Summary and book reviews of Diana by Phil Craig


Story Of A Princess

By Tim Clayton, Phil Craig

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  • Hardcover: Jun 2001,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2003,
    416 pages.

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Book Summary

The life story of Diana, Princess of Wales, at last is told in full. Here is the first complete, honest, and objective biography that shows all facets of this fascinating and enigmatic woman: her magic, her manipulations, her dazzling public persona, and her role inside the world's most exposed marriage. Drawn from years of research and dozens of interviews with friends and associates speaking on the record for the first time, and based on the groundbreaking four-hour ITV/The Learning Channel documentary series, Diana contains never-before-revealed detailed accounts and stunning insights, including

  • Diana's closest friends and colleagues as they refute the suggestion that she was "unbalanced" before she met her future husband

  • confirmation by a family member that Diana wanted to withdraw from the wedding only weeks before, as she learned more of her husband-to-be's secret relationships with other women

  • the loaded implications of Diana's pre-wedding lunch with Camilla Parker Bowles, held, ironically, at the Ménage à Trois restaurant

  • new witnesses to the traumatic early years of Charles and Diana's marriage, and the loneliness that lay behind Diana's spectacular public success

  • interviews with senior royal officials, men and women who have never before shared their unique and objective views on the failure of the marriage

  • the truth, at last, about the allegation that Diana suffered from borderline personality disorder - the shocking story of a smear campaign

  • a world-exclusive interview with both James Hewitt and his mother, Shirley, including touching accounts of Hewitt's affair with Diana -- and why his family believed that the romance was considered "authorized"

  • never-before-told details about Diana's "alternative family life" during the late 1980s -- the weekends she spent with the Hewitts even when James was away, and heartwarming stories of the close friendship she established with her surrogate mother-in-law, Shirley Hewitt

  • completely new details of the "arrangement," widely accepted inside the royal household, between two couples -- Charles and Camilla, James and Diana -- and their week-on, week-off sharing of their country home

  • the gruesome tactics of the paparazzi -- and the Palace's refusal to bar the "paps" from royal functions

  • confirmation from her closest confidantes that Diana made nuisance phone calls to a married art dealer

  • surprising revelations from those closely involved with Diana's charity work about how vindictive and spiteful she could be in her final years -- contrasted with a powerful account of her land mine crusade and her tender ministrations to victims

  • the real reason the royal family remained at Balmoral after Diana's death -- and how the fear of angry mobs may have prompted a warning from Scotland Yard: their safety in London could not be guaranteed.

Featuring thirty-two rare and unfamiliar photographsincluding seven never before published -- Diana not only captures the princess as she was, but also places her story in the context of twenty years of frantic social and economic change. It will stand as the ultimate, and ultimately most enlightening, telling of Diana's extraordinary life.

Chapter One: Look At Me

With a light knock on the door, Lady Diana Spencer came into the office. She looked first at her feet, then towards the royal official who was now standing before her. It was obvious she had been crying. Would he mind if she asked him a delicate question? Of course not.

She hesitated for a moment and then asked whether he knew someone called Camilla Parker Bowles. He said yes immediately. He knew her as a friend of Prince Charles who was married to in officer in the Household Cavalry. He had met her several times; all the senior staff had.

Then Diana said in a quiet but serious voice that she had just asked the Prince of Wales whether he was in love with Camilla Parker Bowles. He had not said no. As the tears returned, but still looking him full in the face, she asked another question: 'What am I going to do?' The courtier had no idea what to say. In his years of royal service, no one had ever spoken to him like this. He wasn't alone. ...

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Not another book about Princess Diana you may be saying. At least, that's what I thought when I saw the title, but when I read the reviews I reconsidered. Yes, there have been a multitude of books about this 30 something English woman, but most have been unadulterated and inaccurate drivel. If those in the know are to be believed this one comes closest to presenting the 'real' Diana and also puts her story in the context of Britain as a whole which went through many significant changes during this time period - much of which was due to the influence of the other famous British woman of the 1980s - Margaret Thatcher.  

Media Reviews
New York Post

Never before-told detailed accounts and stunning insights about this most extraordinary woman, capturing the Princess as she was.

The Daily Mirror

A complete portrait.

The Sun

First-hand evidence cuts through the distortions that surrounded Diana's life...a three dimensional picture of a remarkable woman.

The Daily Telegraph

No mere celebrity cuttings job, a comprehensive even-handed and scrupulously researched picture.... An impressively researched cut above what we have come to expect. Goes out of its way to give credit and sympathy where they are due.

The Sunday Telegraph

A convincing and at times moving portrait.

The Mail on Sunday

An admirably fair, panoramic account...something fresh and pure and clear-eyed. Does not seek to demonise or to sanctify. Recommended.

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