The Royal We – Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan REVIEW

We are not amused.” – Queen Victoria

This supposed quotation was attributed to Queen Victoria by courtier Caroline Holland in Notebooks of a Spinster Lady, 1919. Holland attests that Victoria made the remark at Windsor Castle. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/we-are-not-amused.html

Heather-Cocks-Jessica-Morgan-TheRoyalWe

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

(From Goodreads) American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Wedding Day Image (C) Getty Images, Splash, Reuters

REVIEW

Kate and Will’s wedding was not the first time I rose at the crack of dawn to watch members of England’s royal family unite in holy matrimony. I would have been 7 when my mother and I watched coverage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding some thirty some odd years ago. Oh that gown, that hideous gown! Those enormous sleeves, that bodice, the unmitigated horror.

29th July 1981:  Formal portrait of Lady Diana Spencer (1961 - 1997) in her wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel.  (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
29th July 1981: Formal portrait of Lady Diana Spencer (1961 – 1997) in her wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Regardless of the abomination they dressed the incandescent Princess Diana in that day, my enthusiasm for the royals was thoroughly whetted and I admit I woke up in the middle of the night to avidly watch the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s union four years ago. In fact this very morning I was very put out when my husband refused to immediately turn the page in the newspaper he was reading so I could see the new photos of wee Princess Charlotte with her adorable brother.

William&KateAs a born and bred Anglophile I freely admit that I love the royals, while I may draw the line at a subscription to Majesty magazine nor did I watch the Made for TV adaptation William & Kate, though it might simply be that I didn’t happen to be in that evening. I will admit the trailer looked a bit trite though in my current royal loving mood it might make for some good low brow watching… However I knew I had to read The Royal We when I came across its synopsis in one of the publisher newsletters I receive regularly.

While I largely enjoyed The Royal We, it did require some substantial suspension of disbelief, which I find has become more and more challenging with age. The story opens on a lovely English day – read torrential rain – and Rebecca Porter has just arrived in Oxford to study art. She is greeted at the door by the crown prince Nicholas whom she doesn’t recognize (at this point I mentally coughed into fist muttering “bullspit” – editing care of TBS) and proceeds to make comments about the history of syphilis in the royal family. Over the course of the first quarter of the book as Rebecca settles into life across the pond from her native America Bex and Nick become friends as she joins the Prince’s closely knit inner circle.

Rebecca and Nicholas further bond through nights spent watching Devour, an American show that sounds like a wonderful parody of Vampire Diaries.  It isn’t until Bex’s (I won’t comment on the unfortunate shortening of a lovely name) first Thanksgiving away from home that they declare their mutual love and begin seeing each other in secret.

Duchess of Cambridge, and her wedding dress-Photo (c)-Getty / Rex / Reuters / PA / AP / PR / EAP / Wenn / Wire / Pool / Splash / AAP
Duchess of Cambridge, and her wedding dress-Photo (c)-Getty / Rex / Reuters / PA / AP / PR / EAP / Wenn / Wire / Pool / Splash / AAP

The Royal We occupied an uncomfortable place in my mind, a little too far fetched to be realistic (okay, more than a little) and too close to reality at the same time. Queen Eleanor instead of Elizabeth? Prince Nicholas of Wales? A younger, wild and free spirited red haired brother, who it was rumored, was a bastard? While I know that a lawsuit would be a massive overreaction the parallels to life were a bit over the top. It was one thing for Prince William to marry a commoner, though it is a stretch to define Kate Middleton as common, just listen to her speech if you don’t agree. Furthermore considering it is only within our lifetime that Prince Charles was allowed to marry a Catholic, can you imagine the fervor if the intended was an American?

prince_and_me_01I found The Prince & Me to be far more realistic. A prince from a much smaller – read less notorious – country on exchange to the United States but it was released in 2004 so it might just be that I was a decade less cynical than I am today. Regardless of my qualms The Royal We was an enjoyable if overlong read provided that you don’t look too closely.

 

 

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One thought on “The Royal We – Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan REVIEW”

  1. I was lucky enough to tour Buckingham Palace the summer after Prince William and Kate were married. Her wedding gown was on display and it truly is a magnificent gown! Another great review!

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