Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown Book Review

From our funniest writer, a portrait of our most talked-about royal

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando clam up. She cold-shouldered Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor.

Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. John Fowles hoped to keep her as his sex-slave. Dudley Moore propositioned her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was in love with her.

For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy. “If they knew what I had done in my dreams with your royal ladies” he confided to a friend, “they would take me to the Tower of London and chop off my head!”

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding.

In her 1950’s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman.

The tale of Princess Margaret is pantomime as tragedy, and tragedy as pantomime. It is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.

Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues and essays, Ma’am Darling is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography, and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society. (Amazon)

It’s like suddenly everyone is talking about this book. Princess Margaret is not an unknown subject to biographers so I was wondering what this book could add that we don’t already know. I soon learned that this is not your typical book. I had never heard of the author before but Craig Brown is apparently a satirist and I wish I had known this before I started reading the book. The 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret is mostly factual but also contains parody and alternative futures. I found the whole thing very confusing and not funny at all. Princess Margaret has already gone down in history as a somewhat tragic and rude figure and this book does nothing for her.

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown is available now in both the UK and the US.

About Moniek Bloks 2729 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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