This was one book that I wanted to like. Having skimmed through the content I noticed that the author (the fake Prince Charles of twitter, @Charles_HRH) included lots of topics that are quintessentially British, such as: Royal Mail, parliament (including the present Cabinet and past PMs i.e. Churchill and Thatcher), seaside resorts, British showbiz personalities, members of the Royal family, and tea. I did laugh as I read the first few pages, which began in the tone of the real Prince Charles and the topics seemed to stay within what one would expect Prince Charles to chat (or grumble) about. But then it veered off to a variety of random topics, and the tone of Charles began to slide, I began to wonder if the author was, in fact, a Leftie using the book to have a go at the establishment, especially with his insults of various members of the Royal Family, and of Thatcher. I know, not everyone admired her and the Duke of Edinburgh referred to her as ‘that bloody woman’ and ‘that grocer’s daughter’ – still, the author could have made it a light, amusing observation rather than a stinging insult/rant which broke the lighthearted tone. How do we know what Charles thinks of M.T.?
Granted, these sort of books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – some people thought I was off my head when I wrote The Mitford Girls’ Guide to Life, but I did keep my themes within the girls own views (having waded through endless letters and memoirs to find their points of view!). The author of this book simply writes an etiquette book from HIS own perspective, and the humour of Charles is lost. Though, there were some laugh out loud observations:
- “First one would like to congratulate you for making the right choice in purchasing a book written by a real member of the British Royal Family and not Pippa Middleton, who recently released a book containing tips on entertaining guests throughout the British year. One’s tip to you all: don’t bother reading it.”
- “The Second World War started due to Adolf Hitler’s wish for world domination; something that One Direction are obsessed with today.”
- “Her Majesty has been on the throne for sixty-two years, which means she’ll be entitled to a fantastic pension when/if she retires.”
- “Might have to sell France to pay for Richard III’s car-park fine.”
- “Margaret Thatcher was often compared to Florence Nightingale – the lady with the lamp. Unfortunately Thatcher’s lamp turned out to be a blowtorch.”
- [On Northern Ireland] “It is the only part of Britain that shares a border with a foreign country, the Republic of Ireland (working title).”
I would have liked the narrative to have continued on in Charles’ voice. My brother glanced through the book and he found the author’s criticism of the British government to be hilarious. I suppose it really depends who is reading it and what their expectations are. I can’t, however, knock the effort that has gone into it. The cover is beautiful and just the type of pretty gift book one would be thrilled to receive for Christmas. Though it might be lacking in parody, it is a genius example of how the internet has shaped the publishing industry (Headline are behind this book), and shattered the once scared institution of the Royal Family. Imitation, after all, is the highest form of flattery.