"Intensely well researched and an un-put-down-able read, Tina Brown's extraordinary book parts the brocaded velvet and allows us an unprecedented look at the world and mind of the most famous person on the planet. A social commentary, a historical document and a psychological examination, written by a superb investigative journalist."
-Academy Award(r) Winning Actress Helen Mirren
Ten years after her death, Princess Diana remains a mystery. Was she "the people's princess," who electrified the world with her beauty and humanitarian missions? Or was she a manipulative, media-savvy neurotic who nearly brought down the monarchy?
Only Tina Brown, former Editor-in-Chief of Tatler, England's glossiest gossip magazine; Vanity Fair; and The New Yorker could possibly give us the truth. Tina knew Diana personally and has far-reaching insight into the royals and the Queen herself.
In The Diana Chronicles, you will meet a formidable female cast and understand as never before the society that shaped them: Diana's sexually charged mother, her scheming grandmother, the stepmother she hated but finally came to terms with, and bad-girl Fergie, her sister-in-law, who concealed wounds of her own. Most formidable of them all was her mother-in-law, the Queen, whose admiration Diana sought till the day she died. Add Camilla Parker-Bowles, the ultimate "other woman" into this combustible mix, and it's no wonder that Diana broke out of her royal cage into celebrity culture, where she found her own power and used it to devastating effect.
From the Hardcover edition.
What really explains Diana? Actually, it's the women in her life, argues Brown, who at least knew the princess. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . A better read that sheds light on the Mr.
Posted March 23, 2009 by Karen , Sherwood Park, AlbertaA very good book encompassing historical data explaining the personalities of Diana and Charles. Tina, the author, includes lies and exaggerations Diana told Andrew Morton in his (and her book) Diana: In Her Own Words. This book, in my opinion, portrays the royal family in an excellent light. It was difficult to put the book down.
June 11, 2007
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Excerpt from The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown
The Last Picture Show
Is she an angel?
--Helena Ussova, aged seven, land-mine victim in Angola, January 1997
Diana never looked better than in the days after her divorce. Divestment was the name of the game, in her life and in her looks. The downsizing started with her Kensington Palace staff, which she reduced to cleaner, cook, and dresser. The assiduous Paul Burrell became maitre d' of her private life, combining the roles of P.A., man Friday, driver, delivery boy, conﬁdant, and crying towel. "He used to pad around listening to all," says a friend of Diana's mother. "I was quite sure his ear was pressed ﬁrmly to the key hole when I went to Kensington Palace for lunch."
Diana reinforced her break with married life by stufﬁng a heavy-duty garbage bag with her entire set of Prince of Wales china and then smashing it with a hammer. "Make a list of everything we need," she told Burrell. "Let's spend a bit more of his money while we can."
Diana now used police protection only when she attended a public event. Her favorite ofﬁcer was Colin Tebbutt, who had retired from the Royal Squad. He was a tall, fair-haired matinee idol who was also a Class One driver, trained by the SAS. Tebbutt knew that by going to work for Diana he was effectively shutting the door to any future work with the Prince of Wales, but he had a soft spot for Diana. "There was always a buzz when she was at home. I thought she was beginning to enjoy life. She was a different lady, maturing." Tebbutt says she would always sit in the front of the car, unlike the other Royals, such as Princess Margaret, who called him by his surname and, without looking up from her newspaper, barked, "Wireless!" when she wanted Tebbutt to turn on the radio.
"I drive looking in all three mirrors, so I'd say to Diana 'I'm not looking at your legs, Ma'am' and she'd laugh." The press knew the faces of Diana's drivers, so to shake them off Tebbutt sometimes wore disguises. "She wanted to go to the hairdresser one day, shortly before she died. I had an old Toyota MRT which she called the 'tart trap,' so I drove her in that. I went to the trunk and got out a big baseball hat and glasses. When she came out I was dripping with sweat, and she said 'What on earth are you doing?' I said, 'I'm in disguise.' She said, 'It may have slipped your notice, but I'm the Princess of Wales.' "
Every Tuesday night, the Princess sat at her desk in her study at Kensington Palace, writing her steady stream of heartfelt thank-you letters and listening to a piano playing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 and--her favorite--Manning Sherwin's "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." In the living room, Maureen Stevens, a clerk from the Prince of Wales's ofﬁce, who also happened to be a talented concert pianist, gave Diana a weekly private recital as she worked. You can almost hear Stevens's piano rippling in the background as Diana writes a fulsome note to her close friend, Harper's Bazaar editor Liz Tilberis: "Dearest Liz, How proud I was to be at your side on Monday evening... so deeply moved by your personal touch--the presents for the boys, candles at the hotel and ﬂowers to name but few but most of all your beaming smile, your loving heart. I am always here for you, Liz." Sometimes Diana would stop and telephone the Daily Mail's Richard Kay--"Ricardo," she called him--to help her with the phraseology of a letter. KP was her fortress. On warm summer afternoons, she vanished into its walled garden in shorts and T-shirt and her Versace sunglasses, carrying a bag of books and CDs for her Walkman. On weekends, when William and Harry were home, Burrell would see her in a ﬂowing cotton skirt on her bicycle with the basket in front, speeding down the Palace drive with the boys pedaling furiously behind her.