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Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Review

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Prince Charles has lived at the edge of history his entire life. He was born to be king. Much has been written about him: his privileged but lonely childhood, his schooling and military service, his polo playing, his ill-fated marriage to Diana, his connection to Camilla, and his tendency to speak his mind. Yet Charles remains an enigma. And he waits as his mother the Queen, who turns 91 this month, is still firmly on the throne.

The world has been watching Charles and wondering who he really is behind the castle walls and out of the glare of the tabloid headlines. Sally Bedell Smith’s richly researched biography attempts to answer all questions that could possibly arise about this readily recognized royal.

"History buffs and royal watchers certainly will find much to interest them in this detailed and revealing behind-the-scenes look at 'The Firm,' the family business that is the monarchy."

Charles has spent his life trying to be relevant and to be taken seriously in his own right. He heads several successful charities to which he has given considerable time and energy. He is adept at fundraising for his many causes. He is a tireless traveler who has many interests. He speaks frankly and passionately about things that interest him, for example, the environment. At times he has been his own worst enemy, showing a somewhat gloomy nature and giving the tabloids a wealth of circumstances to mine.

Although Charles has recently taken over some of his mother's previous responsibilities, especially public appearances involving much travel, the Queen has no plans to abdicate. This leaves Charles in the same position as earlier in his life --- a man on the sidelines, waiting his turn to be called into the game --- and yet he is already a senior citizen. Thus Charles continues to pursue his many interests --- including, but not limited to, painting watercolors, organic farming, traditional architecture, alternative health therapies, the environment and Eastern religions. He is finally settled in marriage to Camilla, and with his sons grown, much of the drama of his earlier years is behind him. Most of the spotlight is on either his mother or his oldest son, who someday will be king.

PRINCE CHARLES captures the ups and downs, and the trials and tribulations, of this quirky, frequently misunderstood prince who someday will occupy the throne. The book contains a great deal of information about the entire royal family. History buffs and royal watchers certainly will find much to interest them in this detailed and revealing behind-the-scenes look at "The Firm," the family business that is the monarchy.

Reviewed by Carole Turner on April 7, 2017

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
by Sally Bedell Smith

  • Publication Date: April 4, 2017
  • Genres: Biography, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Random House
  • ISBN-10: 1400067901
  • ISBN-13: 9781400067909