Customer Reviews: The Women of Windsor: Their Power, Privilege, and Passions
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on October 18, 2006
Don't be deceived by the cover of this book. This is the same old Windsor tale, written in a light and breezy manner. The idea of focusing specifically on these four women is an interesting idea, but the author only seems to remember the point in the last chapter. Instead, what we get is a pretty good portrait of the Queen Mother's early years, and then plow right into Windsor Lite-- standard fare, but certainly nothing new. A good book for starters, but don't be deceived here-- Princess Margaret and Princess Anne are not studied to any degree of depth, nor is Queen Elizabeth II probed and examined as any solid biography would demand.

Interestingly, Diana is in full force throughout the second half of the book because of her obvious impact on the Windsors. Also examined to some degree is Wallis Simpson, and this is important-- although she's an ambiguous character, her impact on the royals was perhaps greater than any other woman in that she literally shifted the course of the accession-- assuming Edward VIII was capable of fathering children, in which case the crown would have fallen to Elizabeth II anyway (as George V well knew).

Nearly invisible in the book is the indomitable Queen Mary, very much a Windsor, and largely responsible for setting the tone of the royal court in the first half of the 20th century-- and for moulding her granddaughter, Elizabeth, into the monarch she is today. This was probably some sort of marketing scheme-- the idea of putting the most well known women on the cover must have been too appealing. And sadly, the intelligent, complex and duty-bound Princess Anne, who truly does deserve a body of work dedicated to her own life, gets little more than superfluous treatment (as does Princess Margaret, who is basically written off as misunderstood, but superfluous in her own right-- haven't we heard all this before?).

Think of this book as Windsor Lite, a current "simple history" starting with Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon's youth and teen years, through her marriage to Bertie and ultimate accession to Queen Consort, through the highs of the coronation and declines of the 80s, ending with the death of Princess Diana. Nothing new here, and disappointing treatment of women who should be examined far more closely, but a decent job for those just getting to know the history of the royal family in the current century. Otherwise, move on.
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on March 20, 2007
Having said that, and speaking as an Anglophile, I still found the book hard to put down. It doesn't purport to be an in-depth history of any of these women and the only revelation that was new to me was the fact that Princess Margaret could indeed have married Peter Townsend after all by merely giving up her place in the royal line of succession. I did note with dismay, however, that the author stated Prince William's birthday as June 22 when in fact it is June 21. Might that mean there are other, more serious, errors?

If you're looking for juicy bits of gossip, this is not for you but if you want a short walk through the House of Windsor, I would add this to my reading list.
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on June 16, 2007
THE WOMEN OF WINDSOR has numerous confuse this book with a carefully researched history would be a major mistake for the serious reader. It is not true that Edward VIII "took the name of Edward when he came to the throne", Edward was the first of his given seven names, David being the last and employed by the royal famiy. The author tell us that the Duke of Edinburgh had Michael Parker stand as best man at the indeed... the best man was a Mountbatten cousin, David, Marquess of Milford Haven. The Duchy of Cornwall is NOT amongst the Queen's estates...her income derives from the Duchy of Lancaster...Cornwall belongs to The Prince of Wales. Barbara Cartland is not "the step- grandmother of Diana's step- mother, Raine"...Cartland was Raine's mother, thus Diana's step grandmother. The author indulges in a tirade against the eulogy given by Earl Spencer at Diana's funeral, omitting the fact that the congregation and thousands gathered outside the Abbey cheered his words. This poorly researched book was a disappointment. This book is facile, it is a folly.
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on March 14, 2011
It would be difficult to describe this compilation as a seriously researched book - it is, rather, a put-together of magazine and newspaper articles - which themselves may or may not be credible. The presentation will occasionally elicit groans for its vacuousness.

If you're looking for new stuff, don't waste your money.
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on November 14, 2007
This is mostly the same old story with a new cover. Some real light is shed on Princess Anne, and some new additions shed on the late Princess Margaret, but by & large its hard to separate this book from so many in the past. Check this book out from the library or borrow it from someone before buying it, unless your knowledge is basic, then its perhaps a great start to extending your knowledge and library on the Windsors.
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on January 6, 2014
A small view of the Ladies of Windsor, but a bit shortened by authors personal opinions. To much "nice" about Wallis Simpson, and not enough about Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth. A touch of information about Kate, but a bit unkind about the late Dianna.
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on November 7, 2006
As an English Expat I thought the book quite well written and all in all quite fair tho I think this author did not do full justice to our hardworking Princess Royal by dragging up the old chestnut about her not being attractive. I saw Princess Anne in her 20,s and she was stunning, not chocolate box pretty like Princess Diana but a truly regal beauty and of course like most of the Windsor Women she does not photograph well.She was and still is very attractive to men. speaking of which I really do think Ms Whitney did a total hatchet job on the Windsor men especially The Prince of Wales whose Princes Trust is one of the best charities in the World, He is a wonderful man.
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on August 28, 2009
This book was written in a breezy style that one would have expected of a reasonably competent journalist. It certainly not one that should have been written by an even mildly talented historian. Other than regurgitate other writings on the subject of Princess Margaret and Captain Townsend it throws no light on what should have been the book's central theme. Why was no mention made of what a strong hand Princess Margaret held at the time? If and when the threat of financial sanctions was made that could result in her being cut off from material support she should have known she held the ace of trumps. Before playing it she should have suggested that if she were deprived of a royal residence and support she would be forced to earn her living, possibly following a profitable career in Public Relations. As for having a place to live she could say that she and Captain Townsend would approach the Royal Borough of Kensington to have their name put down for a council flat. Any opposition would have collapsed. Why was there no record of any advice from her friends or supporters?
As for me, I have wasted my money buying the book.
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on April 1, 2013
As an avowed anglophile, I found this book about the Windsor Women an interesting read that gave a new insight into some of the Windsor ways.

Jan Holmes
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on May 30, 2006
The book highlights the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne. And don't worry Diana fans. She is sprinkled in the pages also. Highly recommend this book.
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