Royal biographers are prone to some bad habits: heavy reliance on newspaper accounts, few named sources and too much flowery prose. Lacey falls into all these traps. He has spoken to palace insiders, but most of the named sources are journalists. The writing is breathy — “whisper it!” he commands the reader at one point — and he’s too indulgent on the adjectives: reporters are “tireless”; nannies “beloved”. The book will nonetheless find a happy home among royal obsessives.
Any review of contemporary royal books needs a disclaimer: they all deal in the unverifiable, upmarket gossip of our favourite soap opera. That said, Robert Lacey is one of the better commentators, and he has written this from the credible modern perspective of two unhappy boys whose parents didn’t love each other and who fought excruciatingly intimate battles in public... The trouble with royal pop history is that by reading it we are complicit. The appeal is to our base instinct: compelling, guilt-inducing gossip. Lacey’s book is rushed, frequently pompous — why on earth should Meghan have to show off her baby post-partum? — and padded with stuff we have read a million times.