The View from Downstairs
by Stephen P. Barry, former valet to Prince Charles
Publisher: Villard Books
After the tremendous success of his best-selling Royal Service, Stephen P. Barry, Prince Charles' valet for twelve years, was besieged with endless questions about Britain's Royal Family. People everywhere wanted more, and Barry realized that he had barely scratched the surface.
During his years of service, Barry had a particularly fine vantage point from which to observe the Royals. He discovered that life behind the walls of the palaces and great houses is curiously sheltered. Apart from their immediate family, members of Royalty are closest to the men and women who serve them. And there are hundreds who do just that. Royal Secrets tells what the butler, the page, the footman, the valet, the dresser, the housemaid, the policeman, the nanny and the chef saw. It is an affectionate record of the tales told "downstairs" and of what Stephen Barry observed.
Royal Secrets, a witty and revealing portrait of the Royal Family, offers the most detailed account of Royal life ever published -- in it you will find out what they love to eat, how their private apartments are decorated, what sort of gifts they give, how they shop, what they drive, how they relax, what makes them laugh, what angers them.
Royalty buffs will feast on juicy information about the Wales family -- the letdown after the fairytale wedding; how Princess Diana has adjusted to her public and private roles as the wife of the future King of England; what sort of parents the Prince and Princess are; how they run Highgrove, their country home, and their apartments at Kensington Palace. There are chapters on the much-loved Queen Mum; on the Royal income; on what the family owns in homes, furnishings, jewels, china, and silver; on how they spend their weekends and how they travel.
None of the Royals escapes the close scrutiny of their staff -- and, needless to say, some members fare better than others. Stephen Barry pulls no punches when he shares unflattering stories about Prince Philip, who clashes regularly with Prince Charles or Prince Andrew, who apparently has always been trouble, or the general stinginess of the Royals. Yet, with characteristic British civility, he remains respectful and polite throughout.
Royal Secrets is a charming, fascinating record of royalty without the pomp, told by those who has been closest to the Royals, in their service.
Condition: Used. Hardcover. Dust cover is lightly discolored from age and shows shelf wear, edges and flaps curling a bit. Pages are tanning from age. Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper. Binding is starting to split in places throughout the book, but so far pages are in tact.
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- ISBN 039454403X
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