The author of Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters (2007) returns with a flattering account of Philip, who could have become King of Greece but instead married the woman who would be queen.
As the title suggests, Eade’s account ends with the 1953 coronation of the young queen. The author begins on a far grimmer note—the death in a 1937 plane crash of Philip’s pregnant sister Cecile. Hitler was then surging in Germany, and the teenage Philip was in school in Darmstadt, overlooking the Rhine Valley. Philip had a number of issues to deal with before achieving eligibility to marry Elizabeth and before earning the trust and affection of the English. His sisters married Germans, and he lived in Germany during the time of the Hitler Youth (he was not a member); he was in line for the Greek throne; he wasn’t a citizen of the U.K.; he had a rough exterior, perhaps exacerbated by his mother’s madness and his father’s absence. Eade follows Philip as he struggled through young manhood and grew up under the care of his uncles, the Mountbattens. Dickie Mountbatten, a rising star in the Royal Navy, encouraged his nephew to do likewise, which he did. He went through Royal Naval training, served on ships in World War II and earned the respect of his shipmates. Although he first saw Elizabeth when she was an 8-year-old bridesmaid, he later made a much greater impression on the future queen when she was 13. She came, she saw, he conquered. Eade follows the courtship and the pomp and circumstance, dismisses the rumors of his infidelity and lets us know how handsome, beautiful and well-attired everyone was.
Calorie-rich fare for those who enjoy snacking on royal stories.