Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The life and loves of Prince Charles are illuminated in a major new biography from the New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth the Queen--perfect for fans of The Crown.

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
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - etxgardener - LibraryThing

This is an unauthorized, but generally sympathetic biography of Prince Charles by the woman who wrote a biography of the queen a couple of years ago. It largely portrays Charles as a person man who ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hobbitprincess - LibraryThing

I didn't learn much that I didn't already know, but I did get a better sense of just how hard he works. I think Smith paints what is probably a fairly realistic picture of the true prince. He is, like ... Read full review

Contents

Preface
3
Cold Showers in the Morning
17
Heir to a Fortune
31
Nixon Plays Matchmaker
51
The Shadow of Camilla
67
Wild Oats
76
Searching for Meaning
93
Prince without a Princess
111
Media Makeover
339
Out of the Shadows
349
Cracking the Ice
359
Deaths in the Family
367
Blackadders Revenge
377
Hitched at Last
391
Camilla Joins the Firm
403
Royal Infighting
413

Diana Snares Her
123
Glamour and Heartache
145
Naming and Shaming
161
A Marriage in Shambles
173
Dangerous Liaisons
195
Butterfly Mind
205
Midlife Melancholy
217
Timeless Principles
231
Love Tape
241
Dianas Revenge
251
Wounded Feelings
271
Scarlet A
283
Three in a Marriage
295
Breathing the Same Air
303
Tragedy in Paris
317
No Ordinary Pilgrim
329
A Prince in Full
427
Rising Sons
439
On the Defensive
449
The Magnificent Seven
459
Rehearsing New Roles
471
The Shadow Kings Legacy
483
Dont Ever Stop
495
Acknowledgments
509
xiii
515
51
533
Bibliography
563
67
572
161
580
231
595
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About the author (2017)

Sally Bedell Smith is the author of bestselling biographies of Queen Elizabeth II; William S. Paley; Pamela Harriman; Diana, Princess of Wales; John and Jacqueline Kennedy; and Bill and Hillary Clinton. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1996, she previously worked at Time and The New York Times, where she was a cultural news reporter. In 2012, Smith was the recipient of the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence. She is the mother of three children and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Stephen G. Smith.

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