The Passions and Paradoxes of An Improbable LifeBook - 2017
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
Featured Blogs and Events
On August 31, 1997, a late-night car crash in a Parisian tunnel ended the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, mere months after she visited Chicago, yet her legacy as a humanitarian, mother and icon endures across the globe two decades later. Her Life Initially published only 11 years after her marriage, Diana secretly cooperated with Andrew Morton to give the world a revelatory personal accoun… (more)
From Library Staff
Prince Charles is one of the most recognizable figures of the 21st century, mainly because he was married to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. He holds the unenviable record for being the longest-running heir apparent in British history. Sally Bedell Smith has written a well-researched and balan... Read More »