Monday, June 11, 2012

Prince William. Born to be King – Review by Coryne Hall

“Prince William. Born to be King,” by Penny Junor. (Hodder & Stoughton). 424 pages, approx 77 illustrations, many in colour.

To coincide with  the prince’s 30th birthday,  journalist Penny Junor has published this latest biography of Prince William, described as the “first definitive, in-depth portrait of the man who was born to be King”.   Ms Junor has previously written about William’s parents, the book is well produced and the omens for it were good.

Unfortunately, any biography of William has to take into account the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, so the first part of the book is a rehash of the old Charles and Diana War of the Wales’ saga. Of course, we’ve heard it all many times before.  Junor sees Diana as unstable, manipulative and says that because her own mother left when she was six, Diana had no idea how to be a mother to William and Harry. The serialisation of the book in a British newspaper provoked much controversy on this point, to say the least. Penny Junor has used her contacts, built up over many years as a royal biographer, but, at the end of the day, as she admits, only William and Harry “had experienced the full nightmare of life within the Wales household” as their parents played out their war in the tabloids. 

You have to wait until page 151 before you start really seeing what sort of a person William really is, and what effect the tabloid wars had on the Prince.  Ms Junor says he likes to be in control of his life and his public image, although he has now accepted the role destiny has in store for him. His meeting with Kate Middleton and their subsequent marriage has added a new dynamic to the royal family, giving them a golden couple who are in demand all round the world. Despite this, William is determined to keep his private life private.

The book is packed with anecdotes about William (and Harry) and there are some lovely pictures.  I can’t help feeling, though, that Ms Junor should have waited a few years. So much was written about William at the time of the wedding that there is really nothing new here for more seasoned devotees of the royal family.


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