British author Cadbury explores the many layers involved in the abdication crisis of 1936, which ceded the British crown to the seemingly least prepared of the four sons of George V, George VI, aka Bertie, who revealed himself in the subsequent crisis ofwar to be the most suitable and stalwart of all. - (Baker & Taylor)
Examines the effects of the abdication of the Duke of Windsor, suspected of Nazi sympathies, on his brothers--the new King George, who feared being exposed as inadequate, and the dukes of Gloucester, who was thought stupid, and Kent, a playboy. - (Baker & Taylor)
Traces the dramatic, tragic lives of George V's four sons against the backdrop of World War II, sharing insights into the pivotal roles of Wallis Simpson and other contributors as drawn from recently discovered family letters. - (Baker & Taylor)
In 1936, the British monarchy faced the greatest threats to its survival in the modern erathe crisis of abdication and the menace of Nazism. The fate of the country rested in the hands of George V’s sorely unequipped sons:
a stammering King George VI, terrified that the world might discover he was unfit to rule
a dull-witted Prince Henry, who wanted only a quiet life in the army
the too-glamorous Prince George, the Duke of Kenta reformed hedonist who found new purpose in the RAF and would become the first royal to die in a mysterious plane crash
the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, deemed a Nazi-sympathizer and traitor to his own countrya man who had given it all up for love
Princes at War is a riveting portrait of these four very different men miscast by fate, one of whom had to save the monarchy at a moment when kings and princes from across Europe were washing up on England’s shores as the old order was overturned. Scandal and conspiracy swirled around the palace and its courtiers, among them dangerous cousins from across Europe’s royal families, gold-digging American socialite Wallis Simpson, and the King’s Lord Steward, upon whose estate Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess parachuted (seemingly by coincidence) as London burned under the Luftwaffe’s tireless raids.
Deborah Cadbury draws on new research, personal accounts from the royal archives, and other never-before-revealed sources to create a dazzling sequel to The King’s Speech and tell the true and thrilling drama of Great Britain at war and of a staggering transformation for its monarchy.
- (Perseus Publishing
Library Journal Reviews
This account begins with the domino-toppling moment in 1936 when Edward VIII abdicated the throne of England in order to marry divorcée Wallis Simpson—an action that left him as the controversial Duke of Windsor, elevated the stammering Prince Albert to take up the reins of kingship as George VI, and forced the stiff Prince Henry and thrill-seeking Prince George into positions of new responsibility. On the heels of this upheaval came increasing aggression from Nazi Germany, leading to the war that would test the mettle and loyalties of all four brothers. As in her previous work The Chocolate Wars, Cadbury proves adept at juggling multiple threads and subjects within the historical narrative. Her one weakness is a clear bias toward George VI and against the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, leading to the latter (deserving or not) frequently being excoriated by the text. VERDICT Bias aside, this is an engaging, well-told history of England and its royals during its most fragile period; conveying wartime tensions, worldwide scandals, and familial devotions and rivalries with equal vividness.—Kathleen McCallister, Tulane Univ., New Orleans
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