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Prince Charles & Camilla's wedding...

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MRS. KEPPEL & HER DAUGHTER, by Diana Souhami.

Alice Keppel was the mistress of Edward VII and she was the great-grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles. I have read this book ten or twelve times since it came out in 1997 and read it again in the lead-up to the royal wedding. It is a fascinating portrait of a king's mistress but even more so of Mrs. Keppel's daughter, Violet Trefusis, whose lesbian affair with Vita Sackville-West caused her to be cast out of society. The moral double standards and the hypocrisy of the key players veers from hilarious to maddening. Huge personalities come into play, among them the Princesse de Polignac, quite fascinating in her own right.

The author contrasts Queen Alexandra's handling of Edward VII's affairs with Princess Diana's mishandling of the Charles/Camilla relationship.

It's a page-turner, for me anyway. Vita Sackville-West comes off as a heartless, self-absorbed, manipulative bitch.

Violet Trefusis once wrote what I think would be a perfect epitaph: "My heart was more disgraceful, more alone and more courageous than the world has known. O passer-by my heart was like your own."

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