Top critical review
Detail Filled Biography of William, Harry, and Kate
on December 24, 2013
This is a biography of Prince William and Prince Harry revised to include details about Catherine Middleton and her relationship with Prince William. It’s packed with all sorts of details about their youth, school days and time in the military including, but also going beyond, the familiar stories of their excesses which have appeared in tabloids. Author Katie Nicholl is the Royal Correspondent for a British newspaper who, after covering him for more than ten years, has found William to be a ‘sensitive, thoughtful and sometimes misunderstood young man who more than anything wants to be ordinary.’
The book reports the events and details of the princes lives extensively. There is their happy youth violently interrupted by the tragic death of their mother, Diana. A gap year then St Andrews college for William and Sandhurst for Harry. And William’s on-again off-again on-again relationship with Catherine Middleton and Harry’s on-again off-again relationship with Chelsy Davy. We are told what grades they earn, where they go skiing, who they hang out with and which country homes they swim around the moats in after a night of drinking. But while there is a wealth of this sort of relevant and irrelevant detail, it doesn’t really add up to much of great interest. And when we are told that at St Andrews University ‘William was developing a reputation for being aloof and even a touch boring’ we can believe it.
One other point of interest of this book is the truly impressive research the author has put in to cataloging the princes taste in alcoholic beverages. They really like to drink and have quite exotic taste indeed. Perhaps they got it from their father Prince Charles, who at the age of fourteen, we are told, ‘had got drunk on cherry brandy during a sailing trip to Stornoway with four friends.’ As teenagers William took Harry to the Rattlebone Inn, a sixteenth century pub near Charles's Highgrove estate, where he drank 'the pub’s potent Pheasant Plucker cider' as well as 'pints of snakebite, a mixture of cider and beer.'
Harry quickly establishes himself as the thirstier of the two princes. Before going to Sandhurst Harry spent time at a bar called Nam Long-Le Shaker where he held the record 'for being able to drink three of their White Panther cocktails in a row. The delicious but potent mix of rum, vodka and coconut milk is served in a giant glass and usually requires two people to drink it.'
While on a British Army training trip to Canada, Harry makes time to go to the bar and enjoy sambuca shots and rum and Coke. And when he reunites with girlfriend Chelsy after a breakup they dink two magnums of Moet et Chandon. Later they are seen sipping 'Porn Star Martinis, a cocktail of vanilla vodka, passion fruit and champagne.'
Not to be outdone, in college William went to dinner parties where claret, port or the bottle of Jack Daniel's which he would always bring were served and where he played such drinking games as "I've Never" 'which entails one player admitting to the others something she or he has never done and then asking the other if they have. If anyone has done the deed in question they must take a drink.'
We are told William prefers red wine to beer and Harry's favorite drink is Belvedere vodka and cans of Red Bull. (Their protection officers sip Coke.)
While this book doesn’t quite succeed in revealing the inner qualities of it’s subjects, it does have many of the answers to questions you might never have thought of asking, like how did they pay for all that booze? Answer, they didn’t. The ‘royal comp’ meant that their drinks were often provided free by the clubs where they drank.