Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner

Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner
Publisher: Hachette Books
Genre: Historical, Non-Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Discover untold secrets with this extraordinary memoir of drama and tragedy by Anne Glenconner—a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret.

Anne Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret. Though the firstborn child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, who controlled one of the largest estates in England, as a daughter she was deemed “the greatest disappointment” and unable to inherit. Since then she has needed all her resilience to survive court life with her sense of humor intact.

A unique witness to landmark moments in royal history, Maid of Honor at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, and a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret until her death in 2002, Anne’s life has encompassed extraordinary drama and tragedy. In Lady in Waiting, she will share many intimate royal stories from her time as Princess Margaret’s closest confidante as well as her own battle for survival: her broken-off first engagement on the basis of her “mad blood”; her 54-year marriage to the volatile, unfaithful Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, who left his fortune to a former servant; the death in adulthood of two of her sons; a third son she nursed back from a six-month coma following a horrific motorcycle accident. Through it all, Anne has carried on, traveling the world with the royal family, including visiting the White House, and developing the Caribbean island of Mustique as a safe harbor for the rich and famous-hosting Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Raquel Welch, and many other politicians, aristocrats, and celebrities.

With unprecedented insight into the royal family, Lady in Waiting is a witty, candid, dramatic, at times heart-breaking personal story capturing life in a golden cage for a woman with no inheritance.

This lady had one heck of a ride.

I’ve been on a kick, reading books about the royals and those connected to the crown. Not the current big names, but the former ones. The ones I’d not heard or read much about. This is one of those stories.

Some of the books by those connected to the royals can come off a bit stilted or fantastical. Some don’t really show much royal, but more of their lives. This book is a good mix of both. Lady Anne had one heck of a life as Princess Margaret’s Lady in Waiting. I can’t imagine the stress of her job, let along raising five children and being married through it all.

I liked the book. She has a certain resiliency that’s not always evident these days. She really did grin and bear it often. Her children could be walking trainwrecks and her husband had so many faults. Where this was interesting, it was also a bit of a distraction. I can’t imagine how she brushed so much off and looked the other way. Sometimes she came across so strong, but other times…I can’t imagine how she put up with her lot in life or why she thought she should.

There are sneak peeks of her life with the princess, like the trips to Mustique and royal engagements. It wasn’t nearly so much full of tabloid fodder as it was everyday life. I liked that part.

If you’re looking for a book that’s about the royals, but more of a slice of life, then give this one a try.

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