The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor—the Truth and the Turmoil

Crown. Apr. 2022. 592p. ISBN 9780593138090. $35. BIOG
Brown (the former Tatler and Vanity Fair editor in chief, and author of The Diana Chronicles and The Vanity Fair Diaries) uses research and interviews to chronicle the events of the British monarchy since Princess Diana’s 1997 death. The book backtracks somewhat to discuss Queen Elizabeth’s courtship and marriage to Prince Philip and the rocky marriages of their children, but Brown focuses more on contemporary events like the weddings of Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, and Harry and Meghan. Brown investigates the scandals of Sarah, Duchess of York; the deaths of the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Prince Philip; and Harry and Meghan’s move to the United States. She also looks into accusations against the disgraced Prince Andrew and his association with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Brown vividly describes the events and the personalities of the royal family, captures the essence of royal life, and shares numerous amusing anecdotes, but is also somewhat bristly and reveals her biases. For instance, she blames the Spencer family (not infidelity) for the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage. It’s also clear that Brown is not a fan of Harry or Meghan: her book often refers to Harry as “emotionally fragile” and uses Meghan’s estranged father as a primary (and negative) source.
VERDICT An intriguing account of the royals that should provoke much discussion (and many arguments). Fans of the British royals and royal history will be seeking out Brown’s book, particularly as 2022 is Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee year.
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