Thursday, February 16, 2012

Royal Book Challenge: Settling Down by James Whitaker

Book 11/500

Settling Down by James Whitaker
128 Pages
Published 1981
ISBN: 0704333856

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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Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Thanks for posting this! It's so sad to think that he'll never write another book on the Royals again. I also found Mr. Whittaker to be one of the more intriguing of the royal correspondants.

Hopewell said...

So sad about Whitaker's death. I have this book, too. Charles was "old" even then--amazing how much younger and happier he seems today.

Marilyn Braun said...

James Whitaker had a distinctive voice in the world of royal commentators. We're unlikely to see the likes of him again anytime soon!

Yes, Prince Charles looks older than his years. He was only 31 or 32 on his engagement, yet he looks at least 10 years older than that. I actually find it hard to believe that he was the most eligible bachelor in the world at one point. Guess a title can make all the difference to some.

denise said...

Yes, it is sad to hear of the passing of James Whittaker. I certainly enjoyed his reporting, even when you knew is was "putting alot of icing on the cake" at times. In terms of Prince Charles, I remember him being considered one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, and he was that at that time. Yes, he may be much happier now in his personal life, but I was commenting not too long ago at how much he has aged. That man is 63 years old, and he just looks like old man winter. At the wedding of his son you can see him just holding onto the pillars on the BP Balcony. That man was tired and worn out. It was shocking to see. In his youth he was highly fit and into numerous physical activities, but now he barely does anything except walk in the highlands when he can. Does he take his annual skiing holiday anymore? I know he and Camilla share a love of riding but apart from that nothing else. Diana is a bit of a misnomer because he was still very young hen he married her so he stayed active in any respects. But not anymore.

Marilyn Braun said...

LOL! Like your phrase 'putting a lot of icing on the cake'. Very true.

Charles does seem happier and good for him but he definately doesn't seem to have the same vitality or even sparkle that his mother and grandmother had. With the exception of Prince Philip, I don't think the Windsor men tend to age well in general.