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Review: ‘A Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown’ by Anne Glenconner

When I saw a post about “Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown” by Anne Glenconner, I was immediately intrigued. It’s not often you hear from the people who worked behind palace walls. I was excited to learn more about the personal moments Anne had with members of the royal family but, the book, you could say was worth the waiting.

The book begins as you’d imagine, Anne’s early years. Perhaps I got confused as in America, we don’t have earls, dukes, and so on. But as Anne mentioned all of the people in her life, I found it a bit hard to keep track of everyone. I understand it’s an autobiography and it’s important to set the scene but I found this portion of the book went on a bit too long. There were a lot of details that I thought were relevant but could have been shortened. Perhaps that’s the journalist in me.

I’d say it was about 100 pages if not more or so where Anne started talking about her life as a Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret. Earlier on in the book, she mentions how she took part in Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation and how her family knew the Royal Family. While this was mentioned, I was left yearning for more information about the early years and what the royal relationship looked like in between those dozens of pages.

Once Anne talked about Princess Margaret, I learned details I already knew from shows like “The Crown” and other outlets. For example, Margaret liked to vacation in Mustique, she was a partier, etc. What I really wanted to know is the side of Margaret the people are not aware of. I am sure there is some sort of confidentiality that Anne wanted to keep but I felt the book was lacking those “behind palace walls” details that you’d think would be present based on the title of the book. The final 100-150 pages of the book did give some insight into Margaret’s later years and the depression she faced later on in life.

I am a slower reader but I did find it hard to want to pick up the book and finish reading. There was a lot of “extra” information if you will between the royal portions of the book. Some details were very interesting, but then there were details that I felt could be skipped over or shortened. While in the end, the content was interesting, I do think the book itself is not one someone needs to urgently read. It’s a slow burn, especially if you are waiting to find out more about the Royal Family. Anne has had an extraordinary life but it would have been nice to learn more about her life as a Lady-in-Waiting and maybe some of the encounters she had with other members of the Royal Family, especially earlier on in the book.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.