Thursday, February 22, 2018

Prince Charles - Sally Bedell Smith

Prince Charles
Title: Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
Author: Sally Bedell Smith
Publication Date: 4/4/2017
Pages: 624
Genre: Biography / Historical / Royals / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I've read Smith's biography of Queen Elizabeth II.
Date Completed: 2/10/18

Summary: A thorough, thoughtful biography of the man who has waited longer than anyone else for the British throne.

What I Thought: I've been doing a lot of royal reading lately. Books about royals are not uncommon for me, but I'm in the midst of quite a streak, specifically concerning Prince Charles and the late Princess of Wales. In December, I read the companion book to the second season of The Crown, which doesn't include Diana, but is about Prince Charles's parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. His portrayal gets some significant screen time as well. Then I picked up a book that HRH himself wrote regarding his views on conversation and all sorts of other things, Harmony. Plus, my wonderful secret sister got me the latest version of Andrew Morton's seminal biography of Diana. With all the back and forth between the famously feuding pair, it felt like the right time to finally read Sally Bedell Smith's biography of HRH. 

The contrast with Morton's biography of Diana was stark at points, but I feel like reading them back to back was a great call. It's evident to me that they were/are both deeply flawed people; they also both had/have some wonderful qualities, particularly in regard to their parenting. Despite everything, I've come away confident loving their boys - in their own ways - was a high priority to both parents. Despite all the other drama, it's clear how dearly William and Harry were/are loved, even if the expression of that love isn't always public or conventional.

This is really the first in-depth reading I have done about Prince Charles. I know so much about Diana, her boys, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen...really a lot of members of the royal family. I knew a lot about Charles's relationship with Camilla before reading this, but not much beyond that. Smith does an excellent job pointing out how, since getting married, Charles has consistently been relegated to a public backseat in contrast to his first wife and now children. He apparently wrestles with that reality; I can't necessarily blame him for that as it's that exact reality which has led me to know so much more about other members of his family and not much about him.

As with her biography of the Queen, Smith is extremely detailed and thorough. I learned so much about HRH. He has led quite an interesting life and one that doesn't conform to modern royalty in many ways. It will be so interesting to see how his unique personality manifests itself when he is on the throne, particularly in regard to his intense environmental and political beliefs. 

This is a long book, but I found it fascinating and, if you like the royal family, I'm sure you will, too. Every day we draw closer to the reign of King Charles III and I am certainly glad I took the time to learn more about his history and who he is as a person before we reach that point. I think having read this will give me a lot more context for the events leading up to and during his reign. Plus, it's just an interesting read. 

This book is part of my2018 TBR Challenge!
Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Possibly - maybe after Charles takes the throne.
If You Liked This, Try: Diana / Harmony / Game of Crowns / The Heir Apparent
Other Books By Sally Bedell Smith: Elizabeth the Queen

A Reduced Review: A thorough, thoughtful biography of the man who has waited longer than anyone else for the British throne, Prince Charles.

No comments:

Post a Comment