His face is recognized the world over; his story is well known. But what is Prince William truly like? As Diana's eldest son, he was her confidant. While the tabloids eagerly lapped up the lurid details of his parents' divorce, William lived painfully though it, suffering the embarrassment, the humiliation, and divided loyalties. He watched his father denounced on prime time television; he met the lovers. And when he was just fifteen, his beautiful, loving mother was suddenly, shockingly snatched from his life forever.
The nation lost its princess and its grief threatened the very future of the monarchy. What was almost forgotten in the clamor was that two small boys had lost their mother. His childhood was a recipe for disaster, yet as he approaches his thirtieth birthday, William is as wellbalanced and sane a man as you could ever hope to meet. He has an utter determination to do the right thing and to serve his country as his grandmother has so successfully done for the last sixty years. Who stopped him from going off the rails, turning his back on his duty and wanting nothing to do with the press—the people he blamed for his mother's death? Where did the qualities that have so entranced the world, and his new bride, Catherine, come from?
In the last thirty years, Penny Junor has written extensively about his parents and the extended family into which he was born. With the advantage of her relationships within William's circle, she has been able to get closer to the answers than ever before.
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About 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 co-author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Wonderful Tonight (with Patti Boyd) and lives in London.
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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Table of Contents
Behind Closed Doors 16
Tragic Mismatch 22
The Root of the Problem 27
Baby Wales 32
Down Under 38
A New Arrival 42
His Royal Naughtiness 47
The Beginning of the End 58
A Giant Sleepover 66
Avery Public War 70
One Tape After Another 75
A Tough Choice 81
The Playing Fields of Eton 86
The Queen Calls Time 91
Outside the Gilded Cage 97
Tragedy in Paris 108
The Week the Country Waited 112
You Can't Read About This 117
The Envelope 123
Getting on With the Day 128
Uneasy Relationship 135
The Meeting with Mrs P. B. 142
Partners in Crime 151
Bloody Pirates 159
The Sport of Kings 169
Out of Africa 174
The Old Grey Town 181
A Normal Student 186
Loss and Learning 195
Finding His Feet 201
Hope Street 213
Coming of Age 216
Final Years of Freedom 223
New Regime 232
His Father's Witness 240
In his Mother's Footsteps 247
The Square Mile 257
Phone Hacking 270
Going Solo 278
Life on the Ocean Wave 284
Drawing a Line 288
Football Association 296
Getting it Right 302
A Household of their Own 307
The Day Job 316
Keeping the Memory Alive 322
Dossing Down 327
Helping Heroes 331
Creating Synergy 337
Twenty Eighteen 344
Foundation for the Future 352
A Ring on her Finger 359
Zero Tolerance 365
A Quiet Family Wedding 370
A Right Royal Celebration 378
Party at the Palace 385
Crossing Continents 392
Tinsel Town 398
A New Decade 404
Diamond Jubilee 411
London 2012 418
Breach of Privacy 423
Third in Line 428
Picture Acknowledgements 439
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There are no surprises in this book. Penny Junor is a staunch admirer of the Prince of Wales and her dislike for Diana shows in her recent books: The Firm and Charles Victim or Villain and in her various interviews. I think readers of the book should keep this very much in mind that there is bias in the book. Diana was not perfect but she is not the bad person that Junor depicts her as. Nor is Charles the Saint that Junor shows him to be. At one point she claims Charles was "racked with guilt" about going back to Camilla apparently Charles wasn't "racked with guilt" when he decided that being involved with married women was OK--Lady Kanga Tryon was another one of his married mistresses. She also claims Diana had lovers prior to 1986 and "poor" Charles didn't know. She has no evidence of this--Diana got involved with James Hewitt in 1986 after Charles returned to Camilla earlier that same year. Junor also attempts to whitewash the adultery of Charles and Camilla trivializing it and makes comments how "sexy and giggly" Camilla was in the now infamous Camillagate tapes. For those who think Diana "used" her sons, they should perhaps read up on Charles using William in a story that got international coverage thanks to the Prince's PR--William inviting Camilla to tea. There also were many stories about how the boys wanted to make Papa happy. Junor also says Charles never behaved Dishonorably. Well was it honorable of him to be involved with a fellow officer's wife and also marry a young woman he later admitted he didn't really love? Junor blames Rosa Monckton for keeping Camilla from the 2007 Diana Memorial service which Camilla should not have even thought of attending. Actually there were critical articles in the press and public opinion was such that Camilla bowed out at the last minute. The coverage of William's life post Diana comes about 100 pages into the book (Junor has a field day trashing Diana). She recounts the familiar territory of William's Gap year, his enjoyment of traveling to Africa, his choice of St. Andrew's University, his courtship of Kate Middleton, the 2007 breakup, the engagement and marriage. Left out is t he "cooling off" period earlier than the 2007 breakup where William and Kate were reunited at a bonfire rally--and her mother got them back together. Also the Uncle Gary Goldsmith scandal is not covered. Basically I think Junor could have done a lot better with this book had she decided not to use it as a propaganda piece for Charles and Camilla and a trashing exercise for Diana. Obviously the boys don't agree with Junor's assessment of their mother and praise Diana publicly. I would say that Charles and Diana were loving parents but from Junor goes out of her way to bash Diana's mothering skills.
This is a very detailed and interesting look into Prince William's life. This book includes recent events. At times this book seemed to drag on a bit, but overall I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend this book to people interested in the royal family.
When purchasing biographies for my library I look for authors of integrity who can relate the life of their subject with honesty and dignity; not glossing over faults (which all humans have) but at the same time not relating events with vulgarity, speculation or indiscretion. Sadly, this book does NOT fit those requirements.
I devour all books about the British Royal Family, especially the late Princess of Wales. It has become fairly obvious that Diana used her children as pawns and the emotional scars may be very well suppressed. It is also clear that Prince Charles continues to be overshadowed by the ghost of Diana. Fortunately, William had, and continues to have, a strong support system of close family and friends that has allowed him to withstand his parents war (one-sided?), divorce, dalliances and premature death of his mother. Prince William has evolved into a thoughtful and private man who cherishes family more than anything else. It seems apparent that he not only married Catherine Middleton, but her family, which represented normalcy, as well. Ms. Junor has done a good job giving the reader a multi-dimensional view of the man who may be king. The reader sees him not just as Diana's son, but as a man who has cultivated the best traits of both his parents, recognizes his role and will work to make the people of Britain proud.