My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Based on a seldom-told true story, this novel is perfect for everyone who is fascinated by Britain’s royal family—a behind the scenes look into the nurseries of little princes and the foibles of big princes.
April, 1897: A young nanny arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. She is excited, exhausted—and about to meet royalty. . . .
So begins the unforgettable story of Charlotte Bill, who would care for a generation of royals as their parents never could. Neither Charlotte—LaLa, as her charges dub her—nor anyone else can predict that eldest sons David and Bertie will each one day be king. LaLa knows only that these children, and the four who swiftly follow, need her steadfast loyalty and unconditional affection.
But the greatest impact on Charlotte’s life is made by a mere bud on the family tree: a misunderstood soul who will one day be known as the Lost Prince. Young Prince John needs all of Lala’s love—the kind of love his parents won’t…or can’t…show him.
From Britain’s old wealth to the glittering excesses of Tsarist Russia; from country cottages to royal yachts, and from nursery to ballroom, Charlotte Bill witnesses history. The Royal Nanny is a seamless blend of fact and fiction—an intensely intimate, yet epic tale spanning decades, continents, and divides that only love can cross.
I read The Royal Nanny after I started to watch Netflix tv-series The Crown. I also, years ago, watch The Lost Prince about Prince John and now I want to rewatch it after reading this book. This book was really fantastic and I'm glad that I took the time to read it.
One thing that really struck me about this book was what a fantastic life Charlotte Bill had. Sure, not an easy life, with sacrifices and lot of sadness. But, she lived through a time of changes, world wars, kings, and queens, and she saw it all.
Reading this book made me wonder how much was true and how much was added to the story. Charlotte's "love story" with Chad, a very platonic relationship I might add (since working for the royal family as nanny prohibited marriage) felt like the thing that was added to make the story a bit more tragic & romantic. At first, I did not really find myself enjoying that angle, but as the story progressed did I find myself more and more enjoying their story. Who knows, Charlotte was young once, and giving up the idea of a marriage life to take care of other people's children can't have been an easy decision.
I think Karen Harper has written a superb book about a woman who gave up her life to take care of six children, two that would later one become Kings. One thing towards the end that really made me think was Charlotte's thought about David, when he was old and not King anymore, how he never managed to get over how his previous nanny had treated him, and after that, how he spent his whole life being attracted to the same dominated kind of women until he married one. Interesting...