exist. I never knew about Prince John either.
  • Sarah Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Charlotte Bill is still a young nanny when she arrives at Sandringham, home to the Duke and Duchess of York. She begins caring for young David, Bertie, and their new little sister and is soon made the head nurse. As the family grows to include three more royal sons, Charlotte, known by her charges as Lala, cares and loves them as their own. Her unique position gives her access to royalty and prominent international figures, as well as the secrets of the royal family. Although Lala loves all the Charlotte Bill is still a young nanny when she arrives at Sandringham, home to the Duke and Duchess of York. She begins caring for young David, Bertie, and their new little sister and is soon made the head nurse. As the family grows to include three more royal sons, Charlotte, known by her charges as Lala, cares and loves them as their own. Her unique position gives her access to royalty and prominent international figures, as well as the secrets of the royal family. Although Lala loves all the York children, she is most devoted to the youngest, John, who is unwell and plagued by epilepsy from a young age. Lala devotes her life to her Johnnie and all the York children, who recognize her as the caring and devoted mother figure of their childhood. This is the second novel I have read by Karen Harper, having previously read Mistress Shakespeare. Harper does a credible job with her historical fiction and finds unique subjects, rather than rehashing the same historical figures often written about. Indeed, Charlotte Bill is a little known historical figure and she did devote her life to the York family and especially young Johnnie. As portrayed in the novel, Charlotte did have a hand in exposing the mistreatment of the children by the head nurse in charge when she arrived and was appointed head nurse when the other woman was dismissed. Charlotte is an example of an early type of career woman in that she devoted her life to her career, which meant she never married or had a family of her own. Harper does a great job of imagining the tension she may have experienced through this choice in the fictional creation of Chad. Despite her desire to marry, Charlotte feels an immense sense of duty and love for her royal charges and is also aware that her income is greatly needed to help support her aging parents. However, with the notable exception of Chad, Harper fails to give Charlotte any depth beyond her job. Her home, family, childhood, and early career are summarily passed over. Charlotte is not depicted visiting her family in a single scene. After her time as nanny for the royals is over, the last several decades of her life are skipped over. Although clearly the focus of this novel is on her most important job, it would have given Charlotte more depth and realism to make her a fully fledged individual with a life before and beyond nanny to the York children. It was interesting to see how Harper portrays David, the heir to the throne, as conflicted and self-important even early on and from the eye's of his childhood caretaker. Chad tells Charlotte that David is "jealous of your love and attention for his younger brother, whom he considers damaged and unimportant compared to him." Charlotte's argument that David was attracted to women who resembled his first nanny, the one that was so cruel to him and poor Bertie, is verified by historical record and his marriage to the domineering Wallis Simpson. Likewise, Johnnie and Charlotte's encounter with Theodore Roosevelt was based on factual events as were their interactions with the doomed Ramonov children. As someone with great insight and inside information into the royal family, Charlotte Bill provided an interesting narrator and a unique perspective on the British royal family in the early twentieth century.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Charlotte Bill knew that working as a undernurse for the royal family was going to be an exciting change. But she never anticipated that it would be her literal life's work. Arriving at York Cottage at just eighteen, Charlotte, nicknamed Lala by the young heirs, was to help with the care of David and Bertie, grandsons of the Prince of Whales, and take primary care of their newborn sibling as soon as he or she arrived. But the undernurse soon found her responsibilities much increased when she wit Charlotte Bill knew that working as a undernurse for the royal family was going to be an exciting change. But she never anticipated that it would be her literal life's work. Arriving at York Cottage at just eighteen, Charlotte, nicknamed Lala by the young heirs, was to help with the care of David and Bertie, grandsons of the Prince of Whales, and take primary care of their newborn sibling as soon as he or she arrived. But the undernurse soon found her responsibilities much increased when she witnessed the appalling behavior of the head nurse, earning her top spot in the boy's care and the unwavering affection of both boys, not to mention the trust of their parents. From that day forward, Lala's sole focus was on the growing family, the youngest of whom would demand more than any before. Karen Harper's latest is a fictionalized account of the life of Charlotte Bill, nanny to two kings and the "lost prince." Much of the story and specific details are based in fact, creating what Harper fondly calls "faction" a term coined by author Alex Haley to describe a fiction based strongly in fact.So while we can't know the intimate thoughts or many of the literal conversations and such that took place during Charlotte's role as royal nanny, facts and actual accounts have been used to build a story that provides a look inside her life and world.Hers is a fascinating story, one that (as mentioned above) includes the direct care of two kings - King Edward VII, who reigned for less than a year and abdicated the throne rather than break with his American lover, and King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II and the subject of The King's Speech. She cared for both brothers and all of their later siblings including Prince John who suffered from epilepsy (and now theorized to have been autistic as well) and was eventually settled at Wood Farm with Lala, away from the royal family.All of that aside, Charlotte lived through spectacular times. The fall of Nicholas II in Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany, both of whom were direct relations to the royal family, and WWI all occurred during her time as nanny. For all intents and purposes, the story essentially ends with the death of Prince John, but Harper does provide both a prologue and an end chapter to wrap up Lala's story, giving readers a bit of closure in knowing that she remained connected to the family even after the death of her youngest charge.Anglophiles and historical fiction fans will definitely enjoy getting to know Charlotte. In life and in fiction she is truly a person to be admired!
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  • Clare O'Beara
    January 1, 1970
    The fictionalised tale of the nanny to the Duke of York's household, beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, covers many significant events. Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, Edward the Seventh's ascension to the throne (this is the era of Mary Poppins), suffragettes and the turbulence in Europe are the backdrop. In the foreground we follow nanny Charlotte Bill, raising the young princes Bertie and David, their new sister Mary and later siblings. Formality is the order of the day. We und The fictionalised tale of the nanny to the Duke of York's household, beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, covers many significant events. Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, Edward the Seventh's ascension to the throne (this is the era of Mary Poppins), suffragettes and the turbulence in Europe are the backdrop. In the foreground we follow nanny Charlotte Bill, raising the young princes Bertie and David, their new sister Mary and later siblings. Formality is the order of the day. We understand that a child with epilepsy was then seen as a weakness and not one that could be borne in a royal household with many duties. And we realise that Charlotte and all other domestic staff were expected to put devotion to duty first and, like the butler in The Remains Of The Day, not to form personal relationships. I've read in accounts written by staff of the time that the young women in London were absolutely not allowed to have 'followers' and had to meet young men on their rare half days off; if they decided to marry they were instantly considered to have given notice and would be replaced. Matters might be different on a country estate once staff reached a certain level like housekeeper or grounds keeper. Romance, then, is thin on the ground and might have added the sparkle to the story which comes across as very well researched but slow. The danger Charlotte faces near the end feels odd, as though it was thrown in to make a climax. Of course when writing about real people the author is constrained from inventing swoony romances and repeated terrors. Those who enjoy women's fiction, historical tales and following royal personalities will enjoy The Royal Nanny. I received an ARC. I wrote an unbiased review.
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