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Profile Books have just sent me their 2007 list of new books (thanks, fellows) and I am highly intrigued by the sound of the new novel by Alan Bennett.

This is because it is a novel in which the Queen is the central character. The plot of “The Uncommon Reader” depends on the Queen wandering into a mobile library, discovering that there is more to reading than Dick Francis, and beginning to explore world literature. This naturally changes her view of the world, and leads her to question much of what she has to do as the monarch, and certainly changes her attitude to her “oleaginous prime minister”...

Profile are publishing this book jointly with Faber, but Faber (who have also sent me their list – thanks again, fellows!) are also publishing, all by themselves, I take it, a book called “The Further Adventures of the Queen Mother” by the well-known comedian Harry Hill.

“When the Queen Mum passed on,” says the blurb,” you all thought it ended there. Not so. Ascending to Heaven and meeting up with the likes of Arthur Askey and Kurt Cobain was just the start of a new direction in her afterlife. God had a mission for her – to return to earth and fight crime and general wrongdoing. First there’s the mugger she persuades to go straight; then the supermodel off the rails who lands a lucrative sporran franchise...”

Clearly, there is a brand new trend to use members of the Royal family as fictional characters. It happens in films and plays all the time, but not until now in novels. So I have been ringing round a few authors to see if anyone else is following the trend, and, my goodness, they are all at it! Here is a brief summary of the more interesting books about to be published.

“Mole Royal” by Henry Porter. A cracking spy thriller in which the apparently bumbling Prince Charles is hired by MI5 to identify the mole at Buckingham Palace who is passing secrets to the other side. What will Charles do when he discovers that the traitor is none other than his own father, the foreign-born and frustrated Duke of Edinburgh? A tense tale of morality and loyalty.

“The Young Phil the Greek” by Charlie Higson. Doing for Prince Philip what he has already done for James Bond, Higson writes a cracking adventure story about the young playboy prince. Lots of girls, champagne and fast Navy frigates.

“Da Windsor Code” by Dan Brown. The secret of tying a Windsor knot, known only to the top half dozen members of the British Royal Family, has been passed down in secrecy since it was specially invented for them by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was found dead shortly afterwards – and now modern members of the Royal Family are beginning to die like flies. First Diana and the Queen Mum. Then Harry and William. Then – but don’t let me give away the ending. Already being filmed.

“Camilla” by Jane Austen. A new Jane Austen novel is always an occasion, even if only computer-generated. In this one, little Camilla Shand knows that if she does not make a good marriage, she will be a burden on her parents all their lives, so she dutifully makes friends with the charming Prince. Owing to a terrible misunderstanding, she thinks he wants to marry someone else, so she marries a cavalry officer called Andrew. Under the same misapprehension, Prince Charles marries someone called Diana. Later they meet again and discover they should have married each other after all. So she divorces Andrew, and Diana dies conveniently in a car crash... but the whole story is so implausible I can’t bear to bring you any more.

“The Gospel According to Edward VIII” by Jeffrey Archer. Mysterious things are going on at the Palace. Unexplained fires break out at Windsor. “It has been an Annus Horribilis,” says the Queen. And why? Because they are being haunted by the ghost of the Duke of Windsor, that’s why! Angry that he had to abdicate for the kind of marriage that every royal is now entering into, the late Edward VIII has determined to take a posthumous revenge. The denouement, in which the ghosts of Arthur Askey and Kurt Cobain narrowly avert world disaster, outdoes anything Archer has ever done.


Send SAE and blank cheque for full list of new royal novels. . .

The Independent Thursday Mar 22 07