THE PRINCE AND I by Marvine Howe


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Reversing the theme of Anna teaching the Crown Prince of Siam, Marvine Howe took lessons from the Crown Prince of Morocco -- and learned quite a bit besides riding in the process. Marvine entered Morocco as a governess to a French Commandant's children, but she soon discovered that her only Moroccoan contacts would be with the household help (fascinating enough) in this situation. She left -- and a job on Radio Maroc gave her far more opportunities, among them friendship with Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, a young man with the polish and principles of a diplomat and patriot, and his younger brother Moulay Abdullah, a jolly eighteen-year-old, less troubled by affairs of state. Marvine's contacts included other celebrities -- she was escorted home by Walter Pidgeon, showed Jennifer Jones and David Selznick the sights, watched Katherine Dunham dance for Moulay Hassan. But she was most interested in the story of Morocco and its people, struggling under a Protectorate system which gave them roads before secular non-political justice. She records in personal terms her search for the truth and the events leading up to and following the exile of the Sultan with his family in 1953. She portrays a prince who came to realize the need for international understanding and aid after the fateful and disappointing UN treatment of his country, with the U.S. placing defense above anti-colonialism. Marvine Howe sees Morocco today as a land not of contrasts but of collisions, where the Western trained minds of such men as the Sultan and his sons and his sons' friends -- to whom French culture has been so meaningful that it is an inseparable part of them --are needed to act as shock- absorbers. Spritely and warm with anecdote and friendship, with a real concern for political elements (the interpretation of which seems sketchy to this reader -- the relation of Glaoul and Sultan, for instance), this is good reading on an area of terror and glamor.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1955
Publisher: John Day