Brimful of anecdote and attitude, Timothy O'Sullivan focuses on a series of suitable and very unsuitable alliances between European royalty -- from Henry VIII to the present day. Highlighting both constitutional and personal concerns, O'Sullivan reinterprets the history of England in a totally contemporary context.It's a story packed with gory detail - in the last 600 years only four monarchs have been succeeded by their eldest son, and the English obsession with primogeniture has meant that every royal male within half a dozen lines of the throne has been obliged to marry and try to produce heirs, irrespective of his wishes or proclivities. Since the 1701 Act of Settlement, they had to marry within a field which was effectively confined to a tribe of squat Anglo-Saxons. Even so, there has been a fair amount of malpractice- O'Sullivan looks at the marriages as if the parties had entered into them with the expectations which may be presumed in anybody else - the desire for independence from parents, and financial independence, expectations and misgivings about children, shared interests and emotional support, sexual fidelity, and failing all or most of these, mutual encouragement.
O'Sullivan's examination of a particularly English institution reveals a history of intrigue and eccentricity that has the most vibrant echoes with our modern world.
Born in 1947, O'Sullivan has worked as a barrister at Kleinwort Benson and as a commissioning editor with Routledge & Kogan Page. He is the author of a number of books - from Thomas Hardy to the official account of the Pope's visit to England in 1982.