When a young Princess Elizabeth met and fell in love with the dashing Naval Lieutenant Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, it wasn’t without its problems. The romance between the sailor prince and the young princess brought a splash of colour to a nation still in the grip of post-war austerity. When they married in Westminster Abbey in November 1947, there were 3000 guests, including six kings and seven queens. Within five years, as Queen Elizabeth II, she would ascend to the throne and later be crowned in front of millions watching through the new medium of television.
Throughout her record-breaking reign until Prince Philip’s death on 9 April 2021, she relied on the formidable partnership she had made with her consort. Now, acclaimed royal biographer Ingrid Seward sheds new light on their relationship and its impact on their family and on the nation.
In My Husband and I, we discover the challenges faced by Prince Philip as he had to learn to play second fiddle to the Queen in all their public engagements, but we also get a revealing insight into how their relationship operated behind closed doors. As the years went by, there were rumours of marital troubles, fierce debates over how to bring up their children, and they had to deal with family traumas – from scandalous divorces to shocking deaths – in the full glare of the public eye. But somehow, their relationship endured and provided a model of constancy to inspire all around them. This book is not only a vivid portrait of a hugely important marriage, it is a celebration of the power of love.
My Husband and I (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (AbeBooks) (Audible) is the amazing story of the one and only love of the late Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. I’ve read or listened to so many books on the royal family, could Ingrid Seward add anything new to the discussion of the royal couple?
There’s not much new to reveal with both Elizabeth and Philip’s early years and courtship; that has been well-documented, but Seward makes the material seem fresh and new with her writing style. What makes this book different is that the discussion of their family life and relationships with all four of their children is explored more in-depth than I previously thought. We all know from Charles’ biographies that he really struggled to have a relationship with both his mother and his father, but Seward also goes into the couple’s relationship with their other three children. How Anne was always her father’s favorite because she was the most like him. I thought it interesting that Seward claims that Andrew was an accident, when from what I knew the queen and duke wanted more children and both Andrew and Edward were the happy byproduct of that decision. She also claims that Edward was the queen’s favorite, when anyone can tell it was always Andrew.
As far as divorces go, Anne and Andrew’s divorces aren’t given many pages because there’s so much more to say about Charles and Diana. There’s a lot more insight into especially Philip’s take on the Prince and Princess of Wales’ breakdown with their marriage, including letters he wrote to Diana to try and get her to be reasonable and offer his support, as another outsider who had to learn how to conform to palace ways. Yet, Seward fails to put any blame on Prince Charles and his affair with now wife, Camilla. The blame rests solely on Diana.
Overall, this is a sympathetic look at the late Elizabeth II and Prince Philip and reinforces the sense of duty, the steadfastness and stability they offered to their countrymen and women during 70 years of tumultuous changes in Great Britain and around the world. If you’re a fan of the royal family, you won’t want to miss this book.
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