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The Diana Chronicles

Click this cover for a(n) Audiobook sample of The Diana Chronicles.

The Diana Chronicles

Celebrated editor Tina Brown reveals Princess Diana's tumultuous inner life as no one else has. Ten years after her mysterious death in Paris, Princess Diana continues to haunt our imaginations. Now...
Celebrated editor Tina Brown reveals Princess Diana's tumultuous inner life as no one else has. Ten years after her mysterious death in Paris, Princess Diana continues to haunt our imaginations. Now...
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Description-
  • Celebrated editor Tina Brown reveals Princess Diana's tumultuous inner life as no one else has.

    Ten years after her mysterious death in Paris, Princess Diana continues to haunt our imaginations. Now Tina Brown, who knew Diana personally, brings a fresh perspective to the questions that continue to surround the woman who became a beloved cultural icon. Was she "the people's princess," who electrified the world not only with her beauty, but with her moving humanitarian missions? Or was she a media-savvy neurotic, who nearly brought down the monarchy? As the former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and as a fellow Englishwoman, Tina Brown brings a much needed authority and understanding to Diana's compelling story.

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Chapter Twenty
    The Last Picture Show



    Is she an angel?
    --Helena Ussova, aged seven, land-mine victim in Angola, January 1997


    Diana never looked better than in the days after her divorce. Divestment was the name of the game, in her life and in her looks. The downsizing started with her Kensington Palace staff, which she reduced to cleaner, cook, and dresser. The assiduous Paul Burrell became maître d' of her private life, combining the roles of P.A., man Friday, driver, delivery boy, confidant, and crying towel. "He used to pad around listening to all," says a friend of Diana's mother. "I was quite sure his ear was pressed firmly to the key hole when I went to Kensington Palace for lunch."

    Diana reinforced her break with married life by stuffing a heavy-duty garbage bag with her entire set of Prince of Wales china and then smashing it with a hammer. "Make a list of everything we need," she told Burrell. "Let's spend a bit more of his money while we can."

    Diana now used police protection only when she attended a public event. Her favorite officer was Colin Tebbutt, who had retired from the Royal Squad. He was a tall, fair-haired matinee idol who was also a Class One driver, trained by the SAS. Tebbutt knew that by going to work for Diana he was effectively shutting the door to any future work with the Prince of Wales, but he had a soft spot for Diana. "There was always a buzz when she was at home. I thought she was beginning to enjoy life. She was a different lady, maturing." Tebbutt says she would always sit in the front of the car, unlike the other Royals, such as Princess Margaret, who called him by his surname and, without looking up from her newspaper, barked, "Wireless!" when she wanted Tebbutt to turn on the radio.

    "I drive looking in all three mirrors, so I'd say to Diana 'I'm not looking at your legs, Ma'am' and she'd laugh." The press knew the faces of Diana's drivers, so to shake them off Tebbutt sometimes wore disguises. "She wanted to go to the hairdresser one day, shortly before she died. I had an old Toyota MRT which she called the 'tart trap,' so I drove her in that. I went to the trunk and got out a big baseball hat and glasses. When she came out I was dripping with sweat, and she said 'What on earth are you doing?' I said, 'I'm in disguise.' She said, 'It may have slipped your notice, but I'm the Princess of Wales.' "

    Every Tuesday night, the Princess sat at her desk in her study at Kensington Palace, writing her steady stream of heartfelt thank-you letters and listening to a piano playing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 and--her favorite--Manning Sherwin's "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." In the living room, Maureen Stevens, a clerk from the Prince of Wales's office, who also happened to be a talented concert pianist, gave Diana a weekly private recital as she worked. You can almost hear Stevens's piano rippling in the background as Diana writes a fulsome note to her close friend, Harper's Bazaar editor Liz Tilberis: "Dearest Liz, How proud I was to be at your side on Monday evening... so deeply moved by your personal touch--the presents for the boys, candles at the hotel and flowers to name but few but most of all your beaming smile, your loving heart. I am always here for you, Liz." Sometimes Diana would stop and telephone the Daily Mail's Richard Kay--"Ricardo," she called him--to help her with the phraseology of a letter. KP was her fortress. On warm summer afternoons, she vanished into its walled garden in shorts and T--shirt and her Versace sunglasses, carrying a bag of books and CDs for her Walkman....

Reviews-
  • Caroline Weber With "The Diana Chronicles," Tina Brown breathes new life into the saga of this royal "icon of blondness"
  • Tunku Varadarajan Only Ms. Brown could deploy such words as "hottie" and "propinquity"
  • Patt Morrison I read every whiplash chapter and came away rubbing my cervical vertebrae...."The Diana Chronicles,"
  • Simon Schama, author of A History of Britain "Nothing comes close to Tina Brown's book for its tight grip on the dark human comedy that was Diana's life and death. Brown knows the ritual dances, the shouts and whispers of the tribes of Britain better than anyone who has ever written this story but she also has a perfect ear for the way ordinary people responded to the doomed Princess. The result is a compulsively page-turning trip to the poisoned place where class met glamour and the result was catastrophe."
  • Michael Korda, author of Charmed Lives and Ike "This is not only first-rate biography, but a marvelous social history, and a bitingly accurate portrait of the English upper classes."
  • Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great "Tina Brown has produced something that is, as well as absorbing and stirring, witty and penetrating."
  • Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe "A delightfully smart and insightful book that... weaves a compelling human drama into a rich social history."
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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