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Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten Hardcover – September 3, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476733813
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476733814
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

"Joyously entertaining...In what is arguably the poshest book that ever has or will be written, Hicks remembers it all with immense charm, wit, and brio, capturing a bygone world of country estates, glass cigarette holders kept in a petticoat pocket, sapphire-studded powder compacts, dials on bedroom doors turned to indicate when you'd like to be woken with tea and biscuits, and enough pets to populate an exotic zoo....entrancing." (The Daily Beast)

"If you are addicted to "Downton Abbey," chances are that you will relish Daughter of Empire, a British aristocrat's memoir of her childhood and coming of age…. Her contribution—and it is a valuable one—is to provide the personal details that make history come to life. She writes in a natural, conversational style, with a wry sense of humor. She is also a keen observer of a way of life now vanished, except on PBS.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Think Wodehouse with an R rating…Hicks has a talent for the telling detail and can deliver a line with an appealing and often amusing briskness.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Are you still recovering from royal-baby fever? Counting down the days until the newest season of “Downton Abbey”? A new memoir, Daughter of Empire, by Lady Pamela Hicks — whose father was Lord Louis Mountbatten, whose cousin is Prince Philip and whose great-great-grandmother was Queen Victoria — may be just what you need.…Lady Pamela presents an honest yet blithe portrayal of her famous, eccentric family and offers a glimpse into the inner circle of Britain’s royalty.” (The Washington Post)

"Fascinating, fizzy." (Harper's Bazaar)

"Not many people remain who can tell stories like Lady Pamela Hicks...." (Vanity Fair)

“More thought-provoking than some titles that have trickled out during the current popularity of TV’s “Downton Abbey.” This memoir has, along with personal narrative, a good helping of history – of a certain sort, told through the eyes of one very well-placed woman. To call Lady Pamela Hicks’s position a front-row seat is an underestimation of her vantage point; more to the fact, Hicks was a participant in many of these events. … And so, for its historical sweep and its uniquely vantaged window onto many important moments of the middle of the last century, Daughter of Empire is something for “Downton” fans – and even others interested in England, class and monarchy – to look out for.” (The Buffalo News)

"The story of Lady Hicks, who lived the kind of life we think of as only existing in books and movies, with nannies, governesses and all the trappings of the English elite....Many fans of Downton Abbey will certainly enjoy it." (Kirkus Reviews)

“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.” (Booklist)

“A life filled with celebrity-like happenings delivered with impeccable taste. Revealing, yet properly reserved.” (Historical Novels Review)

"Pamela Mountbatten has had a front row seat at many extraordinary historical events and, as this wonderfully entertaining memoir shows, the privilege has not been wasted on her. Her wry, intimate portraits of royals, politicians, and Hollywood stars are a joy to read." (Zoe Heller)

"This is a book which will give pleasure to everyone who reads it." (Antonia Fraser)

“Imagine Downton Abbey meets Oscar Wilde. Now read Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks, one of the most intimate accounts of turbulent domestic life in the shadow of world-altering events. . . . Two beautiful people, many continents, World War II, lots of distractions, and even more name-dropping. . . . What’s not to love?” (India Today)

"A glance at court life from the Mountbatten perspective. . . . Lady Pamela's portrait of her upbringing by two remarkable parents is affectionate and spirited." (Daily Telegraph)

“A jolly romp.” (Tatler)

“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)

"She writes . . . with charm, geniality and a sense of humor." (The Spectator)

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Customer Reviews

This book is a quick and very interesting read.
Reading Rocks
In that description, of course, it is not her personal details that are of paramount interest to the general public.
monsieurms
Excellent inside look of early/mid 20th century British empire and workings of the royal family.
Stephanie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 76 people found the following review helpful 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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 2, 2013
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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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Reading Rocks on July 20, 2013
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rob Slaven TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 6, 2013
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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