The moment I began watching Netflix's The Crown, I fell hard for it. Set after World War II at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, this drama will have you on the edge of your seat. Plus, the creators of the show took amazing strides to bring the period and the history to life as realistically as possible — from the beautiful costumes to the tiniest details. Being the story-addict that I am, when I finished binging Season 1, I immediately wanted more. So naturally, I turned to books to help me dive deeper into the history of this royal family.
Watching The Crown made me realize that what I knew about the royal family was just the tip of the iceberg. From King Edward VIII abdication to the scandals of Princess Margaret, every moment is jam-packed with intense drama — and it's all true. Every new episode made me more curious about all the details of these real-life events. So on this list, you'll find plenty of nonfiction books and biographies detailing the raucous lives of the British royal family. But the drama, too, is what makes The Crown so good, so I've also included some drama-packed novels to get your heart thumping.
Whatever piece of The Crown struck you the most, you'll fin something on here to fuel the fires of your interest. These books are the perfect way to keep yourself satisfied until Netflix brings us a second season.
1'Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch' by Sally Bedell Smith
This is the book to read about Queen Elizabeth II. Drawing on interviews, documents, and other sources, Smith provides a detailed biography of the Queen's life from childhood to the present-day. Soak up all the details you can about the Queen Elizabeth's IRL story, and marvel at how it compares to the show.
2'Victoria' by Daisy Goodwin
This historical fiction takes place 100 years before The Crown, following young Queen Victoria as she rises to power. Filled with delicious drama, headstrong characters, and delectable historical details, you'll gobble this novel up.
3'The Little Princesses' by Marion Crawford
Published in 1950, Marion Crawford details the sixteen years she spent as governess to the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. The first expose on the royal family, this book created a huge scandal when it was published.
4'Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage' by Gyles Brandreth
Dive into this account of the marriage between Philip and Elizabeth in this detailed account. Brandreth is a friend of Philip's, and has a personal relationship with everyone he details, which gives this book its own special flair.
5'King Edward VIII: The Official Biography' by Philip Ziegler
If the storyline about the abdication sparked your curiosity as much as it did mine, dive in further with this exceptionally engaging biography on King Edward VIII.
6'Princess Margaret: A Biography' by Theo Aronson
If you want more of the enchanting Princess Margaret in your life (you probably do), check out this biography of the real life princess.
7'My Early Life, 1874-1904' by Winston S. Churchill
Of course, Winston Churchill plays a huge role in the show, and who could describe Churchill's life better than the man himself? In The Crown we see Churchill at the end of his life, but in this autobiography the prime minister takes us through the adventures of his early years.
8'Three Sisters, Three Queens' by Philippa Gregory
Want more royal sisterhood? Historical fiction master Philippa Gregory takes us back to the Tudor court, following three sisters—Mary, Margaret, and Katherine—who go on to become pitted against each other as the queens of England, Scotland, and France.
9'Cleopatra: A Life' by Stacy Schiff
If you want to dive into the life of another badass, female ruler, travel over to ancient Egypt and the reign of Cleopatra. Pulitzer-winning biographer Stacy Schiff brings all the drama and intrigue (of which there is quite a lot) of Cleopatra's reign into sharp reality, digging past the rumors and biases that have clouded the monarch's story across the centuries.