ROYAL CHILDREN by Ingrid Seward


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 How the British royal family was raised, from the Queen to her grandchildren, told by a seasoned Windsor watcher (Royal Style, 1988, etc.) and illustrated with previously unpublished photographs from the royal archives. George V, the Queen's grandfather, once said, ``My father was frightened of his father, I was frightened of my father, and I'm damned well going to see that my children are frightened of me.'' Here, Seward, editor of England's Majesty magazine, follows the evolution in royal thinking and practice from George's era (his eldest son, Edward, hated his father, abdicated, and married American divorcÇe Wallace Simpson), through that of the Queen, who was less distant and even sent her children out to ``public'' schools, down to the trendy ideas of Princess Diana. The author repeats much that is known already, but she also draws on her contacts in royal circles and particularly on her interviews with the royal ``nannies.'' These redoubtable women, often from a plebeian background, were the nurses who provided much of the emotional support that their charges could not get from their frequently absent parents, and who even in later years would remain as intimate friends and confidantes. Seward introduces us to a paradoxical world of privilege in which as a boy Prince Edward would wear his older brother's hand-me-downs and where sweets were only for special occasions. Much of the detail here is trivial for all but the most sentimental, yet the reader is occasionally challenged to reflect on the tensions for young people who must after all carry the symbolism of a nation and bear a burden of public duty and media attention that few of us would be willing to face. Anecdotal and at times poignant: of interest mainly to those for whom the intimacies of the British royal family fill an emotional need. (Sixteen pages of color and b&w photos--not seen) (First serial to National Enquirer)

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-10533-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993


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