The Prince George Diaries

The Prince George Diaries

Title: The Prince George Diaries

Author: Clare Bennett

Review by Jade Craddock

There have been some eminent and monumental diaries throughout history; Samuel Pepys, Elizabeth Smart, Virginia Woolf, and now there’s another name to be added to the list, the diary the world’s been waiting for: none other than Prince George. Well, a fictional Prince George at least in Clare Bennett’s debut novel, The Prince George Diaries, that gives the young royal something of a cross between the Adrian Mole and Spitting Image treatment.

Ever since his birth in July 2013 and the months leading up to it, Prince George Alexander Louis has, naturally, been under the glare of the world’s media and very much in the public spotlight. From those first pictures outside of St Mary’s Hospital to his first public appearance in Australia and that run-in with a bilby at Taronga Zoo, the world has followed the prince every step of the way, but always at arm’s length. What life is really like inside the Cambridge household, what it really means to be a member of the royal family and what goes into shaping a future king has remained behind closed doors. Until now. Clare Bennett’s Prince George Diaries gives us privileged access to this most unique of families through the fictional musings of the young royal himself as he turns one.

And the diary starts on the morning of his birthday with ‘his team’ gathering around his cot for a rendition not of their usual ditty, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, but ‘Happy Birthday’, with Mummy and Daddy in full voice. And George’s Latin teacher on hand for an impromptu lesson: ‘Id est rectus – felicem natalem diem!’ His Press Secretary, Mood Analyst, Hairdresser, Head of Global Strategy and Walking Coaching are all in attendance too, and naturally the Present Team are run off their feet. But it’s not all work and no play, after all this is the prince’s first birthday and there’s the usual practice of visiting and receiving family to see to, including a visit to HQ – or to give it its layman’s name Buckingham Palace – to drop in on his great-grandmother (GG) and great-grandfather (G-Pop) before Uncle J, Aunt P, Granny C and Grandpa M arrive for his birthday bash, and not to forget Uncle Harry, and then it’s down to the serious stuff of party games: Pass the Castle and Musical Heirs, of course.

Bad news

The Queen

‘Let us not take ourselves too seriously.’

Realising that the next day is not going to be a repeat of the day’s festivities somewhat bursts the young prince’s bubble and it is back to the old routine: playdates with GG and the prime minister, visits to his grandfather, Goonie, and step-grandmother, GaGa, and general tomfoolery with Uncle Harry. But as the calendar rolls into August, George realises something’s amiss with Mommy. Not only is she permanently in her onesie, but George has also seen her drinking milk from the carton as if it’s going out of fashion. And Uncle Harry’s taken to giving her new names; Barfing Betty, Hurling Helen. When George receives the news, it is not good: Mommy’s pregnant and he’s going to be a brother. He’s only got a few months to get his head around this dilemma before the young pretender comes onto the scene. It’s straight into crisis talks with his team, and there’s a new item on his syllabus: Sibling Rivalry.

The book takes as its epigraph a quotation from the Queen: ‘Let us not take ourselves too seriously’, and there’s nothing serious about the way the royal family are depicted in this satirical sketch. Whilst no one comes out completely unscathed in Bennett’s parodic treatment, she never pushes too far. Some members though certainly get away more lightly than others and, worryingly, some of the caricatures do not seem too far-fetched, whilst others are delightfully inconceivable.

The humour is generally well-pitched, but there are more titters than belly laughs along the way, although Bennett keeps the humour coming and hits the jackpot on more than one occasion. And after seeing Kate playing hockey in the house and hand-slapping Harry, Will’s obsessing over forging a friendship with Jay-Z and the Queen dressed up in sombrero for Mexico Day it may be impossible to see the royals in the same way again. Maybe Bennett’s Prince George might just turn out to be a serial diarist, or maybe Princess Charlotte may have her turn, but, for now, we have a glimpse of all the fun bits the royal histories have left out. Or so we can imagine.

By Jade Craddock

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1 Comment

  1. I haven’t checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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