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Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten Paperback – November 7, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lady Pamela’s memoir will appeal to those who like to take a peek into the lifestyles of the royal and famous. Underneath the glamour and glitz, this brief autobiography has a bit more substance, since Hicks was the daughter of Lady and Lord Mountbatten, cousin-in-law to Queen Elizabeth II, and an eyewitness to and a participant in some of the most momentous events of the twentieth century (especially from a British perspective). Of special note is her description of life in India during the transition to independence and her role as lady-in-waiting to the Queen during the royal world tour of 1954. Rather than exercising the “poor little rich girl” approach popular with many emotionally neglected daughters of fortune, Hicks adopts a more sanguine tone, reveling in the rich texture of her life and experiences. --Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Unsurprisingly, Pamela became one of the two ladies-in-waiting to accompany the Princess on her 1952 Commonwealth tour. Queen Mary told her: "You must remember that you will be "in-waiting" and so you are to call her "Princess Elizabeth" and "Ma'am" and never Lilibet. It was from that tour that Elizabeth returned as Queen, and Pamela's description of how the Princess learned of the death of her father, King George VI, is very moving. Anne de Courcy, MAIL ON SUNDAY After India she writes as a participant of such well-known set-pieces as the current queen's wedding, her coronation and her first commonwealth tour. These are described with charm, geniality and a sense of humour. David Gilmour, THE SPECTATOR Lady Pamela's portrait of her upbringing by two remarkable parents is affectionate and spirited. Claudia Fitzherbert, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH There are also some touching behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Queen, to whom the writer was lady-in-waiting both before and after her coronation. She writes movingly of their tour of Kenya, when the message came that the king was dead. This devastating news had to be relayed to the new young queen, who received it with quiet dignity. Jad Adams, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH A jolly romp TATLER It's a uniquely intimate glimpse of the Queen few really know. In this captivating memoir, her cousin reveals a playful and surprisingly emotional woman DAILY MAIL A memoir of an aristocratic upbringing and coming of age YOUR FAMILY TREE Lady Pamela Hicks recounts her life as a Mountbatten in this colourful and entertaining memoir. The daughter of heiress Edwina Ashley and Lord Louis Mountbatten, the former Lady in Waiting to our present Queen Elizabeth can trace her roots back to the 9th century and count two saints among her ancestors. Jam-packed with familiar characters from history, this is a wonderful tale of a life less ordinary FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE

Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co (November 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178022284X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780222844
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.9 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,413,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Lady Pamela Hicks is the daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife, Edwina. She is cousin to both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. She is the widow of famed designer David Hicks and the mother of three. As the result of her birth and marriage, she has witnessed first hand some of the most important events in mid-20th century English history. Her new book, "Daughter of Empire", is a chronicle of the first 30 or so years of her life.

Lady Pamela has written about her life - recounting events - as if from a remove. I have the feeling that part of that is natural reserve, but she does not reflect on much that's happened. As a reader, it takes a bit of getting used to, but its also nice not to have to endure an author's gushy self-analysis. Things happened, relationships came and went, and as a child - the younger of two daughters of the Mountbattens - Pamela lived in a world of parents having lovers who were welcomed as part of the nuclear family. Her father went his way - in his naval career - and her mother traveled a lot with her boyfriend, sending Pamela and Patricia lovely missives from wherever she was in the world. The 1930's passed this way for Pamela, who was under the care of her grandmother and various nannies. She'd see her parents at times, and the family members were always glad to be together again, but then, off Dickie and Edwina would go.

Wartime was spent partly in the United States where she was sent for a year or so of safekeeping, but she returned to England to help out with the war effort. It was after the war, at the age of 17, when Pamela really began to live life. Her parents were sent to India, as Lord Mountbatten was appointed by George VI as the last Viceroy of India.
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Format: Hardcover
As usual, I received this book for free. This time it showed up in the mail through the kind and generous grace of a GoodReads giveaway. Despite this generosity, I give my candid opinions below.

The book centers on the whirlwind years of the author's first three decades of life. In that time she finds herself in every corner of the realm and witness to many of the epic moments and best-known personages of the times. She spends the war with the Vanderbilts and is traveling with Princess Elizabeth at the moment she ascends to the status of Queen. Her childhood and adolescence make for some truly enviable moments.

On the positive side, the text is well constructed and very flowing and conversational. We're introduced to quite a bit of history and seldom-used vocabulary. It's reminiscent of having a long night of conversation with your own grandmother as Mrs. Hicks seems to speak from a position of great wisdom. Most notably, unlike many memoirs of the elite, this one carries not even a whisper of pretentiousness. Hicks shares her memorable and sometimes amusing life with us in an almost matter-of-fact manner. Related, despite some sad moments she is never complaining or seeking sympathy from the reader. Everything, no matter how good or bad is just presented as you might see it in a history book.

Sadly, it is this detachment that makes for the primary negative of this book. The author relates the events of her life with great detail and clarity but they are simply events and seem to have no impact on the author. She's like a reporter impassively reporting on the facts of the matter. Further, so much time and history is covered that it's sometimes difficult to keep track of exactly what's going on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An all too brief recalling of her adventures firstly as the daughter of parents who really helped to make history during the breakup of India then as a Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II. No frills but straightforward and extremely interesting
full of historical facts! An entertaining and interesting read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pamela (Mountbatten) Hicks is the daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and Edwina Cassel. Louis's parents were Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg. Princess Victoria's sisters were Alexandra (the last Tsarina of Russia); Elizabeth (wife of Duke Sergei who was uncle to Nicholas II); and Irene (wife of Prince Heinrich of Prussia who was a brother of the war-monger Kaiser William). Princess Victoria also had a brother, Ernie. Lord Mountbatten's sister was Princess Alice of Greece whose son is Philip Duke of Edinburgh, husband of the current queen, Elizabeth II. Edwina's family, the Cassels, were extremely wealthy. This kind of explains why Louis and Edwina got married. He had a rich family background and she just had plenty of riches. This book is a quick and very interesting read. The author writes in a factual style with minimal analysis and light commentary. There are several pages of photographs in this book both from their family album and one or two "official" photos. As a cousin of the current queen, I suspect that she kept out much of the really "juicy" stuff so if that is one's expectation, it will not be met. However, she does provide wonderful and fascinating information about the independence of India and about her participation in Princess Elizabeth's tour during which her father, the King, died and she flew back to England as a Queen. This book covers the time period from before the author's birth to the end of the Queen's world tour. I was fascinated that the author wrote about her mother, Edwina, with relative honesty. Edwina was definitely not "mother" or "wife" material.Read more ›
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