The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor
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The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  56 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The House of Windsor: Is it a hangover from the past, an expensive anachronism, a relic of a bygone age of deference and hierarchy, or is it as important and relevant as ever?

However you look at it, the royal family is a big business, though one with more ups and downs than the stock market. Prince Philip calls it “The Firm,” and all the royal executives and their powerful...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Griffin (first published July 11th 2005)
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Petra X
I used to paint t-shirts and sail over to this rather exclusive island one morning a week and hang them in the coconut and grape trees on a quite secluded beach to sell them. Princess Diana was there one morning sitting with her children quite close by. Her Lady in Waiting looked through the t-shirts and asked if she could take some of them over to her and I watched as the Princess sorted through them, eventually buying six. The Princess waved and mouthed, "They're lovely, thank you". That made...more
Lize
A quick, furtive read, and a dull one too in places. Lots of skimming going on. Junor mostly revisits well-trodden ground (especially for people who have read everything in the world about these people already), with nothing too scandalous or revealing. The Queen is lovely, although her face looks glum in repose, which lots of people misinterpret. Prince Philip and Princess Anne are abrupt and rude to well, everyone. (But both are hard-working and intelligent.) Prince Charles writes everything i...more
Judy
A moderately interesting book, but the author is way too biased toward the House of Windsor.
Louise
Junor describes the nuts and bolts of how this institution runs. She covers the funding, the ownership, the organizational structure, how the ceremonies are arranged, how often chandeliers are cleaned. We get sketches of the principals and their staffs and their frustrations in managing their images through the fallout of Diana's star power and other less momentuous set backs.

I didn't know that the monarch can dissolve parliament and declare war, nor of the other powers on p. 398; nor did I unde...more
Mary Ann
Written in 2005, this is well out date. Defending why the British Empire needs the Monarchy, Camilla has just married Prince Charles, Kate is Will's girlfriend and Harry is a hooligan. But much has changed since then and the argument for the Monarchy is even more solid than ever. Penny Junor knows her stuff and writes a fascinating look at the Royal Family's ups and downs throughout Queen Elizabeth's reign as sovereign and the structure that unites them known as the The Firm. Great read for anyo...more
Claire
3.75 stars

I'm a fan of Junor's work as I think she offers a fairly unbiased portrayal of The Royal Family. This book was a bit dull at times and I found myself skimming sections.

Reading this book several years after it was published is also interesting as it seems Charles and Camilla's popularity has increased and William is now married to the girl that is barely mentioned in this book.

Maybe I'm wrong....just my American opinion. :)
Rpaterson
I usually love anything informative on the royal family. While I found parts of this book interesting and entertaining to read, too much was plodding statistics and, dare I say, TOO MUCH INFORMATION. I found the author a trifle contradictory in her assessment of the members of the family. In the same paragraph, she depicts individuals as both highly self centered, rude, thoughtless and boring BUT then goes on to say how smart they really are and what tremendous service they perform for the count...more
John
A good non gossipy read about the current state of the monarchy
Anna
Junor tries to mix juicy gossip with a serious study of the way the monarchy works in the post-Diana years, and by attempting both, she fails. Her case is not helped by her over-dependence on third party sources, which she quotes heavily throughout; if she had been one of my college comp freshmen, I would have docked her for it. Look elsewhere, such as the documentaries about the Windsor Castle and the daily life of the Queen, if you want to know about the inner workings of the monarchy.
Jaubert16
This is my first book by this author, and I have to say she is a terrible "biographer". Her book reads like a high school paper where the student cuts and pastes from a variety of internet sources. The writing was choppy, one sided, and completely without merit. I have, in the past, only read biographies on Elizabeth II, and I think I have a learned a lesson. You cannot expand to the rest of the family without it reading like a tabloid.
Grandmanel
Interesting to read of the business structure of this important British "firm", and how it is run. But when the author gets into the lives and roles of assistants and courtiers to the Royal Family it is like putting your hand into a snakepit. And she sure can do a good character assassination in a few paragraphs, masked as a job description. Kind of "Downton Abbey", only magnified x100. I did read it to the end.
Kim Bolton
A fairly good book about the house of Windsor. I read this book after reading several biographies of the Queen and Prince Phillip, their children and in-laws. After a while, you get a little tired of reading about the Windsor's narrowed view of the world. Still, it is a good read to gain a better understanding of England's royal family.
Sull
Moderately interesting & fair-handed (-seeming) exploration of problems in the current royal family. The author has some insider knowledge of all the major characters--i.e. family members--and sheds light on some puzzles of personality and circumstance, such as why Diana & Charles were a match made to fail. A decent read.
Dara
Moderately interesting, but SUPER fawning towards the royal family (the author defends everything Charles ever did in his marriage with Diana), which I wasn't expecting from the title.
Rachel
pretty interesting at the beginning but last 5 chapters were blah...after I rated it ( 3 stars) was not suprised to see that the majority of readers gave it same rating.
Michele bookloverforever
why they are the way they are. a look at life in the aquarium called the palace.
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8211
Born in Leatherhead, Surrey, Junor was educated at the independent Benenden School in Kent and read History at St Andrews University, but left in her second year to get married.

Junor has worked for the Evening Standard and a column for Private Eye lasted five years.

Best known for her books on the British Royal Family, she has written biographies of Diana, Princess of Wales (1982) and Charles, Prin...more
More about Penny Junor...
Prince William: Born to be King Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King Diana, Princess of Wales: A Biography Charles: Victim or Villain Charles And Diana: Portrait Of A Marriage

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