When I worked as an entertainment reporter for a television
news channel, we werenât allowed to file stories about the Windsors under âentertainmentâ.
Instead, they were to go beneath the banner of âworldâ news, besides elections in India and
China trade tensions. Thereâs a reason that felt misplaced: because the British royals are
unquestionably a source of entertainment, once described by a psychology professor as âone
of the longest-running reality TV shows in historyâ
(which means weâre currently on season nine-hundred-and-fifty-something).
At the time of writing, Princes William and Harry are jousting
for the highest number of Instagram followers (William has 9.1 million and Harry has 8.4 million
âthatâs around the same number as Walt Disney and Game of Thrones). Nearly 23 million US
viewers watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton in 2011, with viewers tuning in from
more than 180 countries. The acceleration of technology has handily turned the British royals
into a global brand, with millions following them by choice rather than decree. Plenty of fans worship the Windsors to connect with their past and
preserve British tradition, but why are the rest of us still so captivated by the Elizabeths, the
Williams, the Henrys, the Georges, and the Victoria? (Note: We need more Victorias.)
The ultimate fairytale (on Instagram)
Many of us grew up on stories of castles, knights, jewels and
crownsâa thrilling escape to an unfathomably brutal time that we have romanticized into
fairytales. To be royal is to live inside a storybook of time-honored riches and respectability,
and if a commoner is invited into the magic, we watch with a particular fascination and envy
(case in point: actress Meghan Markle and her role of a lifetime, but who appears genuinely in
love with her charismatic prince).
The relationship is mutual
Another reason we canât get the British royals out of our
system is because they intentionally wonât let us. Their characteristic openness (for example,
the princes parading their newborns before the world cameras) is what separates them from
the typically sealed doors of the over-privileged. Itâs their way of saying, âCome in, we want
you here, and we love you, too.â The Queenâs lack of real power may appear demeaning to an
absolute monarchist, but itâs also another royal family coupon to popularity: who can the
royals annoy and alienate if they donât share their opinions on anything controversial?
The spectacle we canât look away from
Some view William and Harry as outrageously lucky to
be born at the top of the social food chain; others see the princes as trapped in an insanely
public life they never chose and cannot escape. The reality is surely in between, but either
way, itâs engrossing. There are those who secretly relish in watching the upper classes go
belly up, and others who feel unduly protective of them. Because the royals are a family like
any other, becoming glued to how they handle their bumps in the road distracts us from ours,
even for a minute.
Historical âfan fictionâ and the Tudors
All of this is fertile ground for drama, which is why writers
voraciously write royal historical novels and readers voraciously read them. I write books set
mostly in the sixteenth century Tudor eraâone of the most dramatic dynasties of all time. In
case youâre not up with your Tudor history, here are just a few examples why the Tudors lived
at a Springer-style level of melodrama: The first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, usurped the throne
from Richard III. His son Prince Arthur died in his teens, and Arthurâs widow Catherine got a
second chance at queen by marrying Arthurâs younger brother Henry. That Henry was
crowned King Henry VIII before dumping Catherine and marrying a further five times,
executing two of his wives and starting his own religion so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Serial-
dater Henry left three children to three different mothers. After his son died young, surprise
intruder Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen by some wannabes and swiftly beheaded for it,
before Henry VIIIâs daughters Mary and Elizabeth both ruled England: first as a Catholic, then
as a Protestant, giving the nation religious whiplash. Almost all of us have imagined ourselves
in another period of time, and for me, itâs this thrilling landscape. I knew I had to write a book
set during this era so I could go hang out with the Tudors (but at a safe distance *clutches
Touring the past in a time machine
Before I began writing Emmie and the Tudor King,
I researched the time period with a focus on relationships, remembering that human
instincts, attractions, and fears were probably very much the same. I wanted to dig into the
tweenagers of the Tudor court, who presumably had crushes, and zits, and heartbreaks. Who
were they jonesing to kiss in the candlelit corridors and how did they feel about it? Because I
didnât want to write about Henry VIII (thereâs plenty of him already), I decided to create an
alternate history in which Elizabeth I has a son Nicholas, who becomes the last and most
notorious Tudor king: Nicholas the Ironheart. The character of Emmie is a high school girl from
modern-day Massachusetts who gets sucked back in time to this reimagined Tudor world and
experiences it through the eyes of a regular girl.
Thereâs no shortage of heart-clutching romance to explore in
historical fiction. Lovers have loved since the dawn of time. However, if you also throw in the
British royals, youâll invite plenty of high-octane drama and allure for readers. After all, season
four-hundred-and-fifty of the British royals series was one of the most epic of all. Although,
the current season is also getting pretty good. Pass the snacks.
Hearts and Crowns Book 1
One moment, Emmie is writing her high school history paper; the next, she's sitting with a
gorgeous 16th century king who vacillates from kissing her to ordering her execution. Able to
travel back to her own time, but intensely drawn to King Nick and the mysterious death of his
sister, Emmie finds herself solving the murder of a young princess and unraveling court
secrets while trying to keep her head on her shoulders, literally.
With everything to lose, Emmie finds herself facing her biggest battle of all: How to cheat the
path of history and keep her irresistible king, or lose himâand her heartâforever...
Adult | Young Adult Time
Slip [Literary Crush Publishing, On Sale: June 11, 2019,
Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780998448473 / eISBN: 9780998448480]
Natalie Murray has been writing to make people smile ever since her short story 'A Dog Story
with a Happy Ending' won first prize in a writing competition when she was eight (she didnât
quite understand titles and spoilers then!). Now slightly *cough* older, Natalie is irreversibly
committed to writing novels she loves to read: anything involving high-stakes adventure,
touches of history or fantasy, and star-crossed lovers with buckets of exquisite angst.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Communications at Australiaâs Griffith
University, Natalie landed the role of entertainment reporter for Sky News Australia and New
Zealand, interviewing such high-profile personalities as Elton John, Angelina Jolie, Sylvester
Stallone, Dustin Hoffman, Cameron Diaz, Matt Damon and Jerry Seinfeld. Sheâs also worked as
a corporate copywriter, Bollywood movie dancer, and dementia care worker, but Natalie knows
what she loves doing most of all: looking after her family and writing YA romance fiction.
When sheâs not writing, you can find Natalie clinging to her family (literally; sheâs super
affectionate), packing or unpacking a suitcase, forgetting to update her website at
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