Royal Babylon

The Alarming History of European Royalty

Karl Shaw

A New York Times Bestseller

Royal Babylon

Queen Victoria warned that it was unwise to look too deeply into the Royal houses of Europe – that the ‘black spots’ were best kept from prying eyes. This unique book reveals all.

Since 1714 Britain has been ruled by a clan of inbred Germans with a history of mental instability and a talent for profligacy and debauchery. But, compared to their blue-blood cousins across the Channel, they are neither remarkable nor particularly mad. In the last three hundred years, Europe has been plagued by dysfunctional rulers – the insane kings of Spain, the psychopathic kings of Prussia, the sex-fixated French kings, the famously inbred Habsburgs of Austria, and, of course, the drunken, debauched and always dangerous czars of Russia. This unusual and amusing account of the great and the sordid will make even the most ardent royalist wonder whether Europe’s republics really miss this collection of madmen, philanderers, sexual misfits, sociopaths and tragic emotional cripples. (325 pages)

‘A fascinating trawl through the dustbins of history.’ Daily Mail

‘A hugely entertaining collection of aristocratic excess.’ Belfast Telegraph

‘With a family tree like this, it’s little wonder that Prince Charles talks to plants… Karl Shaw chronicles the fluctuating fortunes of various personalities and dynasties which have made up European royal gene pool.’ North-West Evening Mail

‘Utterly irreverent account of Europe’s mad Royalty.’ Nottingham Evening Post

‘Good fun… a vigorous slap at monarchists everywhere.’ Kirkus Review

‘Anyone who loves scandal, particularly the juicy dish on royalty, will inhale this gossipy account by British writer Shaw… irreverent and amusing.’ Publishers Weekly


  • Broadway Books UK & USA
  • Domino Czech Republic
  • Magyar Konyklub Hungary
  • MKZ Croatia & Slovenia
  • Nezarisimaya Gazeta Russia

Material: finished copies (325pp)