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OpinionReviews

Review: The Royal Key

Known for her Diana, Princess of Wales series, Deb Stratas has stepped into fiction with The Royal Key.

The Royal Key focuses on Canadian protagonist Annabelle, who is struggling to overcome a personal tragedy. Before she knows it, she is nannying royal children in a Victorian country home in the 19th century. She has to figure out how to get back to the present to her lover while adapting to her current time period. Throw in the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and you have the interests of those who follow British royal history!

Annabelle works in a Montessori school and is still struggling with losing a baby a few years prior with her fiancé Ryan. While eating fudge and reading the Duchess of Windsor’s memoir, she discovers paper dolls in the tin with furniture and a key. She places the key in her pocket and flips through the Duke of Windsor’s memoir; she becomes quite dizzy and faints. Then, she wakes up in 19th century England.

She realizes she is now the nanny for a young Prince Edward (“David” – the future King Edward VIII), Prince Albert (future King George VI) and Princess Mary. Annabelle then has to adapt to her new surroundings and nannying three royal children, all while knowing who these children turn out to be and what they do in the future. She also has to figure out how to get back to the 20th century.

It is a definite switch from Stratas’s focus on Diana and a refreshing read. She has described it as The Time Traveller’s Wife meeting Downton Abbey with a royal twist. With just 237 pages, it is not a long read, and its publication fits nicely as this year marks 125 years since the Duchess of Windsor’s birth and 35 years since her death; 2021 also marks 85 years since the former King Edward VIII gave up the throne for Wallis.

My only complaint is that it took quite a few chapters before we got to the point of Annabelle going into the past and how the British Royal Family related to her time travelling.

With such a focus on Diana in her previous books, I asked Stratas why she chose to go in a different direction for this book. She said: “The reason I stepped away from Diana is that I felt I had really explored her life so well – in fiction and non-fiction. I wanted to branch out while still keeping my royal focus. I have always been fascinated by the story of the abdication and the love between the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and wanted to explore it in a unique way.”

Her Diana-focused books are the Diana Spencer series – At Home with Diana Diana, A Spencer in Love Diana, A Spencer in Turmoil Diana, and A Spencer Forever. She also authored At Home with Diana, which focuses on the homes in which Diana lived throughout her life. All are available on Amazon.

The book is available for purchase now on Amazon.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.