Lady In Waiting

Anne Glenconner

I got this book for Christmas. I think there is every possibility that you might have got it for Christmas as well. The giveaway for me is that it is a hardback book. I need to either be obsessed with the possibility of the book to buy a hardback or it’s a present. (Apologies for rubbish photo with £3 off sticker etc. Must work on flatlays and photos more).

I dropped heavy hints about wanting this book when Lady Glenconner appeared on Graham Norton, telling frightfully witty and amusing stories about her husband – Lord Glenconner and about being Lady-In-Waiting to Princess Margaret.

I have to say first of all that this is a brilliant book. I couldn’t put it down but it isn’t what I thought. There’s a lot of money and a lot of privilege. When she talks about money worries, I don’t think it’s money worries they way that you or I would understand them. There also some really interesting historical detail – she was one of the Queen’s Ladies in Waiting at the Coronation. For those of you of a more salacious bent (i.e. me) there’s lots of gently gossipy stuff about Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn. Bu, it isn’t packed out with the LOLS as the young people say.

I found the amount of family tragedy that she deals with through her life borderline shocking. It’s too spoilery to go into too much detail – her husband’s battles with mental illness are well documented but I had no idea about the extremes she was dealing with and life with her family gets to a point where it is one awful happening after another.

Yet she goes though life with stoicism and grace. She’s a good and faithful friend to Princess Margaret when the more mean spirited among us may feel that PM didn’t always deserve it. She moves heaven and earth to nurse one of her children and is very honest about her own shortcomings as a parent – mostly influenced, I think, by it “just not being done that way” in her time and social circle.

As I said, I thought it was brilliant – not for the reasons I expected – she is I think, an admirable person.

Just a quick note to recommend the film Jo Jo Rabbit. This is a very divisive film and if you saw it and hated it, I would completely agree with you. However, in that annoying way I have that I am always fair to me, I may be agreeing with you because you are probably right but I still loved this film. It is about a little German boy in the last months of the war. Germany are losing but the Nazis are keeping that under their hats. Jo Jo is a committed Nazi and Adolf Hitler is his imaginary friend. (I know, I know). He then discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their house. I think you need to know that Taika Waititi – the writer/director/Hitler friend person is Jewish – it made a difference to me around the things that I found uncomfortable. But, it does that classic thing of scaring away the horror by laughing at it and it IS very funny and warm and dignified with acts of immense courage. It isn’t showing everywhere but see it if you feel you can. I thought it was excellent.

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