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The Diana Chronicles

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  4,785 ratings  ·  587 reviews

Ten years after her death, Princess Diana remains a mystery. Was she “the people’s princess,” who electrified the world with her beauty and humanitarian missions? Or was she a manipulative, media-savvy neurotic who nearly brought down the monarchy? Only Tina Brown, former editor-in-chief of Tatler, England’s glossiest gossip magazine; Vanity Fair; and The New Yorker could

Hardcover, 560 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Doubleday
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,785 ratings  ·  587 reviews

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Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Yes, I've sunk this low and have no regrets.

If I learned anything from this massive gossip rag is that the royal family are a bunch of vapid, self-absorbed, spoiled, attention-seeking, messy people who can't keep it in their pants. Which makes me question why some (cough *kate middleton*cough*meghan markle*cough) are so keen on being a part of this pathetic circus. It takes a certain kind of person to crave this life.


Going to catch up on Crown next.
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yes, I read this because of The Crown lol. Can't believe I slept on this for 13 years, honestly. It was a great read. A bit salacious--Tina Brown definitely had a specific POV, but I personally appreciated it, and picked up this book in particular b/c reviews said the writing was colorful and the portrait not completely sanitized.

So this isn't for the Diana purists. I found parts of the book sharp in its assessment, but overall pretty even-handed, considering. Brown knows a lot about the royals
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: popculture
Too detailed, and yet, not detailed enough. You can't just say things like "Camilla's friends thought Diana had Borderline Personality Disorder" and leave it at that. Why did they think so? Did they say anything at the time, or is this a post facto diagnosis?

By the end I was thoroughly sick of Diana and Charles, neither of whom had/has a bit of sense. They both seemed smart enough, in different ways, but totally spoiled and not a bit strategic. I get the sense Brown was tired of them as well, a
I love to watch the Royal Family and have for years.

I remember the Randy Andrew/Koo Stark scandal and a sexual predator in training, the parade of virginal princesses for bachelor Prince Charles, Diana watch, getting up at the crack of dawn to see THE wedding and how disappointed I was with her dress, lying in bed five months pregnant and ugly crying when Will and Harry lined up behind her coffin.

Not much new in this book, but my God, the platinum level cheating of the British upper caste! The f
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My level of interest in this book fluctuated depending on the topic being addressed. The truth is, Diana Spencer was not an interesting person before she became involved with the royal family, and the sections about her early life could put you to sleep. The sections about Charles's early life, on the other hand, are pretty interesting. Reading certain sections was like watching a train wreck in slow motion; in many ways Diana was her own worst enemy, with an inability to learn from experience. ...more
Oct 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 Stars

I remember the time before kindles were invented when I bought every hardcover book that came out about Princess Diana, in ravenous fashion. Even though I purchased the hardcover version of this book when it first was published in 2007, I somehow never read it. Perhaps it was the bland cover that put me off (no picture of Princess Diana at all) and deflated my expectations. I recently encountered the kindle version on sale with a beautiful yellow cover with Princess Diana's picture, and I
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shut up.

Brown's work starts out with such promise. She offers an insightful look at not only the development of Diana from small, shy child to media mogul, but also the changing face of the British press and media from the late 60s onwards. This well-written discussion lasts for the first 200 pages or so. Once Diana and Charles say "I Do", it's back to business as usual as Brown rehashes the same old cover stories, photo ops, and leaked phone recordings. She almost pulls it back together at the
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
How could another book, and a 482 page book at that, on Diana possibly be entertaining or shed more light on the subject? Well, Tina Brown manages to do just that. Not only are the Diana Chronicles entertaining and very readable it begins by shedding a new light on Diana and the entire social climate of Britian during the eighties and nineties. Brown begins with a drama, the accident in Paris. Her writing is dynamic and flowing. It draws the reader in right away. No one can forget the images on ...more
Sep 11, 2007 rated it liked it
After three weeks of lugging this giant tome onto the bus with me every morning, I'm finally finished. Several people asked, when spotting me with it, "why are you reading that?" Why indeed.
My fascination with Diana stemmed from childhood- there was a paper doll set involved, as well as the word "princess." I recall hearing about her divorce from Charles. I was sad when she died. But I didn't really know anything about her. Now I do.
Most interesting, I thought, were the chapters on her backgroun
Lois is recovering slowly
I liked this
It's gossip and largely unsubstantiated or already reported gossip.
This books takes a very jaded view of Princess Di. She doesn't seem to dislike her so much as see her in a less 'royal' light.
I like the authors tone with the royals🤷🏾‍♀️
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Why? Because someone left it at my house and because I just watched that movie "The Queen". The collective force of these two circumstances forced me to pick up the book and read it.

The book was okay. It's a pretty thorough examination of the Diana phenomenon, and it's well enough written for something of this sort, but in the end, it's just glorified celebrity gossip. The book tries hard to make us see that how the British feel about the monarchy is an important. I guess it the British
Mar 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
I tried to read this book, but couldn't bring myself to finish it. The (completely unsubstantiated) sentences that broke the camel's back?

Women who love horses usually love sex. It is no accident that, for girls, the onset of puberty is often marked by an obsession with horseflesh.
Mar 23, 2021 added it
As someone else posted, too much detail yet not enough detail. Brown has a way of making declarations without backing them up, a lack of openness in her world view and a lack of compassion in how she views the assembled players here. She seems to dislike everyone, and I guess you can make a case for that-- but the snarky comments felt sloppy and self-indulgent. Still I could not put it down-- a guilty pleasure escape hatch over yet another pandemic weekend.
Nancy Loe
Aug 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: royals, re-read
Mock me if you will, but this is a fair-minded look at the phenomenon that is Diana, Princess of Wales. I've read (far too many) of the biographies, both pro- and anti-Diana, and Brown offers information that's new to me and fresh insights. ...more
Amy Platt
Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
In my view Diana was an unsympathetic manipulator. I found myself feeling depressed when I read this book because she decided to live her life as a victim. Pitiful person.
Savannah Stapley
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible and profound effect this woman had on the world. She was so human and had so many faults/weaknesses; she just wanted to be loved and give love. Will never be able to relate to her on a royal level, but many of us can relate to her struggle with not having basic emotional needs and emotional security met by those who we love the most.

I’ve always loved and admired Princess Diana, and this book helped paint a bigger picture of why she was the way she was and why she did the thin
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
WTF was this book? I'm ashamed I read it, although I did appreciate this gem of a quote: "Women who love horses usually love sex." ...more
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
You could call me a Princess Diana fan — a huge one, actually. I have been fascinated with her since she appeared on the scene when I was in high school. When she died, friends called me to check on how *I* was doing. I still think of her often. So, when I decided to read a book about her, it wasn’t with the expectation of really learning anything new. I really just wanted to kind of re-live her life again through words, and possibly see some big-picture themes to help make sense of a woman who ...more
Taher Bellah
Jun 02, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have ever read. A gripping drama that offers insight not just on Diana's life but on the wicked nature of the human condition. ...more
Literary Redhead
Jul 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A gripping look at the People's Princess as only Tina Brown can do. Highly recommended for Royal junkies! ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
As readable and enjoyable as the occasional bit of literary trash may be, I make no mistake regarding the fact that that's what I was reading when I read The Diana Chronicles. Sarah Bradford is a biographer and, to date, she owns the bragging rights to the definitive book on Diana, Princess of Wales. Tina Brown has gone to previously-published books, magazine articles, and interviews with more than 200 people for her own take on the complicated Princess, her reluctant husband, and the woman who ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s riveting, if you are a celebrity junkie like me. Brown in her trademark style that mixes gossip, opinion and true-blue reporting, paints a story of a potential fairy tale gone horribly wrong. In so many ways, the story of Diana is a story of how not to live a life - no real education, marrying for an idea of a prince, living through a bad marriage in the public eye, depressed and unhappy for the most part, never being able to escape the price of fame. Brown’s Diana is troubled, unstable, ma ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t finished this book, but making it to page 265 was such a struggle that I feel like I deserve a win so I’m logging it as finished regardless.

I eventually gave up when the author imagined what Diana “might have responded” to an insult thrown at her by Charles, because if I’d wanted to read imagined responses I’d probably have picked up some historical fiction.

I’m sure Tina Brown did an absolute power of research for this book and there’s no taking away from the thoroughness with which s
Sep 26, 2022 rated it really liked it
During the weeks it took me to read this book, I would sometimes ask myself, "Why am I reading this?"

On the one hand, it's because a 4-part podcast about Diana that was recommended to me used this book as one of its primary sources. And a good friend then told me it was worth the read. And then Tina Brown's publishing of The Palace Papers this summer reminded me I still needed to read her first book about the royals.

But it was also about a lingering curiosity of who Diana was. I was 9 when she
Nov 23, 2022 rated it it was ok
I now know too much about Diana. Unfortunately, no photos despite descriptions of iconic moments. Loses rating points for that alone.

I wanted the fairy tale, the beauty and empathy of the princess. While true, it paints an incomplete picture. Diana ensured that the beauty and empathy of "Princess Diana" made the newspapers, while striving to hide the less becoming, to put it mildly, parts that those around her saw. The British public caught glimpses of troubled Diana that I'm not sure we saw tha
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Gossipy, glossy magazine style. I had to steel myself occasionally to continue, when it got too common or too repetitive. It is written with panache though. I learned a lot about the Royals (I haven’t followed them before, but got interested after watching Netflix’s Crown). In the end I liked Charles more than Diana, reversing the feeling I had after Crown.
Nov 20, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022-reads
Obviously had to finish this before I started the new season of The Crown. Tina Brown is a journalistic legend and the way she drops in some seriously scandalous information is unparalleled. I listened via audiobook and only wish that Tina was the narrator, and that I got photos accompanying the text like The Palace Papers.
Linda Bridges
This is a very entertaining yet extremely well researched book about Diana. I found it to be fair both in the treatment of Diana and of the royal family. Faults and good attributes of all involved were discussed. It is extremely readable and informative.
Sep 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up from the library; my interest prodded by Sally Bedell-Smith's incredibly and obviously resentful and contemptuous take on Diana and mushy worshipful view of Queen Elizabeth. I was looking for a more balanced view of both women. The only quibble I have is how quickly Diana goes from a sweetly dumb romantic (and slightly "off") teenager to a scary sophisticated savvy and strange woman. Perhaps the progression is unknowable; it seems to be a whole progression of tipping points ...more
Rashmi Tiwari
Feb 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Continuing the Trashy Royal Snowed In Boston For The Rest Of My Life book tour. This was WAY too long and ultimately left me feeling like Princess Diana (who I knew very little about prior to reading this) was a spoiled, sort of psychotic, desperate woman who verged on shamefully illiterate (she kept a list of "hard to spell" words on her desk). I get the sense that I was supposed to witness her personal growth or something but she read as the same vapid waste of space from beginning to end. Tha ...more
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Tina Brown, Lady Evans (born Christina Hambley Brown) is a journalist, magazine editor, columnist, talk-show host and author of The Diana Chronicles, a biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, a personal friend. Born a British citizen, she took United States citizenship in 2005. She became the editor-in-chief of Tatler magazine at the age of 25, and rose to prominence in the American media industry ...more

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