The personal lives of the British royals were successfully kept out of the public eye by mutual agreement of the press and royal family, but this all changed in 1936, when King Edward VIII abdicated the throne and spurned his responsibility for the sake of the glamorous American socialite and divorcee, Wallis Simpson. In Princes at War, Deborah Cadbury reveals evidence that the duke and duchess of Windsor colluded with Hitler to take back the British throne from Edward's younger brother, King George VI, should Germany prevail in the war.
Drawing on new research and recently released files, Deborah Cadbury shows that not only did George VI have to battle to lead his country but he had to battle constantly to keep his brothers, and especially his older brother, in check.
©2015 Deborah Cadbury (P)2015 Tantor
"[Deborah's] nuanced exploration of the king's reticent temperament and the psychic toll taken by his many troubles creates a fuller picture of the man, who was destined to lead during a 'spectacular downfall' in British power." (Publishers Weekly)
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
I really recommend this book, however, I admit that a key reason for my recommendation is the fact that I agreed with the author's characterization of two of the people at the center of the story - the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. I have always been extremely skeptical of anyone who tries to paint their story as a fairy tale love story. There is nothing fairy tale-ish or loving about a conniving woman who tricks a gullible fool into believing she is worth loving and worth sacrificing the role he worked his whole life to attain. I think the most positive thing to say about the Duchess of Windsor was even though it was never her intent, her actions spared Britain of having Edward as king during the World War II. The fact that they went through the war with George instead of Edward as king had to contribute to their ultimate victory. So I was happy to know that the author's research seemed to support my opinion. At the same time however, she kept the book from veering into a mean and spiteful gossip session.
I enjoyed reading of the development of the relationship between George and Churchill. I also thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Edward and George's brothers. I knew very little about the two and I felt that the way they blossomed into mature men during the war, similarly to George, redeemed the royal family at a time it needed redeeming.
As to whether the Windsors were German spies or naive dupes the Germans were able to manipulate - I vote for the latter. They came across as too shallow, self absorbed and unintelligent to be useful intelligence gatherers.
I thought the narration was a little weak. She was too breathless and excitable in places. Other than that though this was an entertaining and insightful book.
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
Overall, this is a great account of the years surrounding World War II, King George VI and his Queen, the Dukes of Gloucestor and Kent, Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Hitler - everyone EXCEPT the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson!!! By this time, we all know that theirs was not a "love story". He was a little slow and a whole lot pseudo p-whipped. I say "pseudo" because sex is a bit messy - Wallis Simpson doesn't look like she's ever moaned in her life or been naked or sweaty with her hair uncombed! If you want to know more about the Windsors' support of Nazism, anti-Semitism, racism, shallowness, etc., check out Andrew Morton's "17 Carnations". Also this narrator is not a good fit. She sounds like she should be reading a Phillippa Gregory book about Anne Boleyn!
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