Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Royal Review - Diana, A Princess Remembered by Glenn Harvey

Aside from books that have yet to be released, or ones I've waited until they've ended up in the bargain bin, I can't say I've ever waited as long for a book as this one. Ordered in late July, I now have it in my hands today. Usually I'm impressed by the efficiency of..Amazon but in this case I was truly frustrated by the experience. However, don't let that stop you from purchasing this book!

The first thing I notice about this book is the shape of it - a horizontal rectangle. This presents an aesthetic dilemma as most of the royal books I own are not horizontal rectangles. So where do I place this so as not to disturb the careful visual alignment of books I've created? I'm conflicted, do I put it at the front of the shelf or at the end? Or do I put it on the shelf with smaller books, where it will stick out? Luckily the shape of the book will not affect my enjoyment of it or whether I will give it an unbiased view. The second thing I notice is a DVD which includes 'images set to a soundtrack.' with a '60 minute running time.' This more than makes up for the aesthetic dilemma. I am of course torn between watching this versus giving a deserving review of this book. So I have now decided to look at the book and revisit the DVD later.

Diana A Princess Remembered is filled with photos of Diana throughout her royal career. In that respect it really isn't much different from Diana: Portrait of a Princess by Jayne Fincher (also a horizontal rectangle). Covering official and private travels from 1985 to 1993 to Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Korea, Kuwait, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Thailand, the USA and of course the UK. It has a similarity to Portraits of a Princess: Travels with Diana, by Patrick Jephson, which details her travels from an insiders perspective with the relevant photos.

My enjoyment of this book is somewhat marred by Glenn Harvey's reputation as a paparazzi who relentlessly pursued Diana, upsetting her on several occasions for his own cause. However those types of photos are not included in this book, allowing me to believe I have some integrity left after having bought it. Accompanying the book are anecdotes of his travels with Diana and the situations Harvey encountered in order to capture the moment.

The DVD is enjoyable and a pleasant surprise. The musical accompaniment starts sombre but becomes festive depending on the location of the photos. For instance, during her United States visits, the soundtrack section starts with music that belongs more on a game show, complete with wild audience applause. I started to wonder what music would be played in the Canadian part of the DVD - Oh Canada? Bird calls? Aboriginal drumbeats? Instead they decided to stick with acoustic guitar music; the type you'd hear at Starbucks.

If like me, you're on some sort of misguided mission to own every book ever written about Diana, then this book is for you. If not, then you might enjoy the book for what it is - photos of Diana in her royal element, relating to the people and making her extraordinary impact on the world.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Click here to purchase Diana: A Princess Remembered

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!


Elrena said...

A thorough review! Thanks for this. :)

Anonymous said...

The cover photo is so exquisite, I'd put it on the living room coffee table.

Elrena said...

Me again! I tagged you with a writing meme -- here's the link if you want to play:

Anonymous said...

I have around 250 books about the royal family of the UK. I'd say over 99% of them are rectangular in shape. There may be a few that are square, but that's all.

Anonymous said...

Well, correcting my earlier comment...ALL of my royalty books are rectangular since a square is a type of rectangle. *smile*

Marilyn Braun said...


Horizonal rectangle not vertical.

Do you own Diana: Portraits of a Princess by Jayne Fincher or Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra by Peter Kurth? That type of rectangle.

Out of the over 200 books I have, about 4 of them - including this one - are a horizontal rectangle, so for ME it's unusual. The majority of the books I own are vertical rectangles, which I have no problem with on my bookshelf. Anyways, it's not a serious 'asthetic dilemma', it was meant as a joke.

Anonymous said...

I have the Jayne Fincher book...I made a short stack of royalty books laid horizontally beneath an end-table and "Jayne," being the largest, is on the bottom holding up the others...that's at the moment - I'm one for re-arranging my rooms frequently... :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Marilyn, You mentioned you wanted suggestions about what to write about. I'd love to know more about you. What's it like being a royal watcher? When did you start? What's been your favorite experience with royal watching? What sort of friendships has it lead to? The thing that differentiates your royal watching from everyone else's is you.

Best wishes,
Jerry Waxler
Memory Writers Network

VirtualWordsmith said...

Nice review. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one thrown when a book isn't the size or shape I'm expecting.

Marilyn Braun said...

Good, I don't feel so crazy now! ;)

Thanks for your questions Jerry (hardly anyone ever asks about me *sniff*) I'll answer your questions in a future post.

I've only had to lay one or two books horizontally on my shelf - one being Diana: The Portrait by Rosalind Coward. That book is so big it doesn't fit on my shelf vertically!!