Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown
“I went into Lady in Waiting expecting juicy stories,” said Elena Nicolaou in OprahMag.com. “What I didn’t expect, however, was tearing up while I read them.” Yes, the three decades that Lady Anne Glenconner spent as lady in waiting to Britain’s Princess Margaret has afforded her the chance to dish at length about her headline-making friend, as well as about island parties with Mick and Bianca Jagger. But the life of privilege Glenconner has led has not been entirely enviable, and she writes with such stoic candor about every challenge that even as she keeps her focus on others she becomes “the most fascinating part of the book.”
Born to that class at that time, you did not complain; “you kept the proverbial stiff upper lip,” said Moira Hodgson in The Wall Street Journal. The future Lady Glenconner was raised on one of Britain’s largest estates, but at such a remove from her parents that her mother didn’t know that one governess bound Anne’s hands to her bed at night. An early friendship with Margaret led to Anne’s being chosen as a maid of honor at Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation, and 18 years later she became Margaret’s official attendant. This book’s chapters about the princess could be “a lesson in how to write with patient loving sympathy, but without any protective fibs, about a difficult friend,” said Richard Davenport-Hines in The Times (U.K.). The women’s husbands, meanwhile, come off poorly. On the second night of Anne’s own honeymoon, her willfully eccentric husband took her to a dingy Paris hotel to watch another couple have sex.
At times, “Lady in Waiting can make for sobering reading,” said Alida Becker in The New York Times. Anne’s oldest son conquered a heroin addiction only to die of hepatitis C at 39; another son died of AIDS at 29. When a third survives a motorcycle accident and emerges from a coma, “it’s hard not to be moved.” But then, “Lamborghini” turns out to the first word he speaks. “Truly, the rich are different.” ■