Settling Down by James Whitaker
Hard to believe, but at one point Prince Charles was one of the worlds most eligible bachelors. The media was just as interested in his relationships, maybe even more so, than Prince William's bachelor status 30 years later.
In his time the prince was linked with several women, whether he went out with them or not. Settling Down focuses on the courtship of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Whitaker holds nothing back about his efforts to get the exclusive story, which is far more interesting than the rest of the book. Unlike other books written about their relationship, Diana is not presented as Cinderella, nor is Charles presented as Prince Charming. Whitaker doesn't romanticize either of them. Diana is shrewd, cunning and not even remotely like the 'Shy Di' of lore. And Charles is portrayed as someone 'fond' of Diana but not really in love with her. Hardly the stuff of fairy tales.
No biography of Charles would be complete without covering his relationships with his married friends. Camilla Parker Bowles in particular enjoys 'looking after' him (his quotes, not mine) and states that Diana would 'never come to resent' Charles' friendship with her. In retrospect it was a naive statement to make.
The last chapter recaps the women he dated or was linked to. Including those who introduced him to 'the delights of the bedroom' , the flings with suitable aristocrats, unsuitable worldly blonde's, and the smart women who turned him down. Looking back, with all of the warning signs, it's a shame Diana wasn't one of them.
© Marilyn Braun 2012
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