The new royal books worrying the Windsors
We take a look at five royal reads threatening to take the shine off the Platinum Jubilee
They say the pen is mightier than the sword and it’s no more cutting than when it comes to royal biographies. The palaces must be echoing to the rustle of pages this week as revelatory book The Palace Papers recently hit the shelves and exposed some of the secrets the Windsors hoped would remain hidden.
The Diana Chronicles caused a furore at the time of its release in 2007 and now ex-Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown has returned with another searing royal biography The Palace Papers. The book takes a look at the Royal Family over the past 25 years and it’s fair to say, no-one is spared from her piercing pen, apart from Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who comes out relatively unscathed. But this is just one in a long line of new biographies out this year. Kerry took a look at five royal reads threatening to take the shine off the Platinum Jubilee, for The Saturday Telegraph.
The Palace Papers, by Tina Brown, Century, £20
Editor Tina Brown writes her royal biographies unlike anyone else and this, like The Diana Chronicles before it, is a highly-readable, highly-entertaining and enlightening look at the making of the modern royals since the death of Diana. She delves into the personalities and foibles of each family member and how they run their households – not usually, very well.
Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, by Andrew Lownie, Blink Publishing, £25
Before Harry and Meghan, there was another royal who gave it all up for an American woman – Edward VIII, who famously abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to marry double-divorcee Wallis Simpson. Historian Andrew Lownie does a blistering job of unearthing the skeletons in the Royal Family’s closet and leads you to conclude that the Duke of Windsor was far worse than you imagined, including his Nazi allegiances and thoroughly unsympathetic character.
The Queen, by Andrew Morton, Macmillan, £20
To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, there have been several biographies published recently, including the very detailed The Queen by Matthew Dennison and reverent Queen of our Times by Robert Hardman. Next comes The Queen by Andrew Morton, out May 24. Unlike his explosive book Diana: Her True Story, it’s safe to assume the Queen hasn’t been secretly colluding on this biography, which follows his expose of her relationship with Margaret in the recent Elizabeth and Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters.
William at 40: The Making of a Modern Monarch, by Robert Jobson, Ad Lib Publishers, £20
Experienced royal reporter Robert Jobson follows Prince William’s journey from child to future king and like Tina Brown, he has a few revelations about the Duke of Cambridge’s personality away from the public eye in his book, out June 9. He confirms William has an explosive temper and can be moody, unpredictable and belligerent. He also lays bare his relationship with Charles and Harry. According to Jobson, Andrew’s disgrace and William’s rift with his brother, has seen him develop a steely determination about the future.
Prince Harry’s memoir, Penguin Random House
The book that is causing the biggest headache isn’t even out yet. The tell-all autobiography is due later this year and expected to contain seismic revelations about unhappy Harry’s “truth”. According to the publishers, the prince will “share, for the very first time, the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him”. What that means, says Tina Brown, is he’ll go after Charles, Camilla and William. “William was disgusted about Meghan’s attack on Kate because she can’t answer back,” she told The UK’s Telegraph. “But that’s nothing compared to how furious he’s going to be when this book comes out.”
Harry and Meghan’s first family trip to the Palace
The Sussexes have confirmed, yes, they’re bringing Archie and Lilibet to the UK for the Jubilee and their first visit as a family to see Great-Granny and the family.
This Friday they made this happy news official: “Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are excited and honoured to attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children,” their PR team stated. Archie, who turned three on Thursday, has not seen his royal relatives since he was a baby and sister Lilibet, who will celebrate her first birthday in the UK in the middle of the Jubilee - on June 4 - will meet her extended family for the first time.
The Sussexes shared the news 17 minutes after Buckingham Palace ruled them out of an appearance on the balcony for Trooping the Colour. The Queen had already decided only those “currently undertaking official public duties” will be on the balcony on June 2. This banishes Prince Andrew, too.
According to the UK Telegraph, the Palace is at pains to stress the Sussexes will be welcomed to “family events” at the Jubilee. For the sake of both Lilibets, let’s hope this is the start of a new era in happier royal family relations.
Kate and Charlotte’s big week
Both mum and daughter had a memorable time this week, as Princess Charlotte celebrated her seventh birthday on Monday and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, honoured British fashion at The Design Museum. The Duchess finished the week with an important message regarding maternal mental health.
As is the Cambridge birthday tradition, Charlotte’s big day was marked with a series of snaps taken by Mum. Looking cute in a £19 Next shirt and Ralph Lauren jumper, we were also cooing over the first pic of cocker spaniel Orla – the family’s new pet.
On Wednesday, fashion-forward Catherine wore a belted green ‘Pedernal’ dress by British-Canadian designer Edeline Lee to present British-Guyanese designer, Saul Nash, with The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. “It is an absolute honour to be here today,” she said. “I’ve heard so many inspiring stories about Britain’s creativity and seeing such incredible work from many talented designers.”
Catherine made another speech on Friday, with the announcement she was now patron of Maternal Mental Health Alliance. “We all know that pregnancy, childbirth and the first months and years of a child’s life can be hugely demanding,” she said.
The royal puddings are served
Bakers of the world assemble! Mary Berry and the Duchess of Cornwall are crowning the winning Platinum Jubilee pudding this week and The Royal List can’t wait. On Tuesday, a shortlist of five recipes was revealed, out of the 5,000 entries in the baking competition launched by royal grocer Fortnum & Mason and The Big Jubilee Lunch.
The fab five hoping to be crowned perfect royal pud are:
* Jubilee Bundt cake
* Amaretti trifle
* Rose Falooda cake
* Lemon Swiss roll
* Passion fruit and thyme frangipane tart
Camilla and Dame Mary will announce the winner during a special programme, The Queen’s Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years In The Baking, on BBC One at 8pm this Thursday.
Queen’s corgis made into puppets
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant promises to be a spectacular event topping off the four-day celebrations, and one truly barking brilliant bit involves these corgi puppets. Each one has been recreated in the likeness of Her Majesty’s beloved pets by Coventry-based Imagineer.
The puppets are part of ‘The Queen’s Favourites’ section of the parade, which also includes a recreation of her favourite pony. The June 5 pageant will see The Gold State Coach, which has been used in Royal Coronations and Jubilees since it was built in 1762, take a lead in the procession which starts from Westminster, along The Mall to Buckingham Palace.