Princess Alice, mother of Prince Phillip, was something of a mystery figure even within her own family. She was born deaf, at Windsor Castle, in the presence of her grandmother, Queen Victoria, and brought up in England, Darmstadt, and Malta.
In 1903 she married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and from then on her life was overshadowed by wars, revolutions, and enforced periods of exile. By the time she was thirty-five, virtually every point of stability was overthrown. Though the British royal family remained in the ascendant, her German family ceased to be ruling princes, her two aunts who had married Russian royalty had come to savage ends, and soon afterwards Alice's own husband was nearly executed as a political scapegoat.
The middle years of her life, which should have followed a conventional and fulfilling path, did the opposite. She suffered from a serious religious crisis and at the age of forty-five was removed from her family and placed in a sanitarium in Switzerland, where she was pronounced a paranoid schizophrenic. As her stay in the clinic became prolonged, there was a time where it seemed she might never walk free again. How she achieved her recovery is just one of the remarkable aspects of her story.
Hugo Vickers was born in 1951 and educated at Eton and Strasbourg University. His books include Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough; Cecil Beaton; Vivien Leigh; Loving Garbo; Royal Orders; The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; and The Kiss, which won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen for Non-fiction. He is an acknowledged expert on the royal family, appears regularly on television, and has lectured all over the world. Hugo Vickers and his family divide their time between London and a manor house in Hampshire.
"Now, however, she was the antithesis of circumspect. Throwing caution and reserve to the wind, she said that she wanted me to write the truth about her life 'because I feel as if the whole fairy tale is crushing whatever's left of the real me.... If you'd just write about the real Diana, it would make all the difference.'" --Lady Colin Campbell
Who was the real Diana? What was it like to be so privileged yet so anguished, so beloved yet so self-loathing, so spoiled yet so despairing? The Princess of Wales was all these things--far more complicated, conflicted, and intriguing a person than the wildly disparate saint or lunatic she is frequently portrayed to be.
Royal insider Lady Colin Campbell sets the record straight on many of the most controversial aspects of Diana's turbulent life: how Charles and Diana's engagement came to pass, though it seemed ill-advised to those closest to both of them; what their honeymoon was really like; the truth behind Diana's bulimia, her widely reported suicide attempts, and her obsession with Camilla Parker Bowles; Diana's search for love and fulfillment with numerous men before, during, and after her marriage; her brilliant manipulations of the press; and her relationship with Dodi Fayed.
Lady Colin Campbell's New York Times bestselling biography Diana in Private was the first to expose the truth about Diana and her troubled marriage. In The Real Diana, she reveals that the reason she knew so much about what went on behind the palace gates was because Diana herself was the source. Drawing upon these confidences--as well as on conversations with countless people who knew Diana and with Diana herself in the final years of her life--Lady Colin Campbell combines true insight with true compassion to bring us the most intimate and revealing portrait of the Princess of Wales that we will ever have.
Elizabeth's determination to share in the struggles of her people marked her out from a young age. Her father initially refused to let her volunteer as a nurse during the Blitz, but relented when she was 18 and allowed her to work as a mechanic and truck driver for the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was her forward-thinking approach that ensured that her coronation was televised, against the advice of politicians at the time.
Kate Williams reveals how the 25-year-old young queen carved out a lasting role for herself amid the changes of the 20th century. Her monarchy would be a very different one to that of her parents and grandparents, and its continuing popularity in the 21st century owes much to the intelligence and elusive personality of this remarkable woman.
'Almost every page is a gem'
A. N. Wilson, Spectator Christmas Books
'A delightful insight into an eclectic life'
The Daily Telegraph
'A complete delight, conjuring up, with a few sharp strokes of the pen, a mad, exotic species from a world gone by'
Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
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When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary's official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, this is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a bygone age.
Giving much greater insight into Queen Mary than the official version, and including sharply observed encounters with, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester, and a young Queen Elizabeth, The Quest for Queen Mary is set to be a classic of royal publishing.
Beatrice was the last child born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her father died when she was four and Victoria came to depend on her youngest daughter absolutely, and also demanded from her complete submission. Victoria was not above laying it down regally even with her own children. Beatrice succumbed to her mother's obsessive love, so that by the time she was in her late teens she was her constant companion and running her mother's of?ce, which meant that when Victoria died her daughter became literary executor, a role she conducted with Teutonic thoroughness. And although Victoria tried to prevent Beatrice even so much as thinking of love, her guard slipped when Beatrice met Prince Henry of Battenberg. Sadly, Beatrice inherited from her mother the hemophilia gene, which she passed on to two of her four sons and which her daughter Victoria Eugenia, in marrying Alfonso XIII of Spain, in turn passed on to the Spanish royal family. This new examination will restore her to her proper prominence---as Queen Victoria's second consort.