Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Sally Bedell Smith / Jun 19, 2019

Prince Charles The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life From the New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth the Queen comes the first major biography of Prince Charles in than twenty years perfect for fans of The Crown Sally Bedell Smith returns once a

  • Title: Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
  • Author: Sally Bedell Smith
  • ISBN: 9780307934239
  • Page: 126
  • Format: Audio CD
  • From the New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth the Queen comes the first major biography of Prince Charles in than twenty years perfect for fans of The Crown.Sally Bedell Smith returns once again to the British royal family to give us a new look at Prince Charles, the oldest heir to the throne in than three hundred years This vivid, eye opening biograpFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth the Queen comes the first major biography of Prince Charles in than twenty years perfect for fans of The Crown.Sally Bedell Smith returns once again to the British royal family to give us a new look at Prince Charles, the oldest heir to the throne in than three hundred years This vivid, eye opening biography the product of four years of research and hundreds of interviews with palace officials, former girlfriends, spiritual gurus, and , some speaking on the record for the first time is the first authoritative treatment of Charles s life that sheds light on the death of Diana, his marriage to Camilla, and his preparations to take the throne one day.Prince Charles brings to life the real man, with all of his ambitions, insecurities, and convictions It begins with his lonely childhood, in which he struggled to live up to his father s expectations and sought companionship from the Queen Mother and his great uncle Lord Mountbatten It follows him through difficult years at school, his early love affairs, his intellectual quests, his entrepreneurial pursuits, and his intense search for spiritual meaning It tells of the tragedy of his marriage to Diana his eventual reunion with his true love, Camilla and his relationships with William, Kate, Harry, and his grandchildren.Ranging from his glamorous palaces to his country homes, from his globe trotting travels to his local initiatives, Smith shows how Prince Charles possesses a fiercely independent spirit and yet has spent than six decades waiting for his destined role, living a life dictated by protocols he often struggles to obey With keen insight and the discovery of unexpected new details, Smith lays bare the contradictions of a man who is complicated, tragic, and compelling than we knew, until now.

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    About "Sally Bedell Smith"

      • Sally Bedell Smith

        Author of six biographies Elizabeth the Queen The Life of a Modern Monarch Random House 2102 For Love of Politics Bill and Hillary Clinton The White House Years Random House 2007 Grace and Power The Private World of the Kennedy White House Random House 2004 Diana In Search of Herself Portrait of a Troubled Princess Random House 2004 Reflected Glory The Life of Pamela Churchill Harriman Simon Schuster, 1996 In All His Glory The Life and Times of William S Paley and the Birth of Modern Broadcasting Simon Schuster, 1990 Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair since 1996 Previously cultural news reporter for The New York Times, staff writer for TV Guide, and reporter researcher for Time Magazine Awarded the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for magazine reporting in 1982 fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University from 1986 to 1987 B.A from Wheaton College and M.S from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


    1. Prince Charles is the Royal nobody seems to like or care about. His sons, daughter-in law, grandkids, and late ex-wife are all more popular than he is. I can't imagine what it must be like to have spend your life preparing for a job you can only obtain upon the death of your mother. Add to that the fact that opinion polls show that your loyal subjects would prefer that you be skipped over in favor of your much more popular son. It must be difficult to be Prince Charles. I admit I didn't really k [...]

    2. First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Sally Bedell Smith, and Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.My ongoing trek though the world of biographies would not have been complete without a piece by the famed Sally Bedell Smith. With honour and elegance, Smith is able to offer up an insightful look into the lives of those many hold in high esteem. Her latest subject is Prince Charles, heir to the [...]

    3. If it weren't for the marvelous show "The Crown," I probably wouldn't have read this biography about Prince Charles. That Netflix series is about a young Queen Elizabeth II and the early years of her reign. The show sparked an interest in the British Royals, and when I heard about this new book on Prince Charles, I thought it was worth a chance.Before reading this biography, I admit I didn't know much about Prince Charles. Growing up in the '80s I was a fan of Princess Diana, of course, but I di [...]

    4. A big thank you to Sally Bedell Smith, Random House, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Prince Charles was born into an unaffectionate, cold, austere environment, isolated from his parents who were busy with diplomatic functions. If it weren't for the Queen Mother and "Dickie" Mountbatten, he probably wouldn't have experienced familial comfort in childhood. School was one bullish event after another, where he failed to excel at any " manly pursuits" [...]

    5. Outstanding read! I love reading anything about the royal family. If I see something about them in the newspaper, or magazine, I read it. Especially prince Charles and Lady Di. I watched every moment of the Royal Wedding. When I found out about Lady Di's fatal accident, I was devastated. PRINCE CHARLES by Sally Bedell Smith, told wonderful stories about Prince Charles' travels, and the many things he accomplished, but will he ever be king? I love looking at pictures! Because a picture is worth a [...]

    6. Oh my, it’s been a long time since I've read a book on the royal family. I think the last one I read was Ken Wharfe's Diana - A Closely Guarded Secret. So, what’s new with the family? Well, of course, since the days of Princess Diana, her sons have grown up and Prince William has happily married and has had two children. There’s nothing in this book, however, that has not been written before about Prince Charles’ children and grandchildren. As far as I can tell, there is nothing new in t [...]

    7. I have read a number of biographies about Prince Charles. They all seem to portray him as a love-starved, lonely and emotionally vulnerable. Charles was the first Royal to graduate from Cambridge University and signed up for the Air Force to learn to fly jet planes but was forced into the Royal Navy by his father. Like his father he graduated from Dartmouth, the British Naval Academy. He had a hard time in the close quarters of the Navy ships as he primarily is an introvert.Smith states that Cha [...]

    8. This book is proof that you can kill a person in more ways than one. Part of a sustained, subtle and slow media campaign against Diana that started a year after her death that repeats the confessions of Charles as presented in the June 1994 Dimbleby interview - largely unsuccessful at the time because of Diana’s popularity and public’s belief in her and in Morton’s 1992 book ‘Diana: Her True Story’ - but which finds new life each year by the words and actions of even their children who [...]

    9. "Diana Snares Her Man" as a chapter title is typical of the way this author throws objectivity out the window, choosing sides against a then-19-year-old girl versus a 38 year old man and the lover who helped select his bride. The author falls just short of fawning over Charles, but doesn't hesitate to impose her own politics when she disapproves of his (stating as fact, for example, that Charles' views on climate change should be more "moderate.") So yeah, the author is not my cup of Earl Grey. [...]

    10. I received an e-ARC of this biography through NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group. Thank you.This is not an authorized biography of Prince Charles, but it is a very even handed attempt to show what this man is like both when he is in the public spotlight and when he isn't. I have read other biographies of the British royal family written by Sally Bedell Smith and my reason for wanting to read this one was because I knew I would find a balanced approach to the subject at hand. I always ma [...]

    11. I started 2017 with a goal of reading more memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies, and realized in July that I hadn't made much progress. My local public library branch had this available, and it was such a pleasant surprise. It is an absolute credit to Ms. Smith's writing and storytelling skill how enjoyable and interesting a 500+ page book on a subject I'm not particularly intrigued by could be.

    12. In the GP's waiting room, I read a book extract on Prince Charles in VANITY FAIR. It was interesting to read, so I decided to tick off a biography from my reading challenge this year, since I don't read non-fiction for pleasure. By coincidence, I got Bedell Smith's book, which turned out to be the one where they'd got the extract from in the magazine.The only interesting chapter was the bit about Charles's childhood. Philip sent him to Gordonstoun, which he loathed, because he wasn't treated lik [...]

    13. I won this Free book through First reads.There was so much about Prince Charles that I didn't know before, in this book. His childhood, his shyness, his gentle manner as a child.His grandmother was always his ali.Schooling was hard on him, especially when his father sent him to a school in Scotlad, where he was bullied and made fun of all the time. He wanted to go to school at Eaton, near his grandmother's home.He found his nich in polo with horses. Later in life he enjoyed huting and fishing a [...]

    14. Biographies irritate me; this one was less annoying than many. Going in, I thought Charles was freakish, interesting, unlovable, and that he may well rise to the occasion and not be a complete disaster on the throne; this book did little to sway or deepen any of those impressions. Still, I really enjoyed the gossip.

    15. This review, and others, can be found on BW Book Reviews.I received an ARC of this book from Random House and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Prince Charles has never been my favorite royal, if I had to have one. Probably because I've read too many tabloid articles about him and I'm quite partial to Will and Kate. (Sorry.) But, this book helped me see him in context. One review I read summed Charles up perfectly: "the man at the center of the book is not its most interesting character [...]

    16. 3.5 rounded up to 4. I really enjoyed this book, it made me want to learn more. I definitely think Americans have a limited view through the media on Charles and Diana and I was not aware Diana had mental issues. It is hard for me to still like Camilla and Charles given what occurred. I also liked understanding more why Charles is the way he is, learning more about his background and upbringing. Some parts dragged for me, especially when speaking about fundraising but Charles does try and help a [...]

    17. I learned a lot about the Royal Family. Even though there were some slow parts, much of it was of great interest to me.

    18. This is an unauthorized, but generally sympathetic biography of Prince Charles by the woman who wrote a biography of the queen a couple of years ago. It largely portrays Charles as a person man who has been starved for affection and praise his entire life, and one who is largely out of step with his unintellectual family.The book is fairly even-handed about his disastrous marriage to Princess Diana, showing that there was plenty of fault on both sides and leaving one to speculate what would have [...]

    19. Remember when I said I wouldn’t be fooled again by celebrity bios after reading the book about Prince? I lied. I am beginning to believe I may have a problem with all things related to Prince it the artist formerly known as Prince or the actual HRH Prince Charles. Having majored in history and studied the Royals, this book is a compilation of all the other bios with some additional Camilla hogwash thrown in for good measure. 2 Stars. This is a library readn’t waste your hard earned shillings [...]

    20. It's probably no surprise that I was anxious to read "Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life," by Sally Bedell Smith. You might wonder why we need yet another biography of the prince. I wondered this myself. I have read several, and I don't know that I honestly learned anything new from this one, but I found it enjoyable nonetheless. For me, reading books about the British royals is like reading People or US Weekly -- pure reading "junk food." Just fun. So, here are a f [...]

    21. I was graciously provided an advance reader copy of this book via NetGalley in return for my honest review.As an unabashed Anglophile, I have read many biographies on the Windsors over the years, including a few specifically about Prince Charles. This fresh, new biography about Prince Charles is as precious as a hunk of royal Welsh gold!The Prince Charles biography of note since the 90's has been the authorised Johnathan Dimbleby tome, which is referenced throughout this book (ironically, I've n [...]

    22. Sorry to say this, but the man at the center of the book is not its most interesting character. Prince Charles' life is filled with people whose charisma overwhelms his: his mother, the beloved monarch; his first wife, of course, Diana; his charming sons, William and Harry; William's photogenic family. So even though he is the future King of England, Prince Charles often feels like the underdog in his own life story.With the unprecedented 50-year reign of his mother, Charles won't have very long [...]

    23. I was a freshman in high school when the supermarket tabloids started making a big deal about the fairytale romance of Lady Di and her prince. Like so many girls of my age I got sucked in, only to have my heart broken when it all fell apart and the cheating scandals took over the headlines. The pro-Diana camp dominated my local store checkout lanes and Charles became a villain in my mind. When Netgalley gave me the opportunity to grab an advance review copy of this biography it felt like a good [...]

    24. Been working my way through this one. It’s not a flattering look at the Prince, but it doesn’t really tread into new territory. It does stay out of some of the worst of the stories and sticks for the most part to the facts. She does like to go on and on and on about him being “sensitive” (my word). Plus, on and on about his environmental pov’s and opinions. Yes, the man is opinionated… shocking…A decent, quick overview of his life. Most of which everyone knows, already.

    25. I am not a great reader of royal biographies, so I can't judge this one against others published earlier, but it does have the virtue of being as up-to-date as possible and includes both a thorough and nuanced portrait of Charles's character and a dismayingly exhaustive account of his welter of charitable initiatives. The outlines of Charles's life are well-known enough to be hackneyed - his miserable childhood, full of nannies and absent or bullying parents; his ghastly schooldays - at least, u [...]

    26. A GIFTED AUTHOR PRESENTS A FASCINATING LOOK AT A FUTURE KING: PRINCE CHARLESBOOK REVIEWPosted by Anna Patterson. Writer, Journalist, Book ReviewerPrince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith. Published by Random House Publications. April 2017. Pages 532. Biographies and Memoirs.Other Books by Sally Bedell Smith:In All His GloryReflected GloryDiana in Search of HerselfGrace and PowerFor Love of PoliticsElizabeth the QueenPrince Charles* * *This book begin [...]

    27. Originally posted on You Have Your Hands FullI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I have always been fascinated by the Royal Family, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read Sally Bedell Smith’s new biography Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life. Much of my interest is focused on the younger generation of the family, and Prince Charles has always remained somewhat enigmatic. I remember that the tabl [...]

    28. In the interests of full disclosure, I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life from NetGalley. Also full disclosure, I have always been a fan of Diana and not one of the Prince. My opinion, however, is somewhat altered after the reading of Sally Bedell Smith's book. It appears Diana is not the only one deserving of empathy from the great machinations of royalty. Although Smith's biography is not "officially authorized" it might a [...]

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