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Prince Charles Audiobook

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Elizabeth the Queen comes the first major biography of Prince Charles in more than 20 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 more than 300 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 more, some speaking on the record for the first time - is the first authoritative treatment of Charles' 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 more 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 more complicated, tragic, and compelling than we knew - until now.

With a preface read by the author.

©2017 Sally Bedell Smith (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Prince Charles is an 18th-century gentleman with a 21st-century mission. His love of tradition combines with an outlook that can be bracingly avant garde. Sally Bedell Smith captures his contradictions and his convictions in this fascinating book that is not just about a man who would be king, but also about the duties that come with privilege." (Walter Isaacson)

"For all we know about Prince Charles, there is so much we didn't know - until now. Sally Bedell Smith has given us a complete and compelling portrait of the man in the shadow of the throne. It's all here, from the back stairs of the palaces to the front pages of the tabs. Read all about it!" (Tom Brokaw)

"No one writes about life at the top with more panache than Sally Bedell Smith. Her Prince Charles is a delicious blend of glamour and grandeur, jealousy and rivalry, greatness and human foible. Smith writes with wisdom and sympathy - and a sharp and knowing eye - about the struggles and maturation of the man who would-be king." (Evan Thomas)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Simone 04-25-17
    Simone 04-25-17 Member Since 2017

    Follow me on Goodreads too!

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    "The "Green" Prince"

    I love reading about the British Royal Family, and when it comes to today’s crop it’s been a while since I’ve read anything recent. When it comes to Charles, most of the books have all ended on a “but will they ever get married” note. Clearly, they did.

    It was an interesting bio, despite the zillions of books and documentaries I’ve seen I still felt like I learned something new about Charles… like for example: to what extent he is passionate (obsessed?) by environmental issues. I always knew it was an interest of his, but I didn’t know just how Green he is! Good for him.

    I’d recommend this book to anyone curious about his life, it was a very complete biography.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Lutz, FL, United States 04-08-17
    Amazon Customer Lutz, FL, United States 04-08-17 Member Since 2012
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    "An instant classic"

    Audible does it again. This same narrator also narrated the author's biography of Elizabeth the Queen in 2012 as well as Tina Brown's The Diana Chronicles in 2007. She does an equally excellent job on Sally Bedell Smith's superb biography of H.R.H. Prince Charles. I've waited nearly a year for this and it was more than worth it. Wonderful audio commentary.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JustS 07-11-17
    JustS 07-11-17
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    "Detailed, But Towed The Party Line"

    This book is typical of Sally Bedell Smith. It's well researched and written. However, as a long time reader of many biographies of the current British royal family, this book glossed over the Diana years and in my humble opinion, didn't accurately convey what happened during the Prince of Wales' marriage, in particular the resumption of the affair with Camilla. While no one who wasn't involved will ever know the whole truth, it still felt as though the author bought the narrative provided by the Wales camp. Also, while there were some new facts regarding the prince, the book didn't feel like a new, refreshing read.

    One bright spot was the narrator, Rosalyn Landor. She was a pleasure to listen to as always.

    For me, this was an average biography with great narration. From someone as talented as Sally Bedell Smith, I expected better.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 05-25-17
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 05-25-17

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "Poor Little Rich Boy"

    I know this extensive biography isn't meant in any way to be humorous, but I think most Americans, even Anglophiles, will get a few chuckles from it.

    Of course, you have to respect the unique and difficult position in which Prince Charles has lived his entire life. He has had the same public exposure, duties and restrictions of being a constitutional monarch without having attained the title, respect or experience of actually being one. If he does ever become King, it's unlikely he'll have the time to establish himself in his own right.

    And, oh, he has had misfortunes! Distant parents, both physically and psychologically. Nearly impossible high expectations from them, from his country and its notoriously prying media. A really bad marriage. Damned if he didn't try to have some serious influence; damned if he tried to interfere in any way deemed political.

    Still, this is one of the wealthiest men in the world, people! Life's trials just cannot be put on an equal footing for him as on the next guy. All that elevated family history, all that money, all those loyal subjects and servants, all that protection and separation from the "real world" of finances, mortgages, bills - surely that's some compensation for a fellow of reportedly average intelligence. Given the truly horrifying positions and circumstances into which one may be born in today's world, most of us are probably not inclined to expend a whole lot of sympathy on Poor Charles.

    It seems to me that the biographer here has done an admirable job of presenting an objective and balanced view of her subject, a living world figure. History may see it differently, but Sally Bedell Smith expertly walks a fine line, avoiding the unsympathetic on one hand and the overly-adoring on the other. Rosalyn Landor gives a hearty and appropriately plummy British upper class narration.

    I learned something, but it did give me a giggle now and then!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 05-27-17
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 05-27-17 Member Since 2017

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Insightful"

    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 Charles is passionate about organic farming, and environmental issues for which he is way ahead of his time. He is also interested in traditional architecture. He is famous for his charity work and has special interest in education for disadvantaged youth. Smith states that Prince Charles loves the opera and is an accomplished watercolorist. She states he is personally a very frugal man. It was fun learning about all the inside information about Prince Charles and his family. The later part of the book has lots of information about Prince William and Harry as well as the Queen. Apparently, Prince William and the Queen are very close. While growing up he spent a lot of time with her as his parents fought.

    The book is well written and meticulously researched. Smith interviewed many court figures and the members of the Royal Family. Smith had access to letters, diaries and other documents. It took about four years to gather all the information to write the book. Smith does reveal a sympathy toward Prince Charles but is frank about the Prince’s personal flaws. Mostly the biography is fairly balanced. The book is easy to read and provides a look at his work as a Royal and a glimpse into his personal life.

    The book is almost nineteen hours long. Rosalyn Lander does a good job narrating the book. Lander is an English actress and a multi-award winning audiobook narrator.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CT Amazonians North Haven, CT USA 09-22-17
    CT Amazonians North Haven, CT USA 09-22-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Prince Charles"

    Excellent book. The next King of England. Sally Bedell Smith has written a thorough and absorbing biography. I highly recommend this historic text.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 09-12-17
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    "Diana dissed at every chance"

    this book is a good book but it was very irritating that at every chance that could possibly be squeezed in the writer disses the memory of Diana she insults belittles and is very very anti Diana and to further her disdain for Diana she elevates Camilla at every possible chance and squeezes in unnecessary comparisons between the two she makes light and glosses over the Charles Camilla relationship indescretions but slams the Diana and her indescretions. If the writer had not been so blatant with her disdain for Diana I would have enjoyed the book. I endured the book because I was interested in what Charles does . I am sure you can get the same story with an unbiased writer somewhere else.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Silvia P. 07-09-17
    Silvia P. 07-09-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Lots of Minutiae but Good Overview of Prince Charles"

    Very detailed biography that includes an extensive list of supporting characters and a breakdown of many small events. The challenge is getting through it all. The reward is that at the end you have a strong understanding of Prince Charles and his role in modern history.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia 05-25-17
    Julia 05-25-17 Member Since 2017

    British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.

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    "The More You Know!"

    Before writing this review I must explain that I am Royalist with regard to Queen Elizabeth II. Our wonderful Queen is the only continuity that I have in my life. I really feel that she is a kind, witty, tolerant and incredibly strong woman . Frankly if I had that family and workload to deal with I would be hitting the gin and Prozac.

    I have always thought of Charles as a little bit of a 'thickie'! This book has not made me change my mind. I remember when he took his O and A levels at school he did not do as well as he could have. There were no reasons for this as he had all the advantages in the world. So I decided to read a little bit about the man as I have never been very impressed.

    What I found so exciting about this book was that it answered a very basic question that I've asked myself over the years about why Diana and Charle's marriage did not work out. I knew that there were so many differences in their backgrounds. However the Press at the time really did emphasize that both families had known each other for many years and that they had so much in common plus that they had been dating for ages. According to this book they had not. I was astounded to read that they were expected to have a successful relationship after having had only twelve dates Can you imagine that? They were, in essence, strangers.

    I was never a fan of Camilla because I also felt that she is one of the laziest women on this planet and I do feel that Sally Bedell Smith has been incredibly candid and has stated that several times in this volume. Camilla has obviously stepped up to the task and is doing a stellar job.

    I really think that this is worth reading because we now see that this is a very successful marriage. It is such an easy read and you get lots of interesting insider 'bits' about the Royals. Delicious!

    As usual another wonderful performance by Rosalyn Landor.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL USA 05-24-17
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL USA 05-24-17 Member Since 2014

    KathrynVB

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    "Solid biography, comprehensive and not gushy."

    Excellent narrator, and it was very nice to have an introduction by the author. Her voice is not strong enough to read the entire book, but she has had a life-long involvement with the Windsors and her remarks are very interesting.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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