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Icons of England: your 90 second summer reading review

As most readers of Royal Central know, The Prince of Wales is my favourite royal. As I have written many articles on Charles, I came across a quote during some research and inquired as to where it originated. In 2010, Charles wrote: “And what greater icon could we have than our countryside, which I have always believed helps define our identity as a nation.”

George V postbox put up between 1910-1936. The postbox is located at the Windsor-Eton Central station.

George V postbox put up between 1910-1936. The postbox is located in Windsor, a stone’s throw away from Windsor Castle.

For some reason, this quote struck me and I was curious to find this book Icons of England from which Prince Charles penned the quote above.

The Prince of Wales writes a rather beautiful foreword introducing the book as well as a small plea to take into consideration Bill Bryson’s group The Campaign to Save Rural England.

After reading just bits from the book via Google Books and searching for a while, I was able to obtain a copy of Icons of England (as it is out of print). Icons of England is a collection of short vignettes about the English countryside.

Edited by Bill Bryson, the book takes you on a journey through the English countryside. The reader will ‘see’ places through the eyes of rock legend Eric Clapton, BBC’s Katie Adie, Chef Raymond Blanc, 80’s icon Bryan Ferry, comedian Jo Brand, actor Kevin Spacey and authors Jonathan Dimbleby and Sebastian Faulks to name a few.

The book does not just focus on the stereotypical green backdrops and the variety of monuments, castles and places that comprise centuries of history that set England apart from the rest of the world.

Each contributor brings their unique touch. They present a distinctive and eclectic variety of personal icons ranging from local pub signs to meadows, from corner stores to orchards, and from the perfect cricket pitch to post boxes.

The book is by no means a page turner, but a lovely book to read a few pieces each day and mentally take a walk with each of the authors throughout the English countryside, their English countryside.

Photo credit: Cindy Stockman 2015

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