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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Reading Austen in high places

A few months ago, I noted that the British royal family appears to include a critical mass of women who are crazy about Jane Austen. (Or so they say.) If only I had known that this fandom extended all the way to the top.

In a recent photo essay detailing the childhood of the future Queen Elizabeth II, Vogue noted that the young princess “scheduled an hour for reading each day, working through classics by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.” (Scroll down to #14)

Admittedly, this self-imposed curriculum of major English novelists hardly represents an edgy or surprising choice for a British monarch, and the magazine offers no information about how well Elizabeth liked the books – let alone about such crucial questions as her favorite Austen novel, hero, or heroine. And given the sad events of this month, we’ll probably never know.

But as we bid the queen farewell at today’s state funeral, it’s reassuring to know that even if a Janeite – or possible Janeite – is no longer reigning over the United Kingdom, the new King Charles III lives in very close proximity to someone who is (probably) a true Austen fan.


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