Picks and Pans Review: Royal Children
Egad! Will there never be an end to this idolatry of the British royal family? No; not as long as publishers can squeeze a few more pence from America's Anglophiles. Here are three brightly colored, picture-packed volumes all about the Windsors and how they grew. Longford, the author of 12 other books, supplies the text for The Royal House of Windsor (Crown, $16.95). The book begins in July 1917 when "like an incandescent rock bursting from a volcano, the House of Windsor was proclaimed in the capital." That's the tone in which Longford writes. Text and illustrations then follow the family's fortunes right up to the moment when Princess Diana says, "With Prince Charles beside me I can't go wrong." Longford loves quotes like that too. On the Royal Road (Little, Brown, $19.95) reproduces 10 years of photographs by Graham, a free-lance photographer who specializes in snapping the royals. Di dominates the book, and her hats are tiresome. The off-guard shots—of the Queen getting soaked in a downpour, of Charles flubbing at wind surfing—are amusing, though. Celia Clear's Royal Children (Crown, $12.95) has Di and William on the jacket, though it opens with a beautiful Holbein portrait of Edward VI, son of Henry VIII. Edward V and his brother, Richard, are depicted as prisoners in the Tower of London in an 1831 painting. Queen Victoria, it is noted, dressed her 11 children in all kinds of costumes: sailor suits, Turkish harem pants, soldier uniforms and a leopard skin. As a baby, Elizabeth II looks amazingly like she does today, and Charles and Anne were beautiful, blond imps. The book ends with William, laughing, in a navy blue snowsuit. A cease-fire in the royal book wars is hereby requested.