From Publishers Weekly
London journalist and longtime Windsor-watcher Junor (Home Truths, Charles: Victim or Villian?, Charles and Diana: Portrait of a Marriage, etc.) considers the British royal family's continuation into the 21st century in this sympathetic account, covering Diana's death to the present day. The explanation, Junor believes, lies both in the "magic" of the monarchy and in the family's organization into the titular businesslike entity, a phrase coined by Prince Philip. She asserts that the value of the monarchy-during this era without hierarchy, deference and respect-is to act as "a fixture in this morass" of modern life. Junor has met nearly all the royals, as well as many of their associates, and her observations plus long excerpts from interviews give the book an insider feel. This is a favorable, respectful portrait: Junor tempers any criticisms with admiring descriptions of the royals' good deeds, especially their charity work. And despite the book's subtitle, she doesn't dwell on the royal scandals, focusing instead on the details of her subjects' lives and personalities. This approach generates some extraneous chapters, such as the passage exploring the minutia of the Queen's private interests (e.g. horses). However, this book's depth and gentle commentary on a subject usually dominated by tabloid exposés should gratify those with an affectionate interest in Britain's monarchy. Color photos.
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It is as a family-owned and -operated company that veteran royalty-watching British journalist Junor examines the contemporary British monarchy. Her book, then, reads like a company history, from the House of Windsor's recent PR mistakes and accomplishments to what goes on in "board" meetings (i.e., what the royal family talks about among themselves). The author acknowledges her monarchist beliefs, seeing the good of the institution for Britain and forecasting its continuance. She admits her appraisal is subjective, but obvious, too, is her considerable knowledge and well-balanced perceptions. Insisting that "it is very easy to lose touch with reality if your life is spent at Buckingham Palace," Junor sees the damage done to the monarchy by the disastrous marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and, rather astonishingly, she lays considerable blame for the problems of the House of Windsor over the past two decades at the feet of Camilla Parker Bowles--or, rather, at Charles' feet for refusing to give her up long ago. Subjective, yes, but a solid analysis of the monarchy. Brad HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved