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Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,320 ratings  ·  201 reviews
This magical memoir about a singular childhood in England and India by the daughter of Lord Louis and Edwina Mountbatten provides a privileged glimpse into the lives and loves of some of the twentieth century’s leading figures.

A magical memoir about a singular childhood in England and India by the daughter of Lord Louis and Edwina Mountbatten

Few families can boast of not o
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Simon Schuster (first published 2012)
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3.60  · 
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 ·  1,320 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Sep 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Won this on Goodreads Giveaways. Unedited Copy

Lady Pamela Hicks may not be a name everyone is familiar with. However, the people she been affiliated with (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, the Vanderbilts, Winston Churchill, Douglas Fairbanks, Gandhi); are certainly recognizable to all. Hicks attempts to reveal her life story to the memoir-loving masses in “Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten”.

“Daughter of Empire” immediately jumps into the lives of Hicks’s parents (Lord Louis and Ed
I should start off this review by stating that I won this book over at I am not normally a person who wins contests, so this was quite exciting for me. Not to mention I was notified that I had won on my birthday! However, the fact that I won this book in no way influenced my opinion on it.

This book, Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten is the autobiography of Lady Pamela Hicks. She is the second daughter of the famous Lord Louis Mountbatten. I knew a little bit about
Ghost of the Library
Having always had a love for History, especially British, it was with some curiosity that i approached this one - being not an expert, but neither a stranger, in what concerns the Mountbatten family and its role in 20th century England.
Well i can tell you this was most certainly worth my time - its a fascinating window to a time not yet out of living memory, but that slowly starts to fade and will in a generation's time be relegated to history books and documentaries.
Lady Pamela Hicks (nee Mount
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
(I had to repost this review as I mistakenly filed it under the Kindle edition and couldn't change it.) This was a good read. For someone with no political leanings to speak of, born and raised in the US, it was interesting to read about someone who is related to a large percentage of European royalty (not hard, they're all interrelated anyway)and has a couple of saints in her pedigree. Her take on "normal family life" growing up was curious...she apparently felt it was fine that Mummy and Daddy ...more
Sharon Huether
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Lady Pamela, wrote about what she witnessed and participated in. She was realated to all the European Royality. It was a very interest read; not like something a historian would write. It was so personal.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A very lively autobiography by Lord Mountbatten younger 's daughter.
No gossip, no name-dropping, but a vivid life story from a quite lonely childhood in England and in Malta with her parents (but rarely with her ever travelling mother) and a young adulthood in India in 1947. Her memories about her parents are very touching, especially the deep bond between her and her father.
The last part of the book, in which she remembers the travels she has made with a young queen Elizabeth II around the worl
Tara Corrigall
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating story that The Crown fans will appreciate. I listened to the audio version narrated by a Julie Andrews”esque” voice.
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Lady Pamela Hicks, through her incredibly vibrant parents, was present in the world altering events of the 20th century. Was it intentional that she would write of her first 30 years with such detachment, or is this sum total of what she thought and felt about these experiences? Is she emotionally this guarded or has there been no reflection on her witness to history?

For her early years she describes her grandmother and other caretakers, the marvelous letters she received from her parents (and t
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This is a fast, easy read describing the early life of Pamela Mountbatten.

Pamela Mountbatten had an interesting childhood - on many levels. With multiple ties to the British royal family - and many other European royal families - and a war-hero father, she led an incredibly privileged life, and had an insider's view of events most of us only read about in history books.

Her family was frankly unconventional. While she seems to have been
Frances Johnson
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an entertaining book about and by the younger daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and his beautiful and talented wife Edwina. I read the e-book version. She had an interesting if not somewhat lonely childhood but knew that she was greatly loved by her very busy, globe trotting parents. She lived in India during the time that her father was the last viceroy and supervised the process where India and Pakistan gained their independence. She was a bridesmaid in Princess Elizabeth's (later Que ...more
'Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten' covers Pamela Hicks' life from childhood through to her marriage and it's an extraordinary life. When you're related to most of the royal families of Europe - and a cousin to both the current Queen and Prince Phillip - it's clear that life's going to throw opportunities your way that wouldn't be accessible to the hoi polloi. Add in that her parents - Louis and Edwina Mountbatten - were two of the most glamorous and high profile people of their era and ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful companion read for the show "The Crown". Lady Pamela Hicks is a cousin of Prince Philip and a Mountabatten. The book gives an account of her younger life before and during WWII and then life in India while her father brokered the independence of India from Great Britain. Then it moves into her being a lady-in-waiting twice to Queen Elizabeth as well as one of her bridesmaids. Several scenes from the tv series are described by Lady Pamela as a first hand witness. The book predates the ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This memoir is mostly a straight-up re-telling of events, which may sound dull, but when the events in question take place on the world's stage it's more than enough for a great read. And it's not without introspection, you just have to look for it between the lines. Also between the lines: lady Pamela was totally hot for cousin Philip.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a very interesting peek into royal life from the perspective of a privileged bystander. Though not closely in line for the throne herself, she had the rank and breeding to be a fly in the wall to an extraordinary number of events that changed the world.
Her parents open mindedness about race and feminism put her in a place to be ahead of her time in some ways. It’s a great read.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
What a life this must have been. I would love to read her parents’ memoirs. Her stories were fascinating, seeing history being made. But her parents...they were making history.
Read Ng
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a GoodReads giveaway.

Break out you tea set and sit down to a wonderful time with a true and proper English Lady. A wonderful story. This story is written just like you are sitting across the table from Lady Pamela Hicks as she tells you the tale. So much rich history. I wish I had a sample recording of her voice, since it is so easy to imagine I was sitting directly across from Lady Pamela. I'm sure she is a great conversationalist. There are so many details I would have loved for her
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had expected to be charmed by this book, but I wasn’t. I felt the author wrote about her life in a uninspired way - “this happened, then I did that.” There was no warmth to the story except when she wrote about horses or horseriding. The chapters covered her childhood and her parents, school and nannies, the war and her stay in the USA sent by her parents to wait out the war. The middle section covered India in the lead up to independence, and the latter chapters contained the tour, as lady in ...more
Debbie Craft
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Thought it would be an interesting glimpse inside the privileged life of the upper class during wartime in Europe. It was hardly interesting. As previous mentioned, the words sounded like Ms Hicks recorded them and they were written down. She just casually goes through her many trips, her parents many affairs, her relationships with these new "friends" of both mummy and daddy. Her menagerie of animals, people, servants, cooks, teachers, schools and foreign friends were intermingled throughout th ...more
Lynn Hart
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not quite as gossipy as I'd hoped, but an interesting and quick read. recommended for anyone who enjoys royal biography or early 20th century aristocrat/manor house-type stories. I wish she would write the "next volume," there is a lot of story left to tell from her later life.
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bio-memoir
This was somewhat interesting, however it quickly turned into a name dropping list of people.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
In this memoir Pamela Hicks, or if I am to be proper, Lady Pamela Hicks, recounts the first thirty years of a life of extraordinary privilege. Her father, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was much lauded, closely related to the British royal family, given and succeeded at a variety of important posts, had an enormous capacity for forging friendships, and was so dashing that the young Grace Kelly kept a picture of him before she fell for a someone higher than a lord. Her mother, Edwina Ashley, was a very ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s been the longest time since I’ve been captivated by a book to such extent that I took every spare moment to try and get through half a page. As much as I love everything I learn from books, reading itself is an act of habit that I’m trying to form.

So was not the case with subject matter like this. I finished this humble work in a day and a half, and was pleasantly surprised with the demeanour and personality shining through from a woman who’s served at many of the key moments of history. H
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I listened to this book which was expertly narrated. This is the life of of the eldest daughter of Louis Mountbatten, who was eventually killed by the IRA. Interestingly, the narrative only covers the first 25 years of Lady Pamela's life, her birth in Barcelona in 1929 through the war years that she spent in America, followed by her experience in India during the end of the Raj and culminating in her six month tour of the British Empire just after the coronation as a lady in waiting to Queen Eli ...more
Kathleen Sams
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
My favorite way to learn about history is through the reading of biographies and autobiographies. I enjoyed Lady Pamela Hicks's tale of her childhood and was bemused by her mother, who left her children with a nanny in a hotel near Budapest while she traveled the world with her lover - during the Abyssinian crisis. The mother at one point lost the piece of paper on which she had written the hotel's name and had to retrace her steps through Europe to find her children. Lady Hicks's father also ha ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This memoir gives insight into the Mountbatten family in England. She was raised with wealth and privilege, but with some unconventional pets due to her parents’ travel, including a wallaby.
Her parents stayed together, but each had lovers who were part of the family and lived in from time to time. During WWII, she and her sister were sent to New York, where they got to experience life as guests of the Vanderbilts. Her mother was active in war support while her father was a key figure in naval op
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
2019 - Bk 49. This book ties up details that other memoirs and biographies had left me curious about. I had seen references to Pamela and her older sister Patricia had been in Canada during WWII, but also knew that in two books by former WRNS there were references to Patricia being in the WRNS. Mystery 1 solved. I knew that the Mountbattens were the last British 'rulers' of India, but did not realize how Pamela's mother had become so influential, again this book describes her visiting places of ...more
As long as you are in the right mindset this is an interesting memoir of a member of the royal family. By mindset I mean you have to be ready to spend time with someone who lives a life of great privilege and sometimes seems to take it for granted. But Hicks also provides a fascinating firsthand look at Britain's transfer of independence to India and this is by far the most substantive part of the book. I was also fascinated by the time she spent as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II. To an ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this book interesting but a bit frustrating in parts. Most of the frustration came from the author not providing enough information for context or to fully explain various situations. For instance, her parents played a central role in India's independence from Great Britain and the author discusses this. However, the reader is given only the barest of bones of what happened and is left to wonder why various actions were considered necessary. A reader with little to no prior knowledge of ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This would be 3.5 stars, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read! Watching The Crown has gotten me fascinated with all these royal, so it was fun to get some more behind the scenes stories concerning all this. I thought it was interesting that she portrayed Prince Philip in a MUCH more positive light than The Crown does, but then again, he's also her cousin, so she would be more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Who knows where the truth lies?

Anyway, the bit where her mom left her an
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The Lady Pamela Carmen Louise HICKS (née MOUNTBATTEN) - was born on 19th April 1929 in the Ritz Hotel, Barcelona, Spain, the youngest daughter of Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Lord Louis Mountbatten, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, ADC(P), FRS (1900-1979) and The Hon. Dame Edwina Ashley, CI, GBE, DCVO (1901-1960). Pamela’s middle name of Carmen was to honour María del Carmen Saavedra y de C ...more
“Unhappily we have to pay in life for everything worthwhile. If we want experience, depth and an understanding of life’s infinite phases we have to suffer shock and sorrow and then, if we are strong enough to rise above them, life is a curious bittersweet affair. Too much of its bitter aspect is of course terrible, but too much of unalloyed sweetness can also be bad enough.” 0 likes
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