BOOK CLUB: The Princess

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The Princess by British writer Wendy Holden is a work of fiction in the historical saga and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is a unique read and a simple revelation of a woman’s relationship with the People’s Princess before she became Princess Diana. 

Diana Spencer was born to two wealthy parents, John Spencer and Frances Shand Kyddon July 1, 1961. The Spencers are of an old aristocratic British family which have been prominent since the 15th and 16th century. Diana earned the title of “Lady” when her grandfather died, and her father became the 8th, Earl Spencer.

The book opens with Diana’s younger years attending an all-girls boarding school. There she meets orphaned Sandy, whose parents died in a car accident when she was a baby. She had gone to live with her Aunt Mary, who believed all girls needed a proper education regardless of the lack of money. Initially, Sandy and Diana were not friends coming from very different backgrounds, but over time a strong friendship blossomed. 

Forward to 1992, Diana invites Sandy to Kensington Palace. She has not seen her since her boarding school days, and opens up to her trusted friend. Sandy learns of Diana’s courtship with Charles and how their marriage was essentially arranged. They barely knew each other and were not compatible. 

Holden offers an engaging account of the life of one of the foremost celebrities of her day. The book is a well-researched and meticulously crafted narrative, blending historical facts and fiction in a way that renders the story both informative and entertaining.

In this book, you can really get a feel for what a remarkable and down-to earth person Diana was.  She wasn’t a woman who liked and wanted upper-class formalities. Diana wanted to be like everyone else and most of all, loved. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the fairy-tale life she dreamed of as a young girl. 

I finished this book with great sadness, even though it has been twenty-five years since her passing no one will ever compare to her. Who knows what would have become of her had she survived. To this day her actions have impacted many across the world including her two sons, what a wonderful legacy to leave behind. 

There are many books written about the Princess of Wales, but The Princess is a wonderful change from all the books that seem to want to show Diana in a different light. We all have our moments, but looking back it’s amazing how she held it all together given her circumstances. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed when reading this book. 

I highly recommend it for Princess Diana fans and those who enjoy historical fiction. 

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Princess by Wendy Holden. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Princess

  1. The Princess is a deeply moving novel featuring the love story of Diana and Charles.
    Although a work of fiction, The Princess does abide by some real life facts about Princess Diana and the former Prince Charles ( Now the king of Britain)

    I absolutely loved reading this amazing book by Wendy Holden, I grew up watching and reading about Diana during her marriage, subsequent divorce and unfortunate death. Something that today still brings people to their knees.

    I highly recommend this beautiful story.

    Thankyou to Beauty and Lace, Wendy Holden and Welbeck Publishing for the opportunity to read and review an ARC copy of The Princess.

  2. This book is a fictional storyline but a few real facts that we have all known during Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles. There are people out there that either loved her or not and I am one of the I loved watching, reading anything about her. I remember actually seeing her when I worked in Martin Place and she and Charles walked down amongst the people. She was so beautiful yet she always seemed to have a sadness within her as well.

    So for anyone that is a complete Diana watcher, this book will certainly appease your expectations.

    We all know that their marriage was always one sided and I honestly don’t know how she actually continued with the marriage knowing what she did re Camille. Maybe she thought he would change or she could change him.

    In the book we meet Sandy an orphan who tragically lost her parents in a car accident when she was a baby so she is bought up by an Aunt who sent her to a school where Diana as a teenager attended. Both girls are from very different backgrounds but soon become such close friends.

    Diana was such a warm, loving lady who always just wanted to get married and be loved and have children.

    Unfortunately for Diana, her life with Charles was mapped out for her by the Queen, The Queen Mother and the Duke. Everything was arranged that Charles needed to marry someone pure, innocent and with no ugly background behind her.

    As I was reading the book, I was visualising Diana speaking with Camilla thinking how she had someone she could confide with but everything was just lies. To finally learn the truth would have been so awful for her but whereas others would walk away, she stayed.

    I always wonder what Diana would be like now these days and if she would be happy with whoever she was with.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Welbeck Publishers for giving me this book to read. Thank you to Wendy for the storyline as it captivated my attention from start to finish.

  3. Thankyou Beautyandlace and for the opportunity to read ‘the Princess’ a love story by Wendy Holden.
    Although a work of the author’s imagination much of the information is quite authentic when it comes to Diana Princess of Wales.
    Diana is obsessed with romance novels, mainly those written by Barbara Cartland. She believes in everything beautiful and true lifelong love.
    A teenage girl desperately wanting to love and be loved.
    Her mother had left the family when Diana was only 7 years old.
    At boarding school she was to meet Sandy, a girl from quite different circumstances from Diana Spencer who has been brought up in a priviledged home.
    Sandy, an orphan, whose Aunt is unable to have her return home for the holidays is kindly invited to stay at Park House as Diana’s guest. She is welcomed by the family in this relaxed home.
    Upon leaving school Diana becomes a landlady to her flatmates, she soon finds an attraction to Prince Charles. The flatmates are concerned for Diana, fearing she may be hurt by the Prince of Wales as she is so totally in love with him, but is he in love with her?
    Throughout the book I felt real sympathy with Diana and her youthful dreams.

    I really enjoyed this book and it changed the way in which I felt about Diana. She was so young, lovely and caring, and in the end she just wanted to share her love.

  4. The Princess tells the story of Lady Diana Spencer before she becomes Princess Diana, through her teenage years until the eve of her wedding to Prince Charles.

    The story begins when orphan Sandy meets Diana Spencer and the two become unlikely best friends who look out for each other and read romance novels. Diana tells Sandy she dreams of marrying a handsome prince just like the heroines in her beloved romance novels. It then jumps to 1992, when Sandy is invited to lunch with the now Princess Diana who tells Sandy all about meeting Prince Charles, their unusual courtship, and engagement.

    While it is, as author Wendy Holden says, a work of her imagination, many of the characters, places and events are real which has the reader imagining the various members of the Royal Family speaking when they are speaking in the book. Fans of historical fiction and Princess Diana alike will really enjoy this engaging read.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace, Wellbeck and Wendy Holden for the opportunity to read and review this delightful read.

  5. The Princess even though a work of fiction is a fantastic read. I was a child when Diana married the then Prince Charles and she passed away before I was old enough to show an interest in the Monarchy or anyone’s life before they entered it- so all I’ve known of her are things I’ve heard from my parents or seen on Documentaries about her life. So it was great to have a sense of understanding of who she was growing up.
    I would recommend this to all- if you know a lot about Diana or not you will love it!

  6. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read The Princess a love story by Wendy Holden.
    This is the fictionalised story of Lady Diana Spencer from her boarding school days to her now infamous marriage to Prince Charles.
    Although I knew all the details to have them before me in a timeline was extremely sad – that poor girl/woman was what appeared to be so in love with the idea of love but used in such an horrific manner with no support whatsoever during her entire life from her own family to the royal family.
    Despite all this I loved the book and give it 4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  7. The Princess a Love Story by Wendy Holden is a beautifully written historical fiction novel about Princess Diana in her early years.

    Diana is a true romantic. She loves reading romance novels and dreams of the day she will be rescued by a handsome prince. When that Prince comes along in the form of Prince Charles, Diana truly believes her dreams have come true, but we all know how that ended.
    Diana captured the hearts of so many with her innocence and internal beauty. This well-researched novel, although fictional, helps bring her to life once again.

    Congratulations to Wendy Holden on this beautifully written, emotional and very engaging read.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Wellbeck Publishing for the opportunity to read this captivating novel.

  8. the Princess is an exceptionally good read and gives an insight into the romantic dreams Diana had and how she became Charle’s wife. Love on her side and it was true love for her but not returned from the scripts in this novel. What a lonely time she must have had! Perceptions aside, I truly enjoyed this story, and while sad in parts it also brought the romantic out in me.
    If you are a Diana fan, this book is a suggested read.

  9. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Wendy Holden’s “The Princess”.
    Being a child of the 80’s and Diana being the most famous woman on earth, I had read many books and articles on Diana, but none quite like this beautiful book and storyline.
    What I enjoyed most about this unique book, was the story of ‘Diana Spencer’ and the innocence of youth, romanticism and naivety. Deeply moving and insightful, at times I felt incredibly pained for Diana and so empathetic towards her courtship and subsequent marriage with Charles. Although most know of Diana’s plight, it was fascinating to have a timeline into her early years and her friendships. I highly recommend this historical fiction account of a beautiful, troubled soul who wanted nothing more than to be wanted and loved.

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