This book begins not so much as story of the early life of Prince Philip, more an anecdotal tour around the Royal families of Europe and how they inter-married to ensure the continuity of the Royal Houses.
I was a little bemused early on, when the different families were introduced, finding it not exactly boring, more a history lesson that must be first learnt to get the feel of the period. I will admit here and now that I’m still not sure who begat who, where or when.
When I say anecdotal I mean in the way it is written. There are about 1,000 references made to documents or discussions that make up the bulk of the story collating them must have been a mammoth task for Philip Eade. He does, to his credit, manage to create the atmosphere that allows the reader to get a feel for the life and times of those long ago heady days. The book ‘flows’ very well.
If you persevere and get past the history lesson, you will find, hidden inside the rhetoric of others, appears the tale of a young boy who, by family crises, finds himself being passed from pillar to post and relative to relative during his formative years.
My interest peaked when the decision was made for him to enter the Royal Navy. For then I was into the period that I knew about. The influence that Louis Mountbatten had on the young Prince was like that of a Father rather than an Uncle.
As the story continues the reader begins to feel that he understands what motivates this young Naval Officer, how he has come to terms with his upbringing finding that niche where he belongs.
The stories of the Royal families around the world are all a part of his history, his life and his future. How he makes the decisions that he does, his manner, his forthrightness are all set out and we can begin to understand the man who has stood at the right hand of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd for over 60 years.
This book takes the reader as far as the Coronation on 2nd June 1953. I stood at attention on the seafront of Limassol in Cyprus at that fateful moment, amongst the formations of the RN, Royal Marines, Army and Air Force. HMS Bermuda being one of the few ships that never got to the Spithead review.
I found the book a nostalgia trip in part, a history lesson also.
Did I enjoy it….Yes.
Would I recommend it…Yes.
If the reader can sort out the intricacies of Royal protocol and family ties, then a warm tale unfolds.
I give this book 3 anchors.
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