From Amazon.com: “There have been seven Princess Royals throughout British history, the inaugural of whom was Princess Mary, the eldest daughter of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, followed by Princess Anne (daughter of King George II), Princess Charlotte (daughter of King George III), Princess Victoria (daughter of Queen Victoria), Princess Louise (daughter of King Edward VII), and Princess Mary (daughter of King George V). The current holder of the title, Princess Anne, emerges from this background, clearly demonstrating how the role or Princess Royal has evolved over the generations into one of duty and personal achievement.
Drawing on royal letters, journals and associated material, the author’s fascinating pen captures the first four decades of Princess Anne’s life, from playful child and stylish teenager to champion rider and tireless campaigner for good causes. Along the way are royal engagements and regimental dinners, a love affair with a Dragoon and a terrifying kidnap attempt.”
If you follow the blog, then you know that I’ll read anything about the British royals, past and present. When NetGalley offered me a chance to read The Princess Royal: From Princess Mary to Princess Anne (Amazon), I knew I just had to read it. I received a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review.
The first half of the book goes through the origin of the title Princess Royal, which dates back to the Stuart era. There were a few others as the years went on, but it’s interesting to note that the title was only used seven times, and three of the princesses were in the 20th century. It was interesting to read about these princesses, since little mention was given to them in my previous readings of royal history. The history of the first six princesses takes up the first half of the book.
The second half of the book focuses on Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter and current Princess Royal. I did not know much about the princess, other than stories of her on the periphery of her mother, father, or brother, Charles, the Prince of Wales.
One of the things I always enjoy with books about the royals is that sometimes you get a glimpse into the inner workings of the Royal Family. The stories of Princess Anne’s early life and her closeness to Prince Charles was sweet to read about, It became clear early on that though the two had genuine affection for each other, they are very different in personality. Princess Anne is always described as being more like her father, the rather matter of fact, blunt, the late Duke of Edinburgh.
With that said, it’s no surprise that Princess Anne has always had a busy work schedule. She really is on of the busiest members of the working Royal Family. But at least here in the United States, you don’t hear much about her work. Maybe it’s different in Great Britain. Or maybe it’s that get-on-with-it attitude that makes her less exciting to write about in the press. I became very impressed with the hard-working ethic of the princess and the breadth of her charitable work.
But here’s my big beef. This book was published in 1988, and a whole lot has happened to Anne in the time since this book was first published. The Princess Royal was not updated when it was re-released. I understand the author has since passed, but it makes me wonder why the book was offered up through NetGalley at all. I did feel a bit deceived, as I wanted to know more about Anne and the breakdown of her marriage and relationship with her children and you know, anything that’s happened to her in this century, too. So while I do recommend this book if you want to learn more about Princess Anne, you’ll be short-changed of the last thirty years of service.
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