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Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage Paperback – November 17, 2006


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Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage + Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (November 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393329496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393329490
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,247,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Princess Elizabeth fell for Prince Philip in 1939, when she was 13 and he, 18. But though Philip was a direct descendent of Queen Victoria, some at court thought him an unsuitable match. But as longtime royal acquaintance Brandreth shows, Philip has been the perfect mate: dutiful, loyal, hard-working and deeply respectful. As Brandreth makes clear, the marriage has succeeded not only because Philip loves his wife, but because he understands the nature of royal life. Social and outgoing, Philip balances the queen's reserve. He's also likely the only person who has ever threatened her and gotten away with it: Brandreth relates how Philip grew so fed up with his wife's wordless but potent backseat driving that he told her to stop or he'd put her out of the car. She stopped. Brandreth goes to great and mostly convincing lengths to disprove rumors of the Prince's extramarital affairs and the queen's tendency to lavish more affection on her corgis and horses than on her family. But the biggest surprise here is the portrayal of the royal couple as typical married folks: the prince thinks the queen spends too much time on the telephone, and she has no qualms about telling him to shut up. 40 pages of illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Thoughtful and outrageous . . . chirpy, energetic. . . . Intrusive, sympathetic, wholly original, often hilarious . . . unfailingly interesting.” (Mail on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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For me, it has been a real page turner.
Diane Lindenberger
It is an open book with good insight and worth reading.
AlineDobbie
Very witty remarks, a lot of them in parenthesis.
Judith Noone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Huston on December 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Judith Noone on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Diane Lindenberger on April 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By suetonius on March 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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.
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