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Children's Nonfiction General

Growing Up Royal

Life in the Shadow of the British Throne

by (author) Jane Billinghurst

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2001
General, Careers, Royalty
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2001
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2001
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


What child hasn't imagined life as a prince or princess? We read fantastical stories about them when we are young, hear about them in the news, and wonder what it would be like to be in their shoes. Growing Up Royal is a fun, informative, and realistic look at a royal upbringing -- a true behind-the-scenes peek at what a life of splendor is really like. Filled with humorous anecdotes and engrossing stories of royals past and present, it soon becomes clear that despite some obvious differences, kids in a royal family are much like kids everywhere.

Tradition, politics, privilege, and restrictions all play out in the life of young royals. Learn of the many ways the current British royal family is adapting to the changes brought by modern times, and how these events have shaped the lives of future royals, particularly Prince William, second in line to the British throne and a heartthrob for young girls everywhere. Is it really so glamorous to be born into royalty? What's it like to have your every move watched by the public and the press?

From birth through to the teen years, all stages in the life of a young royal are explored, from the palace nursery to learning one's place in society. The book discusses the social scene behind the castle walls, royal leisure pursuits and sporting activities, and education (will it be private tutoring as in times past, with no schoolmates, or a private school?). Then there are the challenges of one's private life. Imagine a royal teen on a date - with bodyguards!

Growing Up Royal is divided into sections: What Does It Mean to Be Royal?, In the Palace Nursery, Realizing You Are Different, Behind Castle Doors, Royal Pursuits, Entering the Big, Bad World, Mad About Royals and Being a Royal Teen. Sidebars with interesting facts and tales are interspersed throughout the text. Get the inside scoop on Royal Families in Europe, Royal Servants, Royal Birthday Bashes, and much more! A table of contents and an index are included for easy reference. The sixteen-page photo section captures a broad spectrum of images that reveal even more about the life of young royals.


About the author

Jane Billinghurst holds an M.A. in German and Philosophy from Oxford University and is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including Temptress: From the Original Bad Girls to Women on Top. She is also an editor and has been the director of Simon Fraser University's Summer Book Editing Workshop. She lives in Anacortes, Washington, where she can often be found tending her foxgloves and forget-me-nots or relaxing in a garden chair.

Jane Billinghurst's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Conveys the reality that being born a prince or princess is more about being a good public figure than about fun, frolic, and having it all.

School Library Journal

Chock-full of anecdotes ... the approach is smartly gossipy, well-researched and uninflammatory ... enticing charts and sidebars.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Middle schoolers will be eager to read this inside look at childhood among the British royals.

Book Report

Growing Up Royal is a refreshing change from most adult royal biographies, which are often tediously correct or suspiciously censorious. Instead, Saskatoon author Jane Billinghurst immediately engages her readers by putting them in the situation of the royal offspring. Using [a] personal and humorous approach, the author is able to introduce plenty of information about royal families...and still keep the reader feeling personally involved. She also includes plenty of anecdotes showing the lighter and more human side of growing up royal... Sidebars contain a considerable amount of useful information on everything from royal residences to correct titles for palace servants. There are also two eight pages sections of colour photos plus an appendix giving the names and situation of members of ten European royal families. Suitable for grades four and up, this book could well be popular with older students, especially as it contains extra information on popular Prince William, the latest royal heart-throb. Subtitled Life in the Shadow of the British Throne, this is a lively and entertaining account of what it is like to be born royal. Highly Recommended.

Canadian Materials

More than just a superficial biography, this offers an interesting look at the upside and downside of royal life, punctuated by numerous kid-oriented anecdotes.


Does a good job of describing the real life of the royals ... fascinating information and wonderful color pictures.


Billinghurst's light tone is filled with gentle humor, packing a surprising amount of information into the text.

VOYA [Voice of Youth Advocates]

A fun, breezy read that pierces the royal armor just enough for a revealing peak inside.

Cincinnati Enquirer

Other titles by Jane Billinghurst