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Sunday, January 2, 2022

Before the Crown by Flora Harding

1943 England and the present Queen was just a very young girl. A particularly sheltered young woman despite the future she knew and her family knew she had to face. Tutored to accept the responsibility of the Crown and all it entailed Elizabeth was not frivolous but very grounded even at that age. She knew what was expected of her and did not shirk from it but in her choice of husband she stood very firm. Philip of Greece despite his royal connections and background was impoverished, without a country, without a home with an eccentric mother and a libertine father. His parents lived separate lives and this put together did not give a very comfortable picture for not just the British administration but also the people who looked on him as a foreigner. He had the further disadvantage of three sisters married to very senior SS officers during the Hitler regime and this was hard to live down. Surprisingly Elizabeth who was mild had decided very early on that he was the most suitable husband for her, and despite that love was not discussed in the initial stages the couple felt that they were comfortable with each other and that progress could be possible. It was a very prosaic way to start a marriage but their feelings of friendship gradually developed over time (a prolonged period which was insisted on by Elizabeth's father) mainly hoping that the relationship would break up! The story covers the period upto Elizabeth's fairy tale wedding to Philip. Even without knowing the future, it augured very well the way it started. Very pleasant read. A download from Amazon

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