Sunday, January 10, 2010

Women of Windsor: Their Power, Privilege and Passions

Women of Windsor: Their Power, Privilege and Passion is a 2006 book written by Catherine Whitney.

This book rotates around the lives of the Queen Mother, Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and Anne, Princess Royal.

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon marriage the Duke of York, Prince Albert brought her out of an obscure Scottish family of nobility. Their marriage was a happy one producing two children: Elizabeth and Margaret. Together they were known as "we four". The model for the perfect family. Elizabeth was a well liked figure and earned the nickname "The Smiling Duchess" because she was always seen smiling. The Duke of York is suddenly placed on the throne when his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicates in order to marry the divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth never liked Wallis and although her husband wanted to meet up with his brother, she was adamant that he should not come here with her. As a queen Elizabeth proved her self able and was much loved by the public.

Elizabeth (the younger) and Margaret were raised in a family of care and love. Elizabeth was nicknamed "Lilibet" after her failed attempts at saying her name. Elizabeth was a stern and duty bound child while Margaret was lighthearted and bubbly. When she was 13 she had met a handsome boy and was instantly smitten. He was Prince Phillip of Greece.  During the Second World World, Elizabeth desperately wanted to help. After much pleading her father finally allowed her too.

Philip asked Elizabeth's hand in marriage when they were older and she wholeheartedly said yes. But it was illegal for an heir to marry without the permission of the King. George VI didn't particularly like Phillip but eventually he allowed them to marry. The marriage was a "happy" one. Elizabeth was certainly happy but Philip was not. He did not like walking a step behind his wife. He often took long trips away from her and was rumored that he had had affairs. It didn't matter to Lilibet. Her loved followed along the lines of "Absence makes the heart grow fonder". He made sure that although she was the head of state, he was master of the home.

When George VI dies, everyone in his family is heart broken but most of all; Princess Margaret. Margaret consoles in Peter Townsend. Their friendship slowly blossoms into love. In 1953 he divorces  his first wife and proposes to Margaret but Elizabeth being the traditionalist that she orders them to call it off even though most of the public wanted to marriage to go through. After a bunch of rebound relationships, Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones.

People originally saw Princess Anne as a stubborn and "ugly" child. She was always wanting to get away. And her favourite was was through horses.She loved riding. She was over shadowed by her brother and her parents were not the most affectionate. She only gained recognition because as she grew older she became quite a beauty. She believed that beauty didn't define people and hated the attention from the press.

On November14 1963, Princess Anne married Mark Phillips. Anne showed her self to be a tough woman and did a rather good job holding off a kidnapper that was asking for a ransom.  They both loved horse riding and both had won many award for it so the two decided to start their own horse farm. Their marriage soon lost its flair and Anne returned back to her charity work. The two later divorced and remarried.

Elizabeth had a hard time dealing with her son's bachelor lifestyle. She decided that he needed a wife and off he was looking for a wife. He chose Lady Diana Spencer. Although she was pretty and seemed diminutive she was in fact a strong willed and emotional woman. She and Charles never really got along most importantly on Charles mistress, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Elizabeth did try to sympathize with Diana but she was beyond helping Diana and Charles divorced. On August 21, Diana died in a car accident in Paris, leaving the rest of the royal family in muddles with themselves and the public.

The book ends with the sad deaths of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. Will the house of Windsor produce most women worthy of recognition as these?

I give this book a 3/5. This book was quite easy to read unlike most of the biography books you tend to read. It had a nice flow. The information was quite informative. Primarily this book would be more for the Elizabeth than the Diana fan kind of book. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a more up-to-date image on the monarchy in England.

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