It’s an inventive look into the life of a member of the British royal family.
If you keep up with the royals (and don’t we all, to some degree?), you’re going to want to read this new book. It’s a ramble through recent royal history, and it’s impossible to put down. The book is Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by journalist and author Craig Brown, and it’s a deep dive into the life of the wittiest and most notorious HRH of her day, Princess Margaret, the only sister of Queen Elizabeth II.
The book offers an irresistible glimpse behind the castle walls and into a life spent in the limelight and in the papers. For fans of The Crown—and anyone with an interest in the British royal family—this book is a must-read.
It’s not a biography per se. It’s not a novel, either. Brown’s book is a mash-up of perspectives that bring Princess Margaret’s life—and the lives of those she encountered and/or inspired, from her personal driver to Pablo Picasso—into a can’t-put-it-down, page-turning story. Each chapter has a different form; they’re lists, essays, public notices, diary entries, interviews, fiction, and more, and they add up to a full (and at times hilarious) portrait of the princess. All of these inventive threads weave together to examine the privileges, conflicts, tragedies, and friendships of one of the most infamous royals of the century.
Princess Margaret’s life was stamped with misbehavior and headlines, which the book dives into with gusto. However, it’s also nuanced, funny, and original. It offers dispatches from midcentury high society and gives readers new ways to consider life spent so near a crown. By the end of it, you may come away with new perspectives on a figure you’ve seen from afar (and on two seasons of The Crown, of course), one who elicited wildly divided opinions wherever she went.
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Do you keep up with the British royal family? If so, this read belongs on your wish list. Let us know if you pick up Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret and what you think of it.