Royal Pains A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes and Bad Seeds – Book Review!

Royal Pains is a collection of stories that highlight some of the most rotten, evil and mischievous royals over the centuries. This anthology written by Leslie Carroll attempts to recount the reasons (whether valid or embellished) why these royals were considered royal pains to their blue booded families.

Title: Royal Pains: A Rogue’s Gallery of Brats, Brutes and Bad Seeds!

ISBN: 978-0-451-23221-2

Author: Leslie Carroll

Genre: Historical

Publisher: New American Library

Number of Pages: 383

Published Date: March 1st, 2011

“The bad seeds on the family trees of the most powerful royal houses of Europe often became the most rotten of apples: uber-violent autocrats Vlad the Impaler and Ivan the Terrible literally reigned in blood. Lettice Knollys strove to mimic the appearance of her cousin Elizabeth I and even stole her man. And Pauline Bonaparte scandalized her brother Napoleon by having a golden goblet fashioned in the shape of her breast.

Chock-full of shocking scenes, titillating tales, and wildly wicked nobles, Royal Pains is a rollicking compendium of the most infamous, capricious, and insatiable bluebloods of Europe.”


Royal Pains was bought for me by my friend Emily this past Christmas because she knows that I enjoy reading about Royals, Medieval times and Scandal! Upon reading the back of the book I was excited to read the synopsis behind names that I have heard in the past and be introduced to some that I have not heard of before. This book lived up to my expectations and provided me with an intriguing read, no matter how exaggerated some of the tales seemed.

Story: Royal Pains goes through stories in a chronological timeline from the earliest brutes to the more modern bratty, royals. At the beginning of the book I found myself taken out of the story because there were many foreign words that I needed to look up to have a full grasp of what was happening. I did notice that as time progressed and the stories entered more modern years, it became easier to read and comprehend. We visited new royals that I was not aware of as well as well known and storied legends in nobility.


Quotes From the Book:

“The inspiration for Stoker’s doomed romantic anti-hero was a fifteenth-century Romanian prince. But the real Vlad was far more of a monster than any Victorian gothic novelist could have imagined (Pg- 33).”

“In truth, Clarence as he is known, was a serial traitor, conspiring a whopping four times against their eldest sibling, Edward IV, to topple him from the throne and place the crown on his own head. (Pg-57)”

“In an age where her English counterparts were engaged in such ladylike pursuits as plying their needles or playing the virginals, Erzsebet Bathory was employing red-hot pincers and bathing in virginal blood. (Pg-161).”

“For decades, people have accepted the fact that Rudolf’s life ended in a brandy-infused double suicide pact… What was the truth? What kind of royal pain did Rudolf become, as he matured from angsty adolescent to agitated adult? Was he unhappy or unhinged? (Pg-258)”



  • A very interesting read on some of Europe’s famed royalty
  • A quick read



  • In previous Book Reviews, I have notices bloggers mentioning the “Ease of Reading.” This book is hard to read in some stories.
  • Imagery will display volatile scenes


Final Thoughts: I’ve really enjoyed the book and it was a quick read. It kept me hooked with the different stories being told and while many of the stories are opinion based, it gives another perspective on what could have happened.


Goodreads – 3.68 out of 5 Stars

Amazon – 4 out of 5 Stars

Google Books – 3.5 out of 5 Stars


Other works by Author:

  1. Notorious Royal Marriages
  2. Royal Affairs


Have you read Royal Pains? What books are you currently reading? Let’s talk books!

-Luna 🙂

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