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Hardcover Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage Book

ISBN: 0393061132

ISBN13: 9780393061130

Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

An account of the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh offers insight into their contrasting childhoods in spite of a similar ancestry, and the enigmatic nature of their long-time partnership.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Enjoyable well-written biography of Prince Philip and the Queen

I became interested in reading more about the life of the Queen and her husband after seeing "Windsor Castle: A Royal Year." Prince Philip is the star of one of the hours of that multi-part documentary. He came across as a down-to-earth man of many interests about whom I wanted to learn more. I purchased this book mainly interested in it as a biography of Prince Philip. Prince Philip of Greece had a difficult early life. He was the youngest son of Prince Andrea of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenburg/Milford-Haven. His three older sister all married German nobles. The Greek royal family was subject to on-again off-again exile. His parents were separated after their exile. Not having any Greek ancestry, the Greek royal family was in a precarious position in the early part of the twentieth century. Philip had no fixed permanent residence for much of his life before marrying Princess Elizabeth. As a great great grandson of Queen Victoria, he is 550th or so in line for the British monarchy himself. Philip lived with various relatives and went to school in Germany and later Gordonstoun in Scotland. He served in the British Navy and famously was first photographed with Princess Elizabeth at the Royal Naval College. At the Battle of Cape Matapan Philip was manning a searchlight and had the good fortune to illuminate an Italian (enemy) ship resulting in devastating fire being directed at that ship. Philip and Elizabeth were married in 1947. Elizabeth became Queen upon the death of her father five years later. Philip duties in supporting the Queen have involved endless ceremonial events and public appearances for over sixty years, and continues to maintain a full schedule of public functions into his late eighties. Author Brandeth take pains to dismiss all claims of Philip's famously alleged infidelity as untrue both by reason of his loyalty to the Queen and by virtue of logistic impossibility. He even explains Philip's absence from the Queen's bed early in the morning on July 9, 1982 when a deranged man sneaked into Buckingham Palace. The lunatic sat on the Queens bed talking to her until she was able to summon her guard. The man later admitted that he intended to commit suicide in the Queen's presence. Brandeth explains that Philip and the Queen normally share the same bed but on that morning Philip slept alone having travel plans that would require him to get up unusually early. Brandeth places most of the blame for the difficult relationship between Diana and the Royal couple on poor communication and especially to the immature and emotionally unstable Diana. Many very sensitive matters were discussed in letters rather than face-to-face leading to misunderstandings and later causing great embarrassment when those letters got into the hands of the press. Maintaining some privacy while living in the fishbowl of Palace life has been a matter of obsession for the Queen and Philip. Courtiers that have discussed royal personal business or, eve

Another Royal Book?

Having read a lot of books about the royals, I didn't know if I wanted to read another. I'm very glad I read this one. Enjoyed how it was written. Very witty remarks, a lot of them in parenthesis. Having the book notes at the bottom of the various pages was a great help. One can't help but read them. There was alot of info that I had read before, but Mr Brandreth gave a more balanced view. It was a fun read!

Prince Philip was born on a kitchen table on the island of Corfu

And other irrisistable tidbits make this book an honest and enchanting look at the British Royal family. For me, it has been a real page turner. I cannot put this book down. Yes, as one other reviewer pointed out, the book has many "footnotes" but they are packed with even more interesting information, and are not a problem to read. The stories Brandreth includes about the young Princess Elizabeth are charming as well. Scenes of her pulling her grandfather, King George V, by his beard, so that she could play "horse and groom" are priceless. "Lillibet", as he called her, was the apple of his eye, and he got down on all fours to play with her. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in British history and the current Royal Family.

An Informal And Positive Conversation About The Windsors

Gyles Brandreth begins his book with the assurance that he knows and admires Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Ordinarily this would mean that the book will be more hagiography than biography: utterly reverent, careful to ignore any negative aspects of its subject, and completely useless. Fortunately, this is not the case with Philip and Elizabeth. Brandreth writes to inform but also to entertain. He reveals the names of his informants (many of them cousins and/or other close friends of The Queen and Duke) and includes much of their interviews almost verbatim. This makes for a much more interesting read than the usual "those close to the palace maintain . . ." sort of thing. Brandreth also includes some of Prince Philip's own remarks and comments on the text (evidently The Duke read the manuscript well before publication), which adds an additional sparkle and means that this book is probably the closest we will ever get to an autobiography by The Prince himself. Much of the book is standard biography, giving parallel lives of The Queen and The Duke before and after their marriage. The sections dealing with Prince Philip are the liveliest, since Brandreth had quite a bit of cooperation with his subject and also because The Prince has led a much more colorful and eventful life (war, revolution, etc.) than has The Queen. I've read quite a bit of twentieth century royal history, but Brandreth includes material, including some very funny anecdotes, that I've never seen before. The Queen, being far more reticent than her husband, doesn't seem to have read the manuscript or otherwise collaborated with Brandreth, so the chapters dealing specifically with her life don't sparkle quite as much, but they make worthwhile reading nevertheless. Much of the most interesting information is given in the footnotes. This enhances the feeling that the reader is having a conversation with Brandreth, and rather than interrupt the flow of the story the footnotes increase the pleasure. Brandreth is particularly at pains to disprove the many unsavory rumors about Prince Philip's possible romantic affairs over the years. He does a good job of pointing out how obviously exagerrated and false some of the wilder stories are, but I can't help wondering whether Prince Philip's cousins, friends, and former servants/advisors were really as forthcoming about their knowledge of the Prince's activities as Brandreth claims they were. In the end, as Brandreth himself admits, there are still questions that only the Prince and The Queen themselves could answer completely. (Of course this applies to any married couple, and its unfortunate that interest in the lives of public figures extends so deeply into matters which are no one else's business.) The same thing applies to the various marital problems of the couple's four children, particularly those of The Prince of Wales and his late wife. Here Brandreth does a particularly good job of defending Princess Diana's in-law

A Revealing look at the House of Windsor.

When I started this book, I thought that it was going to be yet another listing of scandals, rumors, and other tattletale journalism. Instead, what I got was a sensitive, objective look at England's Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. While the author takes the traditional approach -- reviewing the couple's separate childhoods, and their married life together -- he does what many biographers don't do. He went to the sources to help dispell some of the rumors that surround the more private aspects of this royal marriage. For years I had thought that the Duke was a handsome, rather decorative, ram-his-foot-in-his-mouth, inbred idiot. What I discovered was a tough, honorable man who has grown up in desperate situations (exiled from his country of birth, watching hs mother suffer from mental illness, the breakup of his parent's marriage, service under combat in WWII, and being the source of wild rumors) who took the route of being a stoic, and knowing that he was going to be the lesser member of a very public relationship. While most of the book focuses on Philip, there are also some insights into the Queen's own psyche and life, and this makes for one of the best biographies on modern monarchy that I've read in a long, long time. Definately recommended and a real eye opener for anyone wanting to see the reality rather than salacious gossip.

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