Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Book Review: The People's Princess by Flora Harding

Pages: 400
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pub. Date:  March 31, 2022
Publisher: One More Chapter
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Before the Crown
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Buckingham Palace, 1981 Her engagement to Prince Charles is a dream come true for Lady Diana Spencer but marrying the heir to the throne is not all that it seems. Alone and bored in the palace, she resents the stuffy courtiers who are intent on instructing her about her new role as Princess of Wales… But when she discovers a diary written in the 1800s by Princess Charlotte of Wales, a young woman born into a gilded cage so like herself, Diana is drawn into the story of Charlotte’s reckless love affairs and fraught relationship with her father, the Prince Regent. As she reads the diary, Diana can see many parallels with her own life and future as Princess of Wales. The story allows a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in the palace, the tensions in Diana’s relationship with the royal family during the engagement, and the wedding itself. "




It's 1981 and Lady Diana Spencer is going to marry Prince Charles. This should be a very happy time, but instead it's been very difficult for Diana.  She has to deal with a lot of time spent alone at the palace, Charles's close relationship with Camilla; plus, her own insecurities.  While at the palace, she discovers Princess Charlotte of Wales's diary and as she reads it, she becomes more and more intrigued by this woman.  Diana realizes that even though Charlotte lived in the 1800s, she shares more in common with her than not.  They both have tumultuous relationships with their elders, they both live in a gilded cage, they both have high expectations placed on them, and they both have dealt with difficult romances. Even though both women are well loved by the public, ultimately, it won't save them from their fate.  Flora Harding's The People's Princess is an interesting glimpse into Lady Diana's life during her engagement as well as a captivating tale about the lesser known Princess Charlotte.  

If readers are familiar with Diana's time in the palace before her wedding, it won't come as a surprise to find out Diana is supremely unhappy. She is finding it difficult to connect with Charles, she resents his relationship with Camilla, she is feeling trapped, and quite honestly, an after thought.  When she comes across Princess Charlotte's diary, it's almost like someone threw her a life raft. She can recognize so many similarities between Charlotte and herself as they are both living an outwardly beautiful life, but are trapped in a cage of expectations.  Diana is also dealing with her insecurities as well as bulimia. It's very sad and frustrating at times as she clearly needs help. Readers must not forget that she is only nineteen as I think that really puts things in perspective in The People's Princess.

Even though I am a big fan of Diana, I found myself gravitating more towards Charlotte's story which was really captivating as I already had a lot of prior knowledge regarding Diana's.  How did I not know about Princess Charlotte before reading The People's Princess? I was utterly captivated by her story, her plight, and her untimely death. Honestly, it broke my heart, and the similarities between Diana and Charlotte were definitely shocking at times.  Readers can't help but wonder what would have happened if Charlotte would have been Queen? What would that look like now as her death really upset the monarchy and succession.

If you are a fan of the Royals as well as The Crown, give The People's Princess a try this spring. While I didn't enjoy The People's Princess as much as Harding's Before the Crown, it was a satisfying tale and the parts depicting Charlotte have definitely sparked my interest in her life.

So, are you a fan of the Royals? Do you like reading books about them? Is The People's Princess on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below. 

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