Customer Review

235 of 274 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Ok but It Has Issues., May 19, 2012
This review is from: The Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life Was Really Lived in Stately Homes a Century Ago (Paperback)
The author of The Real Life Downton Abbey, Jacky Hyams, makes two mistakes in this book.

One, the author refers to Camilla Parker Bowles as the Princess of Wales. While the Duchess of Cornwall is indeed married to Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, she is not the Princess of Wales simply because she is married to him. Because of intense support and love for Diana, the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall's participation in the demise of the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, public sentiment was grossly against Camilla being named Princess of Wales. Even though the Duchess and Prince Charles were married some years after Diana's death, public sentiment remained high in support of Diana's memory. Camilla was created Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, by Queen Elizabeth II upon her marriage to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.

The second blunder Hyams makes is the unmistakable envy in her writing tone towards those she continuously calls "The Toffs" and gives no explanation where the slang terms comes from. Her envy and dismissal of the privileged class is evident throughout the book and reads like a persuasive essay for Tax the Rich and Distribute the Wealth campaigns than a book about how life was lived by servants in the Downton Abbey years.

I bought this book because, like most, I am a fan of Downton Abbey but was very disappointed by it. If you read To Marry an English Lord, you will have a far more entertaining and objective read and you will not have the obvious liberal Pay Their Fair Share liberal slant of Jacky Hyams.

This book would have garnered a better rating if Hyams had left her political opinions out of it.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 22, 2012 4:42:47 AM PDT
skedens says:
Camilla IS the Princess of Wales (because she is married to Prince Charles.) She chose not to use the title out of respect for Diana and public sentiment towards Diana, P of W.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 12:20:10 PM PDT
She may be but she's still a rottweiler.

Posted on Aug 24, 2012 9:40:03 AM PDT
ROGER says:
The author also has a problem with grammar.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2012 4:09:32 PM PDT
ElizabethD says:
Camilla is NOT the Princess of Wales. It was not conferred on her and will not be conferred on her. Check The Peerage.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2012 3:12:38 PM PDT
Camilla IS NOT the Princess of Wales - Such a title is in HM The Queens gift. Furthermore [sic] "Precedence of the Royal Family to be Observed at Court." While male precedence remained that of the line of succession, THE LADIES' RULES WERE CHANGED TO PUT ALL THOSE BORN ROYAL AHEAD OF CAMILLA. Therefore, The Princess Royal, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie & Princess Alexandra ALL take precedence over Camilla. While married Princess Diana took precedence over ALL the blood royal ladies!

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 2:54:04 AM PST
DEA says:
Camilla Shand Parker-Bowles IS Princess of Wales. It was decided (by Charles and her) that it may be best to be known as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as Charles has NUMEROUS titles with the Duke of Cornwall being one of them. Diana, Princess of Wales was immensely popular for her style, beauty, public persona. After her death she was considered to be almost a "martyr" as was JFK. This happens when someone's life ends tragically at a young age. It was decided out of respect for the public. Most missed Diana terribly and were not at all supportive of his adulterous affair and subsequent marriage to a then divorced woman (albeit he later divorced as well)
Diana was NOT the first Princess of Wales nor will she be the last. Upon Charles becoming King, Camilla will automatically be known as "Queen" as she will be legally
married to the King. Prince William, who will be next in line will then become the next
Prince of Wales and Catherine (Kate) Middleton will become Priness of Wales.
Titles are constantly changing through deaths and new heirs.
People quickly forgot that although Diana, Princess of Wales was able to keep that title as mother of Princes Harry & Wills, that she lost the "Her Royal Highness" (HRH) prefix as she was no longer royal. Charles and their sons keep their HRH titles as they were born with it. Diana received it only upon marriage. Through marriage Camilla became a member of the royal family and is properly addressed as Her Royal Highness Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (She has numerous titles as Charles has numerous titles.
She will not ever be known as "Princess Camilla" nor will Kate Middleton ever be known as "Princess Catherine." Since not "born" royal their name comes first, followed by title. Lady Diana Spencer- was daughter of an Earl in her own right so her name came after. She received her new title of Princess of Wales only after
MARRIAGE and therefore was then known as HRH Diana, Princess of Wales.
She was commonly incorrectly referred to as "Princess Diana." ONLY if she were a princess by BIRTH would she have been able to be known as Princess Diana."
Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, is able to be known as "Prince Philip" as he was already an exiled Prince of Greece before he married Princess Elizabeth. Again, he was born with the title of "prince."
Hope this helps clarify as it can be confusing to outsiders.
There are many people holding a title and there are various titles e.g manorial titles. Very few titles are "royal."

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2013 10:57:53 PM PST
Renee Wilson says:
DEA is exactly correct. In an effort to clear the muddy waters during the time when the reporters and public incorrectly used the titles Princess Diana, Princess Sarah, and Princess Anne, they gave a higher title to Anne to distinguish that she was a princess born, They call her Princess Royal. Anne in her own way showed what she thought of titles by not accepting them from then Queen for her children Peter and Zara Phillips.

Posted on Apr 8, 2013 5:39:50 AM PDT
Janet M. says:
There are also two blunders about Downton Abbey characters. Twice the Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith, is referred to as a Dowager Duchess. And there's a reference to "The Richard Bransons" who "are making millions" which should obviously be "The Richard Carlisles". Tom Branson is the Irish chauffeur.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2013 11:54:27 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 17, 2013 10:15:21 AM PDT
grace says:
I do not appreciate the comments that referred to the "liberal" slant of this book. "To whom much is given, much is required." The rich in this world are given SO much and are SO pampered, that they tend to forget much of their wealth is earned on the backs of the poor who work for them. I do not appreciate the comments by the reviewer who seems to think he or she is a much better person than others simply because he or she is conservative. The wealthy in America have certainly shown that not to be the case, and their less-wealthy minions are guilty of falling lockstep into that false ideological mentality.
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