A truly terrible book.
I’ve reviewed hundreds of books and my usual style is to review only books that I enjoy. But today I’m making an exception and writing about a book that is, quite honestly, terrible. It’s the first time I’ve ever done so.
The reason for this is that the book is written by a best-selling American author and so-called ‘specialist’, and this supposedly factual book is a combination of fiction, gossip from tabloid newspapers and is full of factual errors.
You see, it seems that the United States of America has an ample supply of ‘experts’ and this author claims to be an expert on the British royal family. (You can read about another example of USA experts here). And as just about everyone knows, a great way to ensure that you laugh all the way to the bank is by writing something ‘controversial’ about the royal family. (British tabloids specialise in this).
So, what is the book about?
The author has decided that there are three queens (or rather, one queen and two queens-to-be) who are the fiercest of rivals. They are of course Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge (who, incidentally, the author refers to as ‘Kate’ throughout the book.)
And his opinions of these three are firmly fixed in place. They are described on the book’s inner sleeve as:
- Queen Elizabeth: ‘A wily stateswoman’
- Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: ‘A celebrated homewrecker’
- Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge: ‘A fashion idol’
So you can see that we have a certain amount of bias and prejudice here before we even start the book. And naturally, the book wouldn’t be as financially rewarding for the author had he not mentioned (extensively) that other potential queen-to-be, Diana, Princess of Wales.
So taking the premise that the queen is ‘wily, Camilla is a ‘homewrecker’ and Catherine is an ‘idol’ then you have some idea of what this book is like. (Diana, of course, is some sort of saintly figure who was ‘blocked by Camilla from forging an emotional connection with her husband’ so was forced by the situation to ‘take lovers of her own’). See what I mean?
Factual errors and strange sources
The book is full of factual errors which immediately makes the reader realise that the book is largely nonsense. If he can’t get basic facts right, (such as how long Charles and Diana had been married when Prince William was born) then it’s safe to assume that his ‘revelations’ aren’t factual either.
As for his sources, many are the aforementioned tabloid newspapers, but one simply made me laugh out loud. In the book, the author states firmly that the queen ‘has a fondness for knee-length, floral-print Liberty of London nightgowns’. In the section at the end of the book which cites the sources, this is attributed to Michael Fagan.
Michael Fagan was a nutcase who broke into Buckingham Palace and entered the queen’s bedroom in 1982. He said at the time ‘her nightie was one of those Liberty prints and it was down to her knees’. So the author actually acknowledges in the sources section of the book that the information came from a man who committed an offence and was then sent to a psychiatric hospital.
Andersen is adamant that the old chestnut about Prince Harry not being Charles’ son is true. (Oh dear, not that old story again). And he is obsessed with ‘class’ (I find that Americans tend to be).
The author makes certain predictions in the book too. Note that it’s copyright is © 2016 and the author predicts that the queen ‘will abdicate’ on her ninetieth birthday. She reached the age of ninety on April 21st, 2016.
The author appears to know very little about the English way of life. I could quote many examples but here are some favourites:
- Prince Philip eats scones with his full English breakfast. Simply so wrong. Scones are for afternoon tea
- The queen likes ‘haute cuisine’ such as salmon and venison. Well, it’s a few years since I have been in England but salmon and venison were freely available to all, even we ‘commoners’ as the author likes to call us, at most supermarkets. Hardly posh
- Prince Charles is autocratic because he insists that his breakfast toast in served in a toast rack. Even the most lowly bed & breakfast in the land serves toast on racks as it prevents it from going soggy. Don’t people use toast racks in the USA?
But here’s my absolute favourite:
Prince Charles’ toilet paper
Oh yes, according to the author the ‘pampered and demanding’ Prince Charles uses, and always travels with, ‘toilet paper embroidered with the Prince of Wales crest’.
Oh, cruel Prince Charles. Can’t you just visualise the poor, downtrodden, faithful retainer who has the job of embroidering Prince Charles’ toilet paper? Sitting in a hovel on the estate, straining his or her eyes to the point of blindness, performing the same embroidery task over and over and over…. just so that the royal arse can be wiped in style? What nonsense.
And anyway, wouldn’t embroidered toilet paper be, well, somewhat scratchy?
I now see that many of the reviewers of this book agree with me. See them here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR