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Prince William: The Man Who Will Be Kingby Penny Junor
The first definitive, in-depth portrait of the man who will be king of England—and the story of his relationship with the woman who will be his queen.See more details below
The first definitive, in-depth portrait of the man who will be king of England—and the story of his relationship with the woman who will be his queen.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Author
Penny Junor is the author of The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor; Charles: Victim or Villain and the New York Times bestselling Diana: Princess of Wales. She is the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestselling Wonderful Tonight (with Pattie Boyd) and lives in London.
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Read an Excerpt
The Man Who Will Be King
By Penny Junor
PEGASUS BOOKSCopyright © 2012 Penny Junor
All rights reserved.
There had been months of speculation in the press about where Diana's first baby would be born. According to the tabloids, she and the Queen were locked in argument; the Princess of Wales wanted to have her baby in hospital but the Queen insisted the heir to the throne should be born at Buckingham Palace, where her own four children had been delivered.
Like so many royal stories over the years it was not quite true. Diana was under the care of Mr George Pinker, the Queen's Surgeon-Gynaecologist – better known to the young mothers of west London as one of the senior consultants at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington. A delightful man, he'd been delivering babies there for twenty-four years, including those of the Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Anne. There was never any doubt – or disagreement – about where this baby would be born. It would be delivered in the safety of a private room on the fourth floor of the Lindo Wing, with everything on hand in case of emergency.
So Prince William, who came into the world at three minutes past nine on the evening of Monday 21 June 1982, was the first direct heir to the throne to be born in a hospital. It was the first of many firsts for the healthy, 7 lb 1½ oz little boy, who genealogists declared would be the most British monarch since James I and the most English since Elizabeth I. He was 39 per cent English, 16 per cent Scottish, 6.25 per cent Irish and 6.25 per cent American. The remaining 32.5 per cent was German. To his parents he was quite simply the best thing that had ever happened to them.
When news reached the wider world that Diana had been taken to St Mary's at five o'clock that morning, people flocked to the hospital, clutching Union Jacks and picnics, and set up camp in the street outside, just as they had for the wedding almost exactly a year before. Undaunted by the pouring rain they waited excitedly, transistor radios on, bottles of bubbly at the ready, and when news of the birth finally came, the cry went up: 'It's a boy! It's a boy!' Corks popped, to cheers and roars of delight and stirring rounds of 'For she's a jolly good fellow' and 'Rule Britannia'.
Heading home to Kensington Palace a couple of hours later, Charles was greeted by about five hundred well-wishers and a host of journalists. He looked exhausted but flushed with excitement and pride. He had been with Diana throughout and would later tell friends about the thrill of seeing his son born, and what a life-changing experience it had been. 'I'm obviously relieved and delighted,' he said as the cameras flashed. 'Sixteen hours is a long time to wait.' And then, in typically philosophical mode, he added, 'It's rather a grown-up thing, I find – rather a shock to the system.' 'How was the baby?' someone asked. 'He looks marvellous; fair, sort of blondish. He's not bad.' When asked if he looked like his father, he added, 'It has the good fortune not to.' As for names, he said, 'We've thought of one or two but there's a bit of an argument about it. We'll just have to wait and see.'
There were no crowd barriers outside the Lindo Wing and as people pushed in on Charles, the better to hear his answers, a woman suddenly lunged forward, flung her arms around the new father and kissed him firmly on the cheek, leaving a smudge of bright red lipstick. 'Bloody hell,' said the Prince with a wry smile, 'Give us a chance!' The crowd loved it and burst into song, like football supporters: 'Nice one Charlie. Give us another one!'
As he slipped into a waiting car he appealed for quiet so that mother and baby could get some well-deserved rest. They had not been disturbed at all; their room on the fourth floor faced the opposite way. It was the other new mothers in the wing whose rooms overlooked the road he was concerned about.
Crowds had also gathered outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, where a self-appointed town crier was hoping to be heard above the noise of car horns and general merriment. At 10.25 p.m., in traditional style, the official announcement was posted on the gates. 'Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales was today safely delivered of a son at 9.03 p.m. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.' It was signed by Dr John Batten, head of the Queen's Medical Household, Dr Clive Roberts, the anaesthetist, Dr David Harvey, the royal paediatrician, and Mr George Pinker.
The proud father was back the next morning at 8.45 a.m., by which time the police had brought in barriers to keep the enthusiasm less physical. Frances Shand Kydd, Diana's mother, and her elder sister Lady Jane Fellowes, arrived about half an hour later. They left full of excitement. 'My grandson is everything his father said last night,' said Mrs Shand Kydd. 'He's a lovely baby. The Princess looked radiant, absolutely radiant. There's a lot of happiness up there.' The Queen was the next visitor. She arrived clutching a small present shortly before eleven o'clock and left twenty minutes later looking jubilant. The last familiar face to arrive was that of Earl Spencer, Diana's father, who had survived a massive brain haemorrhage three years earlier and was universally admired for having valiantly walked his youngest daughter up the long aisle of St Paul's Cathedral the previous July. He left the hospital repeating over and over, 'He's a lovely baby.'
Charles commented that his son was 'looking a bit more human this morning'. Diana was well and recovering her strength and the baby 'was in excellent form too, thank goodness.' They were in such good form that in the afternoon mother and 'Baby Wales' went home. Diana was looking flushed and a little fragile, but also radiant. It had been a normal birth, albeit induced, relatively pain-free, thanks to an epidural spinal injection, and the baby, wrapped in a white blanket for the journey home, was breast-feeding well. Charles was carrying him as they came through the doors of the hospital, but soon handed him carefully to his mother. They smiled for the cameras and crowds, said their goodbyes to the staff who had come to see them off, and were whisked away by a waiting car.
It was unusual for a first-time mother to leave hospital so soon. Thirty years ago it was common practice to stay for five to eight days after the birth, but Diana's home circumstances were rather special. As well as daily visits to Kensington Palace from Mr Pinker and Dr Harvey, she had the reassurance of a maternity nurse living in for the first few weeks while she established a routine. Sister Anne Wallace had previously worked for Princess Anne when her two children, Peter and Zara Phillips, were newborn.
Charles was overjoyed to have a family and quickly mastered the art of bathing the baby and nappy-changing. He had wanted children for years and was always quietly envious of his friends' cosy domestic arrangements. Just days after the birth he wrote to his cousin Patricia Brabourne, 'The arrival of our small son has been an astonishing experience and one that has meant more to me than I could ever have imagined. As so often happens in this life, you have to experience something before you are in a true position to understand or appreciate the full meaning of the whole thing. I am so thankful I was beside Diana's bedside the whole time because by the end of the day I really felt as though I'd shared deeply in the birth and as a result was rewarded by seeing a small creature which belonged to us even though he seemed to belong to everyone else as well! I have never seen such scenes as there were outside the hospital when I left that night – everyone had gone berserk with excitement ... Since then we've been overwhelmed by people's reactions and thoroughly humbled. It really is quite extraordinary ... I am so pleased you like the idea of Louis being one of William's names. Oh! How I wish your papa could have lived to see him, but he probably knows anyway ...'
Her papa was Lord Mountbatten of Burma, the Prince's great-uncle, killed by an IRA bomb while setting out on a fishing trip off the coast of Ireland in August 1979. Patricia had also been in the boat, as had her twin fourteen-year-old sons, her husband, her mother-in-law and a local boy. Only she, her husband and one of the twins survived, all with terrible injuries. Mountbatten was the Prince's 'Honorary Grandfather'; he had been a mentor and friend and closer than any other member of his family; closer perhaps than anybody at all. His murder in such appalling circumstances had left the Prince completely grief-stricken.
It was almost a year after his death that Charles met Lady Diana Spencer, as she then was, at the house of mutual friends near Petworth in Sussex. He had just had a dramatic bust-up with Anna Wallace, the latest in a string of girlfriends, some more suitable than others. It was July 1980. They had met a few times before, but until that evening, Charles had never seen Diana as a possible girlfriend; she was, after all, twelve years younger than him, and when they'd first met he had been going out with her elder sister, Sarah. It was at Althorp, the Spencer family home in Northamptonshire, and Diana was a fourteen-year-old home from school. She was now nineteen, and while their hosts tended the barbecue, she and Charles sat side by side on a hay bale chatting. Charles brought up the subject of Mountbatten's murder.
'You looked so sad when you walked up the aisle at Lord Mountbatten's funeral,' she said. 'It was the most tragic thing I've ever seen. My heart bled for you when I watched. I thought, "It's wrong, you're lonely – you should be with somebody to look after you."'
Her words touched him deeply. He was lonely; he had lost the only person he felt understood him, the man who had been grandfather, great uncle, father, brother and friend. He had struggled so hard to hide his emotions on the day of the funeral, knowing how much his father disapproved of tears in a man.
On the evening he heard the news, he wrote in his journal, 'Life has to go on, I suppose, but this afternoon I must confess I wanted it to stop. I felt supremely useless and powerless ...
'I have lost someone infinitely special in my life; someone who showed enormous affection, who told me unpleasant things I didn't particularly want to hear, who gave praise where it was due as well as criticism; someone to whom I knew I could confide anything and from whom I would receive the wisest of counsel and advice.'
It was ironic that Diana's sensitivity about Mountbatten was what triggered Charles's interest in her as a future bride, since the old man would almost certainly have counselled against the match. He would have applauded Diana's sweet nature, her youth, her beauty, her nobility and her virginity (important for an heir to the throne at that time), but he would have seen that the pair had too little in common to sustain a happy marriage.
He might also have seen that, despite the laughter and the charm, she had been damaged by her painful start in life, that she was vulnerable and needy. And he might have recognised that the Prince, with his own vulnerability and insecurity, would be the wrong person to cope with such a complex personality.
In his absence, there was no one who could offer advice of such a personal yet practical nature. His relationship with his parents had never been sufficiently close. There is no question that they loved their eldest son, but theirs is a family of poor communicators with a surprising dearth of emotional intelligence. He was brought up by nannies and had minimal contact with his parents, who were away for long periods during his childhood. As a little boy, there were occasions, friends remember, when his mother would sit Charles on her knee at teatime and play games with him, but she didn't spend hours in the nursery (intimidated, they say, by the authoritarian nanny), and signs of overt affection stopped altogether as he grew older. His father was equally sparing with his affection. He was rough with Charles, baffled by a child who was so emotional and sensitive. According to witnesses, he often reduced him to tears. As a result, Charles was frightened of his father and desperate to please him, but was always left feeling that he was a disappointment.
Mountbatten, older, perhaps wiser, and with time on his hands in his retirement, saw that his great-nephew was in need of help and took the teenager under his wing for some much-needed understanding and direction. He criticised him on occasion, most notably for his selfishness, but he also made him feel he was loved and valued – something his parents had never managed to achieve. Where his father had cut him down, no doubt in an effort to make a man of him in the traditional mould, Mountbatten built up his confidence, listened to his doubts and fears. He rebuked him when he felt he had behaved badly, but overall he provided encouragement and praise. He was a sounding board for some of his more outlandish ideas, and a shoulder to cry on when things went wrong. He had been, in short, a good parent to Charles and his death was devastating.
Charles was lost and rudderless without him. He knew he had a duty to find a wife and to produce an heir, but his love life was a mess. He had pursued and fallen for a series of women, but the one he really loved and felt comfortable with was Camilla Parker Bowles. He had first fallen in love with her in the early 1970s when he was in the Navy, and her long-term boyfriend, Andrew, was stationed in Germany. She was then Camilla Shand and they enjoyed a happy time together but he felt he was too young and too uncertain to suggest marriage. When she announced her engagement to Andrew, just a few months after Charles took to the high seas, she broke his heart. He wrote forlornly to Mountbatten that it seemed cruel that 'such a blissful, peaceful and mutually happy relationship' should have lasted no longer than six months. 'I suppose the feeling of emptiness will pass eventually,' he added.
Her marriage, however, proved less than perfect and, while her husband pursued his Army career and other women, she was left alone in the country with their two children. Charles and Camilla's friendship resumed. It was still mutually rewarding, but it could never progress to anything more. The Prince of Wales had been weaned on the story of the abdication and how the previous Prince of Wales' obsession with Wallace Simpson, a twice-divorced American, had wreaked mayhem and nearly brought the monarchy to its knees. Camilla would always be close to his heart but he knew he had to find love and a wife elsewhere.
Less than seven months after their conversation on the hay bale, when Diana had touched him with her concern and empathy, Charles asked her to marry him. The amount of time they had spent alone during that period was minimal; they scarcely knew each other, but his hand had been forced by the combination of the press and poor communication.
He invited Diana to join him and his friends and family at Balmoral Castle, the Queen's home in the Highlands of Scotland, where they traditionally stay during the summer. She was sweet and unsophisticated, bubbly and funny and everyone at the Castle that summer adored her. She was unlike anyone he had ever known and her interests and enthusiasms seemed to match his own.
Excerpted from Prince William by Penny Junor. Copyright © 2012 Penny Junor. Excerpted by permission of PEGASUS BOOKS.
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