Ever since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to step away from their positions as senior royals, we have all — as
Jezebel's Kelly Faircloth puts it — been "watching Tudor-level court intrigue unfold in real-time, on a global stage, at the speed of Twitter." On March 7, more than 17 million viewers watched , the highly anticipated exit interview that would finally tell the couple's side of the story. If you're still reeling from Oprah with Meghan and Harry the interview's revelations, or you just want to savor a little more royal drama, these books about court intrigue will be a balm to your springtime reading.
"They really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain," Meghan said of the
British tabloids' double standards in their coverage of her and sister-in-law Kate, Duchess of Cambridge — coverage that has undoubtedly forced the public to choose sides in the royal rift.
Oprah with Meghan and Harry's most astounding revelations focused on the royal family's treatment of the couple's son, who was allegedly the target of racism before he was even born. Meghan revealed that the decision not to give Archie a title was not made by his parents but by "The Firm" itself, noting that only royals with titles are given a security detail.
There were also "concerns and conversations [within the royal family] about how dark [Archie's] skin might be when he’s born," Meghan said. Those conversations were so terrible — and potentially damaging — that Harry declined to comment on them any further, besides revealing they were "awkward" and left him "a bit shocked."
Here are the books about court intrigue you should read after watching Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah:
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1
Muse reimagines Gilded Age America as a monarchy. In the weeks leading up to the World's Fair, an inventor's daughter plans her escape from the father who claims that her touch gifted him with his engineering prowess. But when she's suddenly kidnapped by St. Cloud's governor, who wants the inventor's gifts for himself, Cavallaro's protagonist is dragged into the tenuous world of First American Kingdom politics. 2
As the half-Goblin son of the Emperor of Elfland and fourth in line to his father's throne, Maia never expected to rule over the empire. But when his father and three elder brothers die unexpectedly — and under suspicious circumstances — Maia finds himself pulled out of exile and into Elfland's seat of power. No one ever taught him how to navigate court politics, but he'll have to learn quickly if he wants to survive the intrigue that swirls in the wake of his father's death.
Katherine Addison will publish a sequel to
The Goblin Emperor, titled , on June 22. The Witness for the Dead 3
When a rebellious movement gains traction in her homeland, Touraine, a young woman who has grown up as a captive, loyal soldier of the empire, goes home to stop the uprising. As Touraine's loyalties are put to the test, the emperor's niece, Luca, comes to realize that the soldier may be the only hope she has to put an end to her uncle's reign.
Amani has always wanted an adventure, but such opportunities are few and far between for the 18-year-old girl living under the occupation of the colonizing Vathek empire. When she's kidnapped and brought before the empire's Princess Maram, Amani discovers that she and the other girl could be twins — a fact the Vathek are counting on. The public hates Maram so much that the princess needs a body-double to make public appearances for her. It's not the adventure Amani had in mind, but as she begins to tiptoe through the intrigue that plagues the Vathek court, she finds her new life is far more dangerous than she ever anticipated.
Ill-fated writer Christopher Marlowe takes center stage in Allison Epstein's
A Tip for the Hangman. As rumors spread of a Catholic plot to unseat the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, Marlowe is recruited by the sovereign's spymaster to work in Mary, Queen of Scots' prison-home. Years later, riding high as one of England's most celebrated playwrights, Marlowe is called back into the Tudor court's intrigue to deal with circumstances that may very well destroy the life he's built. 6
As the new ambassador to the Teixcalaanli empire, Mahit knows that, when it comes to navigating the strange world of Teixcalaan's etiquette and politics, she can rely on the memories and guidance of her predecessor, whose consciousness has been preserved in the wake of his death. But his memories and knowledge are 15 years out of date... and no one's quite sure how he died.
Arkady Martine's sequel to
A Memory Called Empire, titled , is available now. A Desolation Called Peace 7
The first book in
Trail of Lighting author Rebecca Roanhorse's new fantasy trilogy, Black Sun centers on three people — a new priest, a disgraced captain bound for his city, and her eerie passenger — whose lives and destinies will converge beneath a prophesied solar eclipse on the winter solstice. The sins of the priest's predecessor are about to come crashing down as the passenger prepares to take his place as the vessel of a heretical god in this epic novel of intrigue and inquiry. 8
An ancient enemy, long believed to be dead, is poised to make a comeback in
The Priory of the Orange Tree. The dragon known only as The Nameless One will destroy the world if its nations cannot unite against him, but that's a tall order for the three women at the heart of Samantha Shannon's book. The Queen of Virtudom, the Priory mage who serves as her lady-in-waiting, and a dragon-worshiping woman from an Eastern kingdom hold three very different ideologies about the oncoming threat. But as assassins creep closer to the queen's door, she has no choice but to work with her unlikely allies if she wants to prevent the world from being plunged into darkness. 9
Kyung-sook Shin's celebrated novel opens in turn-of-the-century Hanseong — what is now Seoul — the capital of the Joseon Dyanasty, where a French diplomat falls in love with a court dancer. Yi Jin, an orphan who found favor with Empress Myeongseong out of sheer luck, is whisked away to Paris, where she watches from afar as international intrigue threatens to destroy her homeland and everyone she loves there.