Rating: 4 Stars
This really is not a book that needed to be written. It is full of all the usual gossip we have been hearing about for years all the crap about Camilla (barf) and Charles (double-barf) carrying on with their affair, Harry not being Charles' son, Elizabeth and Philip being cold and unloving parents, etc. On the other hand, it is exactly what you would want and expect if you are obsessed with the House of Windsor. It is every tabloid article ever, condensed into a book. I am kind of embarrassed to say that I plowed through this one in about three and a half hours, I just could not put it down. That does not mean the content is academic, or that it is a great literary work, but if you love to read about the royal family, it does serve its purpose. Unfortunately I am part of the problem, as if people would stop reading this kind of stuff, then there would be little incentive to publish it. And perhaps William and Harry especially could be regarded as real people, instead of being gawked at all the time.
Basically, the book looks at Elizabeth II, Camilla, and Kate, comparing the women and how they are shaping the future of the throne. Elizabeth, of course, is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Camilla is a home-wrecking devil, and Kate is the one everyone would actually want to become queen after Elizabeth. Time and again the author addresses several facts regarding Camilla and Charles; how many would rather see William become king next, that Charles said Camilla would never be crowned but has since gone back on his word, etc.
Really, this review is about to become a diatribe against Charles and Camilla and cheating. This book just reiterates the fact that they're both terrible people who deserve each other, and unfortunately Diana suffered as a result. Not only that, but William and Harry suffered greatly as well. Can you imagine, week in and week out, your family's personal affairs being splashed all over the pages of every newspaper and magazine around the world? Is anyone surprised that Harry acted out the way he did? He had the luxury to do so, something William was never afforded - being third in-line and all. Diana and Charles' whole marriage was just so heartbreaking, and Camilla and Charles seemed to enjoy the game, it is just insufferable. And then to try and make Diana look as though she was crazy? I know Diana was not perfect and she certainly had her own flaws, but how much of her behavior was brought on by the way Charles treated her? Ugh, just yuck.
I wish once an for all this whole issue of who Harry's father is could be put to rest. The author points out at least twice when Harry was looking "less like a Windsor and more like a Hewitt". We get it, Diana had affairs too. It's a big deal because Harry is 5th in line to the throne. But there was reportedly a paternity test done - though of course whatever results they wanted to report could be stated as truth and we would never know for sure. I'd like to think at this point however, the truth would be out. And perhaps it does not even matter. Or perhaps Harry knows the truth and Hewitt is his father. Really, it is not our business. It's just not fair to Harry, either way. He's had this hanging over him his whole life and probably will forever. I'd like to think he knows for certain, so at least he has some kind of closure and peace of mind.
While the book as a whole is pretty tacky, one part I truly thought was weird was the imagining of Queen Elizabeth's death. It was weird and I did not like it. This author did the same thing in one of his books about JFK Jr., imagining the last moments of his life before his small plan crashed in the ocean. It's creepy and weird. We get it, Elizabeth will (likely) have to pass on for either Charles or William to become king, but it is not something we need to plan out. That's the kind of thing that would get you executed in Henry VIII's day. As an aside, the idea of abdication is an interesting one. It would be fabulous if Charles would abdicate. William is much more popular, and younger, and Kate is far more queenly than Camilla. I mean, as queenly as a 'commoner' can be of course, right? And seriously, no one wants to see Camilla as queen. No one. Nor do I really want to see Charles crowned king. The author insinuates should this happen, it might mean the end of the House of Windsor. That would not be such a great thing.
So, in the end, this is nothing more than gossip at both its best and worst. It's a very new publication (my library system just got it this month), so it is the most up-to-date as can be, outside of daily and weekly gossip publications. Please though, do not spend the money on it. If you are, like me, part of the problem and have to read it, check it out from the library instead. Everyone is manipulating and conniving (except William and Harry - there's actually very little mention of Harry at all), even Kate's family. You'll thank your lucky stars time and again to not be born into the House of Windsor.