The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
Sally Bedell Smith
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The life and loves of Prince Charles are illuminated in a major new biography from the New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth the Queen—perfect for fans of The Crown.
Sally Bedell Smith returns once again to the British royal family to give us a new look at Prince Charles, the oldest heir to the throne in more than three hundred years. This vivid, eye-opening biography—the product of four years of research and hundreds of interviews with palace officials, former girlfriends, spiritual gurus, and more, some speaking on the record for the first time—is the first authoritative treatment of Charles’s life that sheds light on the death of Diana, his marriage to Camilla, and his preparations to take the throne one day.
Prince Charles brings to life the real man, with all of his ambitions, insecurities, and convictions. It begins with his lonely childhood, in which he struggled to live up to his father’s expectations and sought companionship from the Queen Mother and his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten. It follows him through difficult years at school, his early love affairs, his intellectual quests, his entrepreneurial pursuits, and his intense search for spiritual meaning. It tells of the tragedy of his marriage to Diana; his eventual reunion with his true love, Camilla; and his relationships with William, Kate, Harry, and his grandchildren.
Ranging from his glamorous palaces to his country homes, from his globe-trotting travels to his local initiatives, Smith shows how Prince Charles possesses a fiercely independent spirit and yet has spent more than six decades waiting for his destined role, living a life dictated by protocols he often struggles to obey. With keen insight and the discovery of unexpected new details, Smith lays bare the contradictions of a man who is more complicated, tragic, and compelling than we knew, until now.
Praise for Prince Charles
“[Smith] understands the British upper classes and aristocracy (including the royals) very well indeed. . . . [She] makes many telling, shrewd points in pursuit of realigning the popular image of Prince Charles.”—William Boyd, The New York Times Book Review
“[A] masterly account.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Thoroughly researched and insightful . . . In this profile, it is clear [Smith] got inside the circular barriers that protect the man and his position. The Charles that emerges is, as the subtitle suggests, both a paradox and a creature of his passions.”—The Washington Times
“[A] compellingly juicy bio . . . Windsor-philes will be mesmerized.”—People
“Prince Charles paints an affectingly human portrait. . . . Smith writes about [Charles’s life] with a skill and sympathy she perfected in her 2012 biography of Charles’s mother.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Comprehensive and admirably fair . . . Until his accession to the throne, Smith’s portrait will stand as the definitive study.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[A] fascinating book that is not just about a man who would be king, but also about the duties that come with privilege.”—Walter Isaacson
“Sally Bedell Smith has given us a complete and compelling portrait of the man in the shadow of the throne. It’s all here, from the back stairs of the palaces to the front pages of the tabs.”—Tom Brokaw
A laundry list
Sadly the most boring biography I have ever read. Some may love it but to me it reads like a laundry list.
Insightful, balanced perspective. An interesting look into one of the leading figures of our time who is often not particularly well understood. Sally Bendell Smith offers an interesting perspective on Prince Charles as well as other members of the royal family.
Eyeopening and In-Depth Account
It was hard to reach the end of this book. I loved all the stories and information. One thing was inaccurate though, we all cared about Diana and would never say anything to the contrary in California.