Prince Charles

Prince Charles

The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

The first major biography of Prince Charles in more than two decades, with new insights into his family and his two marriages—from the New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth the Queen.

Drawing on her extensive access to the Royal Family’s inner circle, Sally Bedell Smith delivers unprecedented insights into Prince Charles, a man who possesses a fiercely independent spirit, and yet has spent his life in waiting for the ultimate role. Beginning with his lonely childhood, Smith details his intellectual quests, his entrepreneurial pursuits, and his love affairs—from the tragedy of his marriage to Diana to his eventual reunion with Camilla—as well as his relationship with the next generation of royals, including Will, Kate, Harry, and his beloved grandchildren. As this sweeping biography shows, Prince Charles is more complicated and compelling than we knew—until now.


Advance Praise for Prince Charles

“Prince Charles is an eighteenth-century gentleman with a twenty-first-century mission. His love of tradition combines with an outlook that can be bracingly avant garde. Sally Bedell Smith captures his contradictions and his convictions in this fascinating book that is not just about a man who would be king, but also about the duties that come with privilege.”
Walter Isaacson

“For all we know about Prince Charles, there is so much we didn’t know—until now. Sally Bedell Smith has given us a complete and compelling portrait of the man in the shadow of the throne. It’s all here, from the back stairs of the palaces to the front pages of the tabs. Read all about it!”
Tom Brokaw

“No one writes about life at the top with more panache than Sally Bedell Smith. Her Prince Charles is a delicious blend of glamour and grandeur, jealousy and rivalry, greatness and human foible. Smith writes with wisdom and sympathy—and a sharp and knowing eye—about the struggles and maturation of the man who would be King.”
Evan Thomas

“This great biography is an indispensable guide for anyone eager to understand Prince Charles and the British monarchy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. What an achievement—what work went into it, and all of it presented with such ease. It is so fair, while suggesting so much.”
Peggy Noonan


Book Reviews

“The marriage between Charles and Diana was unhappy virtually from the outset, so Smith establishes…with great judiciousness….[Smith] understands the British upper classes and aristocracy (including the royals) very well indeed…Smith makes many telling, shrewd points in pursuit of realigning the popular image of Prince Charles.”
William Boyd, The New York Times

“Prince Charles is arguably one of the most recognizable people in the world…In this biography, historian and frequent biographer Sally Bedell Smith presents a multidimensional portrait of a complex, sensitive and often visionary man. Verdict: Intimate but not gossipy, this highly accessible and thoroughly researched volume would do well in all collections.”
Library Journal

“A sympathetic psychological study of the prince who has been working tirelessly all his life to be taken seriously.”
Kirkus Review

“Prince Charles or involved in his initiatives in the economic, social, and architectural fields—finds that his long days as a king-in-waiting have actually been full of projects that are important to him and which he feels contribute to the good of the country…Until his accession to the throne, Smith’s portrait will stand as the definitive study.”

A masterful account”
The Wall Street Journal

“An affectingly human portrait”
The Christian Science Monitor

“Compellingly juicy…Windsor-philes will be mesmerized”

“It reads like an angel wrote it”
Chris Matthews, “Hardball”

“New details and insights”
USA Today

“More than a few fascinating facts”