The Princess

Berkley. Aug. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9780593437308. pap. $17. F
Young Diana Spencer is in love with the idea of love. Having no contact with their mother after a custody battle, Diana and her three siblings are being haphazardly raised by their father and a series of boarding schools. At one boarding school, she befriends an outsider, Sandy, and introduces her to the charms of Barbara Cartland’s romance novels. Sandy is surprised by Diana’s family’s connections—Diana grew up playing with the Princes Andrew and Edward, and her grandmother knew the queen. Eventually, Sandy and Diana lose touch, only meeting again in 1992. At this point, the now Princess Diana recounts how her marriage to Prince Charles was orchestrated by figures like Diana’s grandmother, the Queen Mother, Prince Charles’s valet, and even press members. As she tells Sandy, it was too late by the time it was the eve of her wedding (with Diana realizing that Charles still only loved Camilla) to call the event off; Diana’s face was already on the tea towels.
VERDICT Holden’s (The Duchess) unique framing device allows readers to get an intimate look at the early life of Princess Di, giving them a fresh perspective on a woman whom many people feel they already know.
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