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Summary

Few families can boast of not one but two saints among their ancestors, a great-aunt who was the last tsarina of Russia, a father who was Grace Kelly's pinup, and a grandmother who was not only a princess but could also argue the finer points of naval law. Pamela Mountbatten entered a remarkable family when she was born at the very end of the Roaring Twenties.

As the younger daughter of the glamorous heiress Edwina Ashley and Lord Louis Mountbatten, Pamela spent much of her early life with her sister, nannies, and servants-and a menagerie that included, at different times, a bear, two wallabies, a mongoose, and a lion. Her parents each had lovers who lived openly with the family. The house was always full of guests like Sir Winston Churchill, Noël Coward, Douglas Fairbanks, and the Duchess of Windsor (who brought a cold cooked chicken as a hostess gift).

When World War II broke out, Lord Mountbatten was in command of HMS Kelly before being appointed chief of Combined Operations, and Pamela and her sister were sent to live on Fifth Avenue in New York City with Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1947, her parents were appointed to be the last viceroy and vicereine of India and oversee the transfer of power to an independent Indian government.

Amid the turmoil of political change, Pamela worked with student leaders, developed warm friendships with Gandhi and Nehru, and witnessed both the joy of Independence Day and its terrible aftermath. Soon afterwards, she was a bridesmaid in Princess Elizabeth's wedding to Prince Philip, and was a lady-in-waiting at the young princess's side when she learned her father had died and she was queen.Vivid and engaging, well-paced and superbly detailed, this witty, intimate memoir is an enchanting lens through which to view the early part of the twentieth century.

©2012 Pamela Hicks (P)2014 Tantor

Critic reviews

"Lady Pamela's memoir will appeal to those who like to take a peek into the lifestyles of the royal and famous." ( Booklist)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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BRILLIANT!!!

I'm an audible addict who has listened to her fair share of biographies. But I can honestly say this is one of the most interesting recordings I've listened to to date. If you love travel and abit of royal and social intrigue then this book won't disappoint. I only wish it was longer or had a sequel:)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Neither long nor boring! Fascinating

Where does Daughter of Empire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It has got to be in my top three- and I have listened to a least 50 audio books

What did you like best about this story?

Wonderful snapshot of history from the perspective a very humble, yet privileged bystander. She spoke about the compliments/honors she was given as though she didn't deserve. She also included various scoldings which some authors may have left our of their biographies.

What about Corrie James’s performance did you like?

She read clearly and confidently throughout with a plain RP accent.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I neither laughed nor cried, however I felt glad that she had made her feeling about race very clear.

Any additional comments?

I have no idea why this book has just low ratings. its truly wonderful. I listened to the hold book in a few days.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Annoying lack of attention by the narrator

The text the narrator was reading, with regard to dates , were obviously written as, for example : 25 February, which is the modern way of typing a date rather than adding the superscript “th” , but the narrator chose to say “on twenty five February”..which no one would ever say in usual conversation, not in proper UK English anyway! One would always say on the twenty-fifth of February!!! So annoying because of the nature of the book there were a lot of relevant dates! Please can I have a job checking this kind of stuff as part of the editing process??? 😬

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  • Robert W Bruso
  • 31-08-17

Beautifully Impressive Narrative of Aristocracy

Here is a completely decorous and highly affluent biography of a supremely beautiful, wondrous woman within the ornament of British high society. This audiobook is a delightful composition of elite adventure, authentic detail and the prettiest conditioning. The author, Lady Pamela Hicks, has a brilliant mind for detail and seemingly effortless ability to entertain majestic interests. I listened to her audible story over a pot of Afternoon Tea at consistent sessions by hour and chapter amazed at the sublime accommodation. Such work as is, in my estimation, excellent for sophisticated occasions. I am proud to have found this audiobook for accompaniment to my choice of polite setting and socializing. The narrator, Corrie James, does a marvelous work of pronunciation and intonation in her thorough support of a magnificent literature. Well done, highly recommendable audiobook on all accounts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nanneabear
  • 21-10-16

Royalty Buffs

Enjoyable modern history especially for those with a fascination for the Royal family of England. The author led an interesting life; met interesting people who were world leaders if the time and describes those people's as well as her parents' personalities and psychological make up with an astute understanding. A very interesting read if you already have a bit of an understanding and an interest in the Royal family.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • christina
  • 22-07-16

Long

This book is long an boring, I struggled to get through the entire book. Read 2 books before I finished this one. Not interesting at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn
  • 07-08-15

A peek into history.

Lovely piece of history. From a personal point of view. Too much lord this and lady that. But, once she arrives in India it becomes much more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrea Ferreira
  • 12-09-18

A MUST read if you love all things British!!!!

I have adored Lady Pamela Hicks for years, love watching any documentary with her in it. This book is wonderful, she has lived through soo much history (a front row seat in some cases). This book will definitely go into the re-listen category as I did not want her tale to end. I do hope that she writes another book about the second chapter of her life as I believe its just as interesting as the first part.

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  • Lynne H
  • 24-01-16

Boring

I wanted to like this. I wanted to know more about the Mountbatten family. The book feels as if it were written by a junior high school student. It isn't necessarily poorly written, rather it managed to make the life of the Mountbattend uninteresting. To be fair it might well have become interesting, it just couldn't stick with it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lori
  • 18-06-15

Splendid Lady!

Gracious, intelligent and kind, Lady Pamela tells a beautiful story filled with history and insight.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful