The Last Royal Rebel

Anna Keay's publicationsLandmark: a History of Britain in 50 Buildings
Published to mark 50 years of the Landmark Trust and with a foreword by Griff Rhys Jones this gorgeous book tells the story of Britain through fifty extraordinary buildings rescued by the Landmark Trust. Richly illustrated it would make the perfect present, for a friend or just for yourself.


   Now Out! The Last Royal Rebel!

The Magnificent Monarch After four years' work my new biography of Charles II's adored bastard son, James, Duke of Monmouth, has just been published by Bloomsbury. This tells the extraordinary story of the Duke's tumultuous life, culminating in his invasion of England in 1685 and the last battle fought on English soil. Order here and read a preview here.

Available in Paperback from 4 May 2017

'Brilliant and revelatory. Anna Keay has written a superb biography, which paints a vivid picture of the times and of her subject. She has an instinctive feel for character and place, and combines elegant prose with a novelistic gift for narrative. Above all, she has rescued this much-traduced and forgotten royal rebel from the backwaters and set him once more at the centre of one of Britain's great historical whirlpools (Daily Telegraph)

[A] penetrating and superbly researched biography (Country Life)

'Monmouth's story - from poverty, to the steps of the throne to the scaffold - makes a powerful story, part Greek Tragedy and part Dallas ...
The strength of this admirable biography is that it makes the reader consider Monmouth from Monmouth's point of view, without the benefit of hindsight . Here is Monmouth, and here is his world. It is a considerable achievement (Andrew Taylor The Times)

A beautifully written book, with a superb feel for 17th century society and international intrigue as well as a masterful ability to depict the lived reality of Stuart London, Flanders and Paris. Anna Keay has provided not just a great life of a long forgotten royal rebel and revived his place in popular politics, but also a compelling account of British history during one of its most dangerous and tumultuous eras (Tristram Hunt)

Written with the flair of a novelist and the punctilious skill of a forensic historian, this book tells one of the most riveting chapters of Stuart history . It is the best royal biography I have read in years, and it deeply enhanced my knowledge of the seventeenth century (A. N. Wilson)

Anna Keay's fascinating, compelling, outrageous and ultimately tragic The Last Royal Rebel delivers, with scholarly authority, political acumen, exciting narrative and a worldly, playful eye for drama, character and detail a vivid political-personal portrait of the hitherto-neglected Monmouth but also a shrewd study of Charles II, his dangerous, seductive, amoral court and Restoration England - and of a golden youth doomed (Simon Sebag Montefiore)

Anna Keay has effectively turned [the] old-fashioned, censorious judgment of Monmouth on its head by making him the hero of his own story. It is a bold approach, and this vividly told story will remain in the reader's memory long after the last page of Keay's book has been turned. No one can deny that Monmouth's life was anything other than dramatic . Keay's real achievement in this book is not so much a re-evaluation of Monmouth himself, though that may be well overdue, but her deft analysis of 17th-century personalities and politics . Keay has brought a period almost lost to popular history compellingly alive (Literary Review)

Other publications by Anna Keay


The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth, with John Watkins English Heritage, 2012
buy online

The Crown Jewels, Thames & Hudson and the Royal Collection, 2011
buy online

‘The shadow of a king?: the exile of Charles II of Great Britain’, in Torsten Riotte, ed., Monarchy in Exile. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
buy online

‘Charles II and the reconstruction of monarchy’ in Marcello Fantoni, George Gorse and Malcolm Smuts,eds., The Politics of Space: Courts in Europe and the Mediterranean, c. 1500-1750. Bulzoni, 2009

The Magnificent Monarch: Charles II and the Ceremonies of Power. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2008
buy online

The White Tower, Edward Impey, ed.. London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. Author of all three post-medieval chapters (about 20,000 words) covering the history of the castle from 1485 to 2000.
buy online

The Elizabethan Tower of London: the Haiward and Gascoyne Plan of 1597. London: London Topographical Society, 2001
buy online

Academic Journals

Kenilworth Castle and its landscape, 1580-1700', English Heritage Historical Review, V, 2011.

 ‘The later Stuart paintings in the Suffolk CollectionEnglish Heritage Historical Review, I, 2006, pp. 62-74

‘The presentation of Guardianship sitesTransactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, 48, April 2004, pp. 7-20


'17th century monarchy', introductory essay for State Papers On-line 1603-1714, Prof John Miller, ed., 2010.

'The Crown Jewels', Country Life, 23 May 2010.

‘Charles II and Windsor Castle’ Country Life. April, 2009.

‘The shadow of a king? The exile of King Charles II’, History Today, July 2008

‘“Toyes and Trifles” the destruction of the English Crown Jewels’, History Today, 52 (7), July 2002, pp. 31-7

The Crown Jewels, official guidebook. London: Historic Royal Palaces, 2002

The Earl of Essex: the Life and Death of a Tudor Traitor (accompanying the exhibition of the same name). London: Historic Royal Palaces, 2001