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THE #2 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ‘The last untold account of the biggest crisis to hit the royals since the abdication … Explosive biography by Britain’s top royal author … A gripping story of human frailty, love, loss, sadness, and tragedy’ Daily Mail The relationship between Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is one of the most remarkable love THE #2 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ‘The last untold account of the biggest crisis to hit the royals since the abdication … Explosive biography by Britain’s top royal author … A gripping story of human frailty, love, loss, sadness, and tragedy’ Daily Mail The relationship between Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is one of the most remarkable love stories of the age. It has endured against all the odds, and in the process nearly destroyed the British monarchy. It is a rich and remarkable story that has never been properly told – indeed, it is one of the most extraordinary, star-crossed love stories of the past fifty years.


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THE #2 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ‘The last untold account of the biggest crisis to hit the royals since the abdication … Explosive biography by Britain’s top royal author … A gripping story of human frailty, love, loss, sadness, and tragedy’ Daily Mail The relationship between Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is one of the most remarkable love THE #2 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ‘The last untold account of the biggest crisis to hit the royals since the abdication … Explosive biography by Britain’s top royal author … A gripping story of human frailty, love, loss, sadness, and tragedy’ Daily Mail The relationship between Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is one of the most remarkable love stories of the age. It has endured against all the odds, and in the process nearly destroyed the British monarchy. It is a rich and remarkable story that has never been properly told – indeed, it is one of the most extraordinary, star-crossed love stories of the past fifty years.

30 review for The Duchess: The Untold Story – the explosive biography, as seen in the Daily Mail

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The notable British author and journalist Penny Junor has written extensively about the Royal family in several bestselling biographies. “The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair that Rocked the Crown” is an intriguing biography that explores one of the most compelling and controversial figures in British royalty. This is a thoughtfully written and fair portrayal of Camilla, and seems to be an authorized version of her life story; far removed from the sensational tsunami of media c The notable British author and journalist Penny Junor has written extensively about the Royal family in several bestselling biographies. “The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair that Rocked the Crown” is an intriguing biography that explores one of the most compelling and controversial figures in British royalty. This is a thoughtfully written and fair portrayal of Camilla, and seems to be an authorized version of her life story; far removed from the sensational tsunami of media coverage that blasted her story from the British tabloids, greatly influencing public opinion and the unseen forces that shaped her life. Camilla Strand (1947-) was the oldest daughter born and raised in a wealthy privileged aristocratic estate in East Sussex. Her parents, Bruce and Rosalind Strand provided their three children a loving happy upbringing. The couple generously opened their home “The Laines” and welcomed people from all walks of life for parties and charitable events. Rosalind despised the class definitions that separated people, and didn’t have a sense of entitlement or snobbishness, she set a remarkable example that has positively influenced Camilla’s social and cultural attitudes. The Strands were a close loving family. Camilla’s closest friend and confidant is her sister Annabel, they speak on the phone several times a week. It must be remembered that from her introduction to Charles the Prince of Wales (1971), he was never Camilla’s first choice in men. There is no evidence of a romance between them during that time. Camilla married the distinguished British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles in a spectacular military wedding ceremony (1973-1995). Camilla adored her virile alpha male husband, confident, with a great deal of worldly experience, sophistication and charm. However, Camilla wouldn’t find the fulfillment that a happy marriage could bring. Bowles was a serial philanderer, and some of his lovers had been Camilla’s friends. Camilla would find maternal satisfaction in her family life, her children, homemaking and gardening. Camilla wanted her children to experience the happiness and stability she had known in childhood, the Catholic faith strongly disapproved of divorce, and Camilla was determined to make the best of her marriage—despite the sting of her husband’s infidelities. The role of Prince Charles in Camilla’s life during her marriage was likely based in their solid friendship. According to Junor, Charles and Camilla became lovers in 1978-79, though there wasn’t a confirmation listed of a physical affair. Prince Charles and Camilla did have a strong enduring relationship that developed over time. As the royal marriage of Charles and Diana broke down, Prince Charles in his despair, turned to Camilla for the unconditional love, faith and belief she had always had in him. It is clear that their relationship was based on a deep understanding, trust, loyalty and support either Prince Charles or Camilla had been able to cultivate with their spouses. To understand the complexities of the marriage of Charles and Diana, and Camilla’s alleged involvement it is necessary to examine the facts. There were obvious problems before and after the marriage of Charles and Diana, which understandably caused Diana enough grief, stress and turmoil to be labeled and viewed as mentally unstable. A 30 something groom who takes his books and watercolors on a honeymoon with his adoring 19 year old bride is enough for concern and speculation. Diana was perplexed and bewildered by her husband’s cold indifference towards her—Diana was innocent, and this is exactly what made her a suitable favorable bride for Prince Charles. This innocence did not serve her well. Historians have noted that at the time Charles and Diana married, they barely knew each other. Diana never seemed to be in a position to fully grasp, understand or accept the unknown/undisclosed factors that would inevitably shape her extraordinary and tragic young life. When Sir Michael Peat was appointed as Prince Charles private secretary (2002) he received a directive from the Queen that Charles relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles needed to end. Peat, realized that Charles would never end his relationship with Camilla, and boldly insisted marriage was the only way to continue under such public scrutiny. Bruce Strand gave his full support and blessing—allowing Prince Charles to move ahead with a confident resolve he had never experienced. The church of England frowned on second marriages if a former spouse was still living, a civil wedding ceremony took place on April 8th 2005. Camilla would be known as H.R.H. the Duchess of Cornwall. No matter how compatible and genuinely happy and well matched Prince Charles and the Duchess appear to be, to live in the aftermath of scandal, will always be a challenge. Today, Prince Charles publically calls Camilla “my darling wife.” Prince Charles is getting the recognition he should have gotten long ago for his work in philanthropy, public planning projects, charitable works etc. Camilla work’s tirelessly in the support rape, domestic abuse and violence prevention against women and has reached out abroad to victims impacted by war and genocide. The book includes lengthy chapters on Camilla’s charitable works, these chapters initially seemed like filler material, but it was necessary to acknowledge how hard Camilla works for the common good. Junor was introduced to Camilla in 1995, has followed her on public engagements, listened to her speak and interact with the public, though hasn’t ever formally interviewed her. The material for the book was compiled through public records and interviews with family, friends and staff of the royal couple. Pages of excellent photos were included. **With thanks to the Seattle Public Library, the audiobook version is highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Heckman

    I think it best to wait for a writer who is not so enamored of her subject: Camilla Duchess of Cornwall. And not only that Junor admitted she has a "soft spot" for Prince Charles and has derided the late Princess Diana in just about every royal book she has written (since 1998). This book is a lot like the 1998 book Charles Victim or Villain in that she blames Diana for it all and praises Charles and Camilla to the skies. She also is known to have socialized with the Prince of Wales and his wife I think it best to wait for a writer who is not so enamored of her subject: Camilla Duchess of Cornwall. And not only that Junor admitted she has a "soft spot" for Prince Charles and has derided the late Princess Diana in just about every royal book she has written (since 1998). This book is a lot like the 1998 book Charles Victim or Villain in that she blames Diana for it all and praises Charles and Camilla to the skies. She also is known to have socialized with the Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall. Junor repeats some of the same Diana bashing she did in previous books but adds a new one to this book, that Diana destroyed Charles art supplies during their honeymoon (based on hearsay--Stephen Barry who was there described Diana as very cheerful but did note Charles would call Camilla during the honeymoon with Diana); Junor thinks she can diagnose Diana (based on some textbook readings) as having "Borderline Personality Disorder;" and makes Camilla the "heroine" for "rescuing" Poor Charles from the "awful" wife. Junor has other nasty things to say about Diana which I will not include here but it is par for the course. Laughably she calls Camilla "the savior of the monarchy" and blames Camilla's husband for her "returning" to Charles. Others who are blamed (never Camilla!) are the Queen, Prince Philip, Mountbatten, Charles authorized biographer (Jonathan Dimbleby) among others. In the preface the direction of the book is clear since Junor "absolves" Camilla of any wrongdoing. In her rabid defense, she makes Charles look like a wishy washy wimp who blames others too. I think those who read this book need to read Sarah Bradford's Diana book to see the other side of the story. It is nasty too because Diana is no longer around to defend herself. Junor has something against Diana and, at the same time, wants to curry favor with Charles and Camilla. Junor should remember that the next in line after Charles is Prince William who in all likelihood does not appreciate Junor using his late mother for target practice.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Okay, when reviewing a biography, do you review the subject or the author? In Penny Junor's new biography, "The Duchess: The Untold Story", the subject, Camilla Parker Bowles, is certainly not widely liked, mainly for her perceived and actual interference in the marriage of Charles and Diana. Does the reader dislike the book because s/he dislikes Camilla? Certainly plenty of reviewers have given the book bad reviews because they loathe the book's subject. OR, should the reviewer keep an open min Okay, when reviewing a biography, do you review the subject or the author? In Penny Junor's new biography, "The Duchess: The Untold Story", the subject, Camilla Parker Bowles, is certainly not widely liked, mainly for her perceived and actual interference in the marriage of Charles and Diana. Does the reader dislike the book because s/he dislikes Camilla? Certainly plenty of reviewers have given the book bad reviews because they loathe the book's subject. OR, should the reviewer keep an open mind about Parker Bowles and review the book's merit? I'm going to review the book and bypass my feelings towards the various members of the cast of the characters. The "rap" on British author Penny Junor, author of many biographies on members of the Royal Family, is that she is firmly in the "Charles Camp". As opposed to being in the "Diana Camp". The fact that Diana is 20 years gone doesn't seem to have lessened the animosity between the two "camps". Of course, there's still money to be made in publishing books that keep the Royal family's woes in public. And Penny Junor now has Camilla in her headlights. The fact, though, is that the book simply isn't very good on it's own merits, no matter the subject. Junor writes in absolutes. Many of the people are either good...or bad. She seems to whitewash the behavior of several people; Camilla's son, Tom, for instance, turned to drugs like many "young people". Other family members of both Camilla's and Charles' families are either too good to be true. Junor twists herself into knots in many places to justify her writing, and facts and opinions sometimes are uncomfortably close to each other. Penny Junor's book is not a particularly good read, no matter whose "camp" the reader is in.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Curiosity got the best of me. After reading Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, I decided I might like to know a bit more about The Royal Family. Camilla Parker Bowles is certainly not a blood relationship but if any other member of the troupe has caused such a ruckus with the Brits, Camilla wins the prize. On top of this I came into this read having more respect for Prince Charles and forgave some faults I thought he possessed. Though this is supposed to be Camilla PB's story, I Curiosity got the best of me. After reading Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, I decided I might like to know a bit more about The Royal Family. Camilla Parker Bowles is certainly not a blood relationship but if any other member of the troupe has caused such a ruckus with the Brits, Camilla wins the prize. On top of this I came into this read having more respect for Prince Charles and forgave some faults I thought he possessed. Though this is supposed to be Camilla PB's story, I suspect it would be difficult to tell without including all the other players. All was going well, I was reading away and feeling pretty good about this partnership between Charles and Camilla until I started thinking someone was trying too hard to lure me to their side. Subtle but true. In addition I felt like I was reading an advertisement campaign for Camilla. The best whatever since sliced bread. The more I read, the more my opinion of Charles suffered. Frankly, he didn't need a wife, he needed a mother. But, and this is strange, I did go away liking Camilla, so someone did their job right. She is stronger than I thought, smarter, capable, and even classier than I expected. I like the causes she supports, especially libraries, domestic violence, to name a couple. At book's end I would agree that this quote, "She will be the strength behind the Crown and do her husband proud, and I suspect history will be a kinder judge of their story than their contemporaries have been." fits Camilla well.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    This is a very sympathetic biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. It delves into her background, gives insight into her first marriage and discusses the ensuing scandals that were a result of her relationship with Prince Charles. There is also a lot of information about Charles’ relationship with Diana, as seen from the author’s perspective. Diana does not come off well in this book, but she was never the perfect spouse for Charles, nor the perfect woman that her fans wanted her to be. The f This is a very sympathetic biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. It delves into her background, gives insight into her first marriage and discusses the ensuing scandals that were a result of her relationship with Prince Charles. There is also a lot of information about Charles’ relationship with Diana, as seen from the author’s perspective. Diana does not come off well in this book, but she was never the perfect spouse for Charles, nor the perfect woman that her fans wanted her to be. The fairy tale aspect of their marriage was entirely made up by the press. A naive, spoiled 19 year old girl marrying a 30 year old worldly, complex man who she barely knows is not the stuff of fairy tales. Both were needy in their own ways, but neither was capable of or interested in meeting the others needs. Camilla was always in the background of their marriage in one way or another. Charles loved her, but lost her to Andrew Parker Bowles, something he may have never gotten over. They all remained good friends and Camilla was his confidant, a fact that angered Diana. When Charles’ and Diana’s marriage fell apart, he turned to Camilla, whose own marriage was imploding. Diana had her own lovers, but she seemed to not be able to forgive Charles for having Camilla. Camilla was vilified in the press, and Diana was practically canonized, when they basically had done the same things: had affairs outside their marriages. After their respective divorces, Camilla remained the cursed woman and Diana could do no wrong as far as the public was concerned. After Diana’s untimely and tragic death, Charles and Camilla has to be extremely discreet, so as not to incur the wrath of the public. But eventually it became time to ease off the secrecy and be open about their relationship and after a few years they were able to marry (after much angst in the royal circles.) Camilla has proved to be a wonderful asset to the royal family and they have accepted her fully. She is a much better spouse for Charles, and if the fates had been kinder to both of them, she would have been a perfect first and only wife for him. There are those who will never accept her as his wife, but that’s their problem. Diana, although idolized by the public, was never what they thought she was. Of course her sons still adore her, as they should, but they have a child’s view of her and never had to deal with her as adults. Camilla is respectful of their feelings towards their mother, and is cautious about her relationship with them. Her own first priority, after Charles, are her own children and grandchildren, and she revels in her role as mother and grandmother. The fact that she remained close friends with her ex-husband and his new wife speaks volumes about her. She also works tirelessly for her favorite causes, although not as hard as Charles does for his, as is often pointed out. Although this book is obviously biased in her favor by the author, I came away with a new respect for Camilla and all she has been through in her life and how she has graciously risen above it all. She is a testament to survival against all odds, and how living well is the best revenge. A definite recommend for those who enjoy reading about the royal family.

  6. 4 out of 5

    MaryBeth's Bookshelf

    I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm not going to lie - I am obsessed with The Royal Family. I love them. I am fascinated by them. I will read anything about them. I enjoyed reading Penny Junor's unauthorized biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. I will say most of what was in the book is not new and I did find some parts a bit confusing as there is a lot of names to keep track of. For the most part the book moves in chronological order, but so I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm not going to lie - I am obsessed with The Royal Family. I love them. I am fascinated by them. I will read anything about them. I enjoyed reading Penny Junor's unauthorized biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. I will say most of what was in the book is not new and I did find some parts a bit confusing as there is a lot of names to keep track of. For the most part the book moves in chronological order, but sometimes it felt disjointed and confusing. I was surprised at the amount of negativity towards Diana (after all, I thought the book was about Camilla and not a chance for the author to skewer a person who is no longer here). This book is definitely an interesting glimpse into an incredibly difficult life. I was surprised at the amount of "game playing" that goes into being a royal (games with the press, etc.), but I suppose that is to be expected. The last 70 pages or so are dedicated to stories about the charities Camilla supports and the people who benefit from them, with some family history sprinkled in. I think I was just hoping for more information about Camilla herself, not the author's opinion from her vantage point. But, this biography was unauthorized, therefore, no one sat down with her to give her the story. All in all, it was an interesting read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    I read this book to the end but was often left wondering if this was a book about Charles and not Camilla. Diana was loved by many, myself included and I read this book with a very open mind but I thought this story was very biased.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    Very good! I liked how balanced this was and that this book isn't just about "the love affair that rocked the crown". Tbh, that's a very minor part of the book. Most of it is about Camilla's family history, upbringing, and the work she does as the Duchess of Cornwall with the causes she's picked up. Her affair with Prince Charles is kind of a footnote, in a sense. Everyone knows that story and Junor treats it like that. Which I liked because I honestly felt like I got a real look at who Camilla Very good! I liked how balanced this was and that this book isn't just about "the love affair that rocked the crown". Tbh, that's a very minor part of the book. Most of it is about Camilla's family history, upbringing, and the work she does as the Duchess of Cornwall with the causes she's picked up. Her affair with Prince Charles is kind of a footnote, in a sense. Everyone knows that story and Junor treats it like that. Which I liked because I honestly felt like I got a real look at who Camilla is rather than some sensationalist book that's airing dirty laundry the whole world knows.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Harris

    I enjoyed the early chapters of this book, which provide an excellent overview of Camilla's upbringing, worldview and the culture of her social background and times, which included limited education for women and close proximity to the royal family. The later chapters, from Camilla's marriage to Charles until the end of the book are also very interesting as they discuss the challenges of her transition to royal life at the age of 57 including 0vercoming her fear of flying to undertake Commonweal I enjoyed the early chapters of this book, which provide an excellent overview of Camilla's upbringing, worldview and the culture of her social background and times, which included limited education for women and close proximity to the royal family. The later chapters, from Camilla's marriage to Charles until the end of the book are also very interesting as they discuss the challenges of her transition to royal life at the age of 57 including 0vercoming her fear of flying to undertake Commonwealth tours as Duchess of Cornwall. Her charitable work also receives extensive analysis in the later chapters. The middle of the book, however, is dominated by the conflicts between Charles and Diana that are well known from other sources as well as conflicts amongst courtiers and relations between the royal family and the press. The author has a clear bias toward Charles in her analysis of his marriage to Diana and emphasizes her own proximity to royalty and these sections become repetitive. The book is at its best when the focus is on Camilla's life and work. The audiobook is well read and engaging.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angie Rhodes

    The first half of the book is an interesting read, the history of Camilla's family, and what a history! As the book progresses, it gets for me boring, with Penny , making out that Diana was trouble, controlling, attention seeking, self harming, sorry but if I wanted to read about Diana, I would have bought her biography,,I understand that she has to include her in the book, but to write that, when the Prince's will hear of it, is for me wrong, Penny Jordan does however fight Diana's corner more The first half of the book is an interesting read, the history of Camilla's family, and what a history! As the book progresses, it gets for me boring, with Penny , making out that Diana was trouble, controlling, attention seeking, self harming, sorry but if I wanted to read about Diana, I would have bought her biography,,I understand that she has to include her in the book, but to write that, when the Prince's will hear of it, is for me wrong, Penny Jordan does however fight Diana's corner more than once, stating that Prince Charles, has problems with tact, (takes after his father, not the most tactful member of the Royal Family) by the end of the book, you will still be either for Camilla or against her. If you are not a big fan, then borrow the book from the Library or a friend!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christine Ottaway

    I really enjoyed this book as it gave me insight into a woman I know very little about but who is extremely influential in the nation. For me the book fell into three parts; the early years of Camilla's life and her relationship with Prince Charles in those days, next the whole Diana and Prince Charles disastrous marriage and Camilla's role in its disintegration or not and finally the story now and the many charities that Camilla supports and how she supports them. I found that I got rather bogg I really enjoyed this book as it gave me insight into a woman I know very little about but who is extremely influential in the nation. For me the book fell into three parts; the early years of Camilla's life and her relationship with Prince Charles in those days, next the whole Diana and Prince Charles disastrous marriage and Camilla's role in its disintegration or not and finally the story now and the many charities that Camilla supports and how she supports them. I found that I got rather bogged down in all the names of Camilla's early life and couldn't totally keep track of who was who. That was also a bit of a problem in the final third of the book. The middle part of the book was fascinating and to actually read what you always suspected that Prince Charles' and Diana's marriage was made in hell and should have never have happened and that Diana had mental health issues was enlightening. I am not a Diana fan so I am not upset by what Penny Junor writes. However what was enjoyable and very informative was the work that both Camilla and Prince Charles do for the many charities they support. I don't think I realised quite how hard Prince Charles obviously works and I was impressed by the way Camilla uses her position to help charities that support all manner of less known and less popular causes. Her ability to draw together people of influence in a particular area and get them to communicate together is surely a great way of using her position. By the time I finished I felt I understood far better the whole Prince Charles, Diana, Camilla triangle and the work that they tirelessly undertake for their chosen charities.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Flewts

    This book completely changed my attitude toward Camilla Parker Bowles. The public does not know just how damaged Diana Spencer was. We eventually knew about her bulimia, and knew about her tantrums, eventually, but the press loved Diana and blamed it all on Charles. What we didn't know was that all that started even before they were married. It is to Charles's credit that he did not defend himself by telling the world what their marriage was really like, long before Camilla came back into the pi This book completely changed my attitude toward Camilla Parker Bowles. The public does not know just how damaged Diana Spencer was. We eventually knew about her bulimia, and knew about her tantrums, eventually, but the press loved Diana and blamed it all on Charles. What we didn't know was that all that started even before they were married. It is to Charles's credit that he did not defend himself by telling the world what their marriage was really like, long before Camilla came back into the picture. He did it really because he loved his sons and wanted to protect them. Of course they knew some of what was wrong with Diana, but not the whole truth. This book goes into more detail about Charles's childhood, his personality, how miserable he was trying to make his marriage work, and was honest about the things he might have done better. Even so, there was no fixing what was really an unbalanced mental state. His relationship with Camilla has been healing and finally he has the joy that his life had been missing. I wish them well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    Explosive biography! There is nothing explosive about this book. It was ok but too much repeating stories of other "royal" books. If you are a Camilla fan then this book is for you... but for Diana's fans not so much. All in one... not much we didn't know before!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angela Hedworth

    Very slanted in its view, very anti-Diana.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Beth

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins. This is a biography of the Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who rose to notorious fame as the 'other woman' in the marriage of Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In this book, Junor paints a fuller picture of the woman behind the despised name. Although they have a rocky history and have faced international criticism, Junor argues that the couple is well matched and have a happy partnership that serves the royal family I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins. This is a biography of the Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who rose to notorious fame as the 'other woman' in the marriage of Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In this book, Junor paints a fuller picture of the woman behind the despised name. Although they have a rocky history and have faced international criticism, Junor argues that the couple is well matched and have a happy partnership that serves the royal family well. Camilla had a happy childhood and seems to have always been popular, especially with boys. Ironically enough, "Alice Keppel, Camilla's great-grandmother [...] had famously been a long-term mistress of King Edward VII, Charles's great-great-grandfather" (9). Prince Charles first met her and fell in love with her in 1971, but Camilla was already dating Andrew Parker Bowles. Despite Andrew's constant infidelity, she was set upon marrying him and finally did so. It seems that both Charles and Camilla's great downfall is that they married the wrong people and failed to exit their marriages before reconnecting. Camilla had two children with her husband and Charles, famously, went on to marry the beautiful and greatly beloved Diana. Junor argues that Charles remained faithful to Diana until her mental illness eventually led to the deterioration of their marriage, at which point he turned to Camilla. Although Junor does fully acknowledge the mistakes Charles made in his first marriage, she comes across as far too lenient in the portrayal of how their relationship progressed. She presents them as comforting each other in their time of need and being cruelly misrepresented in the press. Of course, it does in hindsight appear that Diana twisted the truth and manipulated the press to her advantage, but I don't think that Charles and Camilla were as innocent as portrayed in this book. Yet Camilla is far more than just a mistress and Junor works hard to shed light on her. As the royal family does not engage in interviews, this biography is still written at a remove, without quotes or true insight into Camilla or those closest to her. However, this book does more fully bring to light the close and loving marriage that she shares with Charles. Camilla seems to have truly wanted a simple life; "She wanted no more from life than to be happily married to an upper-class man and live a sociable life in the country with horses, dogs, children and someone to look after them all" (42). Yet in marrying Charles, Camilla has taken on a very different role, one she does well. In marrying Charles and becoming the Duchess of Cornwall, she has certainly proven herself worthy of the role and accepted by the royal family. In particular, the description of all her charity work was inspiring. Seen as a villain by the world for much of her life, it was interesting to learn more about the seemingly kind and thoughtful woman behind the tabloids.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Priyanka Tandon

    This is a review about the book and in no way my opinion or feelings towards its subject Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, simply because the author forgot that this was supposed to be a book or a story rather about Camilla and not Prince Charles or even a platform to spew venomous hatred that Penny Junor carries towards Late Princes Diana. Right from the start of the book, it's apparent that Junor had set out with the agenda of trying to rehabilitate the image of the Prince and the Duchess.... s This is a review about the book and in no way my opinion or feelings towards its subject Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, simply because the author forgot that this was supposed to be a book or a story rather about Camilla and not Prince Charles or even a platform to spew venomous hatred that Penny Junor carries towards Late Princes Diana. Right from the start of the book, it's apparent that Junor had set out with the agenda of trying to rehabilitate the image of the Prince and the Duchess.... sadly she did more harm than good... she lays the blame of everything that was wrong with Prince Charles on everyone around him (except for Camilla, ofcourse) and on a similar tone Camilla or her family were extremely nice people who could do no wrong. Her way out of trying to wash over anything negative related to Camilla and her family is to not talk about Camilla a lot and wherever she has to, the events are written in the manner as to put them across as being normal. And oh, the hatred she spits against Diana is not funny... Out of the 270 odd pages, in the first 150-160 pages or so, the story is clearly being told revolves around Prince Charles and his trials and tribulations and feelings and make him seem to be such a pitiful person that it makes me wonder is he even fit to be the King of England when his time comes!!! Though I am sure, things and he may not be so bad, pathetic and pitiful... the rest of the pages go in to talk about all the various charity work being done by Camilla in order to make her look like a saint, which, again, I am sure she isn't.... Maybe the audience is not strong enough to really stomach the real story and accept and forgive the failings of the Prince and the Duchess and author and possibly the royal machinery had to hide behind such a pathetic account and read as this book has turned out to be. If this is how Penny Junor writes then we are better off without reading rest of her books. Don't know why have I given the book a two star instead of one star.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kate Lawrence

    We interrupt the reading of serious books for an interlude of celebrity gossip--well, not gossip exactly, as this is supposed to be factual. But given the circumstances of Camilla's life, there's bound to be plenty of salacious bits. I picked up the book to get some long-standing questions answered: 1) if Camilla and Prince Charles were so strongly attracted, why didn't they get married when they were both single? 2) Were Charles and Camilla lovers from the beginning of his marriage to Diana? 3) We interrupt the reading of serious books for an interlude of celebrity gossip--well, not gossip exactly, as this is supposed to be factual. But given the circumstances of Camilla's life, there's bound to be plenty of salacious bits. I picked up the book to get some long-standing questions answered: 1) if Camilla and Prince Charles were so strongly attracted, why didn't they get married when they were both single? 2) Were Charles and Camilla lovers from the beginning of his marriage to Diana? 3) Was it true, as Diana claimed, that the Charles/Camilla affair was the primary reason that the Charles/Diana marriage was so unhappy? 4) Why did Charles reject Diana, gorgeous and skilled in public relations, for the not-very-remarkable Camilla? 5) What was Camilla's childhood like? 6) What are Charles and Camilla doing today? I mean, inquiring minds who are also occasional British royals-watchers (like me) want to know. All these questions and many more are answered in the book, although I will say that Junor seems somewhat prejudiced in favor of Charles, building on our sympathy for his dysfunctional upbringing in order to excuse some rather bad behavior. But it's not heavy-handed, and no one comes out innocent here. I was impressed by Camilla's current dedication to charity work, dealing primarily with women's issues. This is a well-paced, enjoyable read, and now we can speculate on the future: when Charles becomes king (he's nearly 70 now, still waiting for his Big Moment), will Camilla's title be Queen, or the lower-status Princess Consort? Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen, as the time is drawing near: Queen Elizabeth is 92.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Randi Schultz

    Some have mentioned a bias towards Charles in this book. I would suggest that he’s due one. I was a young adult when he and Diana married and it was quite obvious to my naive self that she had gone after the title. When he discovered she had lied about herself and her likes and dislikes she wasn’t old enough apparently to understand that might cause issues. He’s not a particularly likable person but she became an expert at media manipulation and the public bought it hook, line and sinker. Did sh Some have mentioned a bias towards Charles in this book. I would suggest that he’s due one. I was a young adult when he and Diana married and it was quite obvious to my naive self that she had gone after the title. When he discovered she had lied about herself and her likes and dislikes she wasn’t old enough apparently to understand that might cause issues. He’s not a particularly likable person but she became an expert at media manipulation and the public bought it hook, line and sinker. Did she accomplish amazing things? Absolutely. Did they both have affairs? Absolutely. However, none of the parties involved are all good or all bad. Her children seem to like Camilla, which should be enough for anyone. As for bias in the book...I would suggest he’s owed a few after the hell he was put through - granted, he was old enough to know he shouldn’t have married her (I don’t need anyone telling me she went through hell too - much of hers was her own doing), but how many reading this book have been married more than once? Bet you’re glad you weren’t under this type of microscope.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    Is this written by a personal friend of the royal family? It just read like someone’s very best friend wrote this and just threw in some life events and said how great so and so is and wonderful and everyone else is evil and conniving and struggling with mental disorders and so that’s why everything happened and of course there was an affair but not until he called which was after and yet they still ended up together, and how wonderful and darling and blah blah blah the end, oh my darling. I jus Is this written by a personal friend of the royal family? It just read like someone’s very best friend wrote this and just threw in some life events and said how great so and so is and wonderful and everyone else is evil and conniving and struggling with mental disorders and so that’s why everything happened and of course there was an affair but not until he called which was after and yet they still ended up together, and how wonderful and darling and blah blah blah the end, oh my darling. I just couldn’t wait for this to be over. I get it, Camilla seems like a fabulous person. I bet I would get along with her if I met her and her heart seems true and she deserves love and happiness. I don’t get why any of the Diana stories or history was in this, to the extent it was featured. There was so much Diana in the story, they should have called it: Camilla and Diana the struggle...or something like that. I just couldn’t wait for this to be over, my darling. My dear dear darling I love you so much. Blah!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    So the author wants to continue being a royal biographer so she, of course, only has glowing comments about the Duchess. Perhaps it is all true.....that Camilla is the most beautiful, compassionate, loving, fun person alive.... but the sycophantic way in which it is written makes me wonder who the author is trying to convince. And her Diana bashing is shameful. The is a pure PR piece. If you are a fan of Camilla, you will love. If you want an unbiased biography, I suspect this is not it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn Sugden

    Meh! There's nothing to see here people, keep moving on.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emma Cunningham

    I was definitely interested to learn about Camilla, but this is syrupy sweet and reads more like a PR campaign than a biography.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I enjoy reading stories about the Royal Family and did not know much about Camilla. The author has covered the Royal Family for 30 years and written biographies about other members so she knows a lot about them. She admits this is an unauthorized biography and relied mainly on other sources although she does know Camilla and Charles. It is obvious she is a big fan of Camilla as she is presented in an extremely positive light. The author makes her point time and again, that got a bit repetitious. I enjoy reading stories about the Royal Family and did not know much about Camilla. The author has covered the Royal Family for 30 years and written biographies about other members so she knows a lot about them. She admits this is an unauthorized biography and relied mainly on other sources although she does know Camilla and Charles. It is obvious she is a big fan of Camilla as she is presented in an extremely positive light. The author makes her point time and again, that got a bit repetitious. I liked finding out about Camilla's family and upbringing and the latter part of the book speaks of all the charities she is involved in and supports. It is obvious she and Charles are a much better fit and they finally are able to spend their lives together. The author does go into other stories of the Royal Family and spends a good portion on the marriage of Diana and Charles. All that has been covered extensively and I think could have been shortened. The author obviously was no fan of Diana although Charles certainly contributed and was older and should have been the wiser of the two. As I said, since this was Camilla's story, a lot of that could have been left out. It seems the family has accepted Camilla and she gets on with the Princes. If true, that is nice to hear. I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Smith

    I am rating the book, not the subject. I admired Diana and thought Camilla was definitely a factor in the divorce. I had hoped something in the book would change my opinion. It has not. Ms Junor is clearly in Camilla's corner and paints Charles as a moody, temperamental, weak individual who completely changed once Camilla was back in his life. I found Camilla stubborn and there is no doubt she's in charge because she has a far stronger character than he does. She spends most weekends and usually I am rating the book, not the subject. I admired Diana and thought Camilla was definitely a factor in the divorce. I had hoped something in the book would change my opinion. It has not. Ms Junor is clearly in Camilla's corner and paints Charles as a moody, temperamental, weak individual who completely changed once Camilla was back in his life. I found Camilla stubborn and there is no doubt she's in charge because she has a far stronger character than he does. She spends most weekends and usually Mondays, too at Ray Mill, the home she purchased prior to her marriage to Charles. The argument Penny gives for why Charles should become the next king is because he has preparation and experience. William's children need him during the formative years before duty consumes his time "and history repeats itself". She fails to recognize William will be a king and the children will have their mother where The Queen was the regent and mother. In support of Camilla she argues "beautiful as Catherine may be, she doesn't yet have the maturity, the depth of experience of life, love, loss, pain and survival that gives Camilla such understanding and credibility." Correct, Catherine has no experience in inflicting loss and pain Camilla has done but I find Catherine's understanding and credibility superior to the power play Camilla has engaged in.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    The first book I've read by Penny Junor, although I have seen her being queried regarding the Royals many times in various documentaries and news reports. She's an engaging author with a very conversational tone that isn't filled with hyperbole. Her treatment of the Duchess of Cornwall seems quite even-handed. It isn't full of gushing praise--although many quotes from other people do tend to show Camilla in her best light most of the time. The early years of the Shand family and the years Camilla The first book I've read by Penny Junor, although I have seen her being queried regarding the Royals many times in various documentaries and news reports. She's an engaging author with a very conversational tone that isn't filled with hyperbole. Her treatment of the Duchess of Cornwall seems quite even-handed. It isn't full of gushing praise--although many quotes from other people do tend to show Camilla in her best light most of the time. The early years of the Shand family and the years Camilla was married to Andrew Parker Bowles are all covered and give much more information to us than the tabloids ever did. The included photographs and bibliography are extensive and interesting. Mrs. Junor also doesn't do much of the "unnamed sources" type of reporting here, which makes me feel more comfortable about the accuracy of the biography. I'll be looking for more books written by her because of that fact. The only reason this book took me so long to read was that I don't carry hardcovers back and forth to work and sometimes just can't fit in time to read physical books after work. A sad truth, but the truth it is. Audiobooks allow for chores to be done at the same time and that means a lot to a person like me who loves to read but also has to cook, clean, do laundry, etc.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caity

    3.5 stars Just from picking up the book you can tell what you are in for. Penny Junor the author, is captured in a photo on the back of the book with Prince Charles smiling and charmed by him. So it was no shock that in my second time reading Junor that her opinions where going to dominate the book, based on who she likes. In writing that, it is still a fascinating read. I learnt Camilla is an admit book lover, a great mother and a patron for many wonderful charities. The beginning half of the bo 3.5 stars Just from picking up the book you can tell what you are in for. Penny Junor the author, is captured in a photo on the back of the book with Prince Charles smiling and charmed by him. So it was no shock that in my second time reading Junor that her opinions where going to dominate the book, based on who she likes. In writing that, it is still a fascinating read. I learnt Camilla is an admit book lover, a great mother and a patron for many wonderful charities. The beginning half of the book was dedicated to the scandal of Camilla being the Prince’s mistress. While Junor tries to imply Camilla was not home wrecker or a mistress, it is a hard and difficult task to persuade the reader in favour of her argument. Junor did not win me over. Camilla is very clearly apart of Charles life and is not going anywhere. Camilla makes Charles happy and in the years when he might be King he while need that stability and comfort she provides. Although Junor’s argument that she should be titled Queen when Charles reign as King begins, is not fooling anyone. Camilla has grown to be accepted as apart of Charles life and is mature enough for the role, just not the role of Queen.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    If you're looking for an objective, interesting biography of Camilla ... keep looking. This book is really just an unabashed love letter from the author to the subject, and since even that level of devotion couldn't stretch far enough to fill an entire book, it gets mired down in unnecessary details, like the name of the resident horse at Camilla's grammar school (Blossom, in case you were wondering) and devotes a good chunk of the final half of the book to a comprehensive review of her many cha If you're looking for an objective, interesting biography of Camilla ... keep looking. This book is really just an unabashed love letter from the author to the subject, and since even that level of devotion couldn't stretch far enough to fill an entire book, it gets mired down in unnecessary details, like the name of the resident horse at Camilla's grammar school (Blossom, in case you were wondering) and devotes a good chunk of the final half of the book to a comprehensive review of her many charitable activities, which became impersonal, tending to focus on the organization rather than Camilla. The overall perspective is also very anti-Diana, and that lack of objectivity is what bothered me most about the writing. I'm willing to keep an open mind about both of them, but because of its subjectivity, this book did nothing to inform my opinion on either one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I truly did not enjoy this book. There was too much of Camilla's history and connections to passed royalty. It seemed irrelevant and I found it hard to keep track of all the players. The latter half of the book seemed to be more about bashing Diana (when she isn't here to defend herself) and defending her right to be with Charles (who features more prominently in the book than Camilla herself) while they were still married than anything about the actual Duchess. In fact, in my opinion, you don't I truly did not enjoy this book. There was too much of Camilla's history and connections to passed royalty. It seemed irrelevant and I found it hard to keep track of all the players. The latter half of the book seemed to be more about bashing Diana (when she isn't here to defend herself) and defending her right to be with Charles (who features more prominently in the book than Camilla herself) while they were still married than anything about the actual Duchess. In fact, in my opinion, you don't really hear much about her contribution to society until the last 2 chapters or so. I don't feel like I have learned all that much more about her than I already knew. I found this author so disappointing that I had the opportunity to pick up her bio on Prince William yesterday for $2 and still didn't purchase it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Djj

    I didn't really have much of an opinion of Camilla Parker Bowles before this novel, but I guess if I had to commit to a viewpoint it would have been largely negative. this book completely brought me around as it tells the inside story of CPB and the Prince of Wales, and is very sympathetic to her and their relationship. It's hard to imagine being inside their world, but as far as these things go she seems like a pretty good person in a rough situation who has made the best of it, and really a fa I didn't really have much of an opinion of Camilla Parker Bowles before this novel, but I guess if I had to commit to a viewpoint it would have been largely negative. this book completely brought me around as it tells the inside story of CPB and the Prince of Wales, and is very sympathetic to her and their relationship. It's hard to imagine being inside their world, but as far as these things go she seems like a pretty good person in a rough situation who has made the best of it, and really a far better match for Charles than...well....you know. I sped read the last few chapter which are all about CPB's charity work and are rather dull, even if how much she does is quite impressive.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    The first half of the book is an interesting read, the history of Camilla's family, and what a history! But when we get to the Diana years sigh it's all about her messed up past,what she did to Prince Charles. Junor hints that is their is stuff about Diana we do not know because of the hurt it would cause her sons. On other hand she does point out Charles was not greatest husband to Diana (the man is missing a sensitivity chip.) Love her or hate her Camilla is here to stay. The fact is Camilla an The first half of the book is an interesting read, the history of Camilla's family, and what a history! But when we get to the Diana years sigh it's all about her messed up past,what she did to Prince Charles. Junor hints that is their is stuff about Diana we do not know because of the hurt it would cause her sons. On other hand she does point out Charles was not greatest husband to Diana (the man is missing a sensitivity chip.) Love her or hate her Camilla is here to stay. The fact is Camilla and the Prince have a good marriage and it shows. It's just to bad that all this other drama had to happen before they got to where the couple are now.

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