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Summary

The diaries of 'Tommy' Lascelles - as featured in the Netflix hit The Crown.

As Assistant Private Secretary to four monarchs, 'Tommy' Lascelles had a ringside seat from which to observe the workings of the royal household and Downing Street during the first half of the 20th century.

These fascinating diaries begin with Edward VIII's abdication and end with George VI's death and his daughter Elizabeth's Coronation. In between we see George VI at work and play, a portrait more intimate than any other previously published.

This compelling account also includes Princess Margaret's relationship with Peter Townsend, and throws an intriguing new light on the way in which King George VI and Winston Churchill worked together during the Second World War.

Lascelles was a fine writer - like most of the best diaries his are a delight to listen to as well as being invaluable history.

©2020 Duff Hart-Davis (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Brilliantly entertaining and historically priceless." (Spectator

"Fascinating...as much a contribution to royal legend as to the history of the war." (Daily Telegraph

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Sir Tommy Lascelles

So interesting to listen to the diaries and letters of Tommy Lascelles. I truly felt as if I was in the same room with him.

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A great listen

I adored this book. It kept me interested all the way through. Great narration from Pip Torrens. (Who incidentally plays Lascelles in The Crown) I listened to it over 2 days. Having recently watched all 4 seasons of The Crown, in which Lascelles features frequently , it helped to put things around the abdication/ ii ww into perspective.


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Fascinating diaries of the Secretary to George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth

Extremely interesting diaries of “Tommy” Lascelles, secretary to George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Peppered with events of international importance and personal - often humorous - anecdotes which bring both the author and the people around him to life. I recommend this audio book to all history lovers who would like to learn more about the Royal Family and those who look after the monarch. I particularly enjoyed his description of life at Buckingham Palace during WWII. My only regret is that there wasn’t more about the Abdication. I wondered whether he had not kept a diary during this period or whether it had been edited out. Well read.

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Fascinating

A truly great tale of a great man and superbly narrated by the actor who played Tommy Lascelles in the Netflix series 'The Crown'.

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Hugely interesting

A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting listen. I would have been happy to have heard more diary entries were there to have been them. It will be a book I return to at some point in the future.

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  • Mr
  • 23-08-21

A treasure trove of history

I stumbled across this and loved it, Pip Torrens who plays 'Tommy Lascelles' in The Crown reads beautifully and the insight into the comings and goings 'backstage' at Buckingham Palace during the war is excellent. There is nothing here that is shocking or revelatory but none the less it is a super resource and brilliantly written by a very interesting man.

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It don't require a degree to appreciate quality

Lascelles' only error in his fascinating life would appear to be simply that he never got around to the writing of novels.
Brilliant language, brilliantly delivered by Pip Torrens.

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Recommended

Very very interesting .
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this purchase but I couldn’t put it down once I started.

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Fascinating

Fascinating insight into the period, little snipets of history from a different perspective. Excellent narrator and very easy to listen to..

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Fascinating first account insight


A very interesting life, lived in very interesting times.
Being the Private Secretary to the Sovereign placed him in a unique position during some very turbulent times.


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  • Elizabeth
  • 14-04-21

One of the most enjoyable audiobooks I've heard.

Pip Torrens was absolutely brilliant in his reading/acting of this audiobook. How he managed to read so rapidly (to capture the quick pace of Lascelles' brilliant mind), without ever sounding clipped or breathless, and while maintaining such perfect diction and personable inflection, is a true wonder. He scarcely ever paused, and yet left you always wanting more. Bravo!
As for Lascelles himself, I can only say I wish I had known him. A truly fascinating man. Though I differ with his thoughts on religion, I enjoyed his insights and wit on everything else, and I believe I would have liked him very much if we'd ever met.
I highly recommend this audiobook.

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  • Paul
  • 20-04-21

Brilliant narration of a great story

Pip Torrens provide a magnificent performance with the narration of this diary. The editor provides excellent context for the diaries and the author is very clear in his refusal to judge or criticize his employers but to offer insights to his role as the secretary managing the relationship between the monarch and the government.

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  • localcolor
  • 09-10-21

Loved this Book

A fascinating life led by a very interesting man living in consequential times. The narration is excellently done. Highly recommended.

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  • Mark Haynie
  • 10-07-21

The narrator is perfect.

Loved it!!!!!!
It was wonderfully narrated. Just a joy from start to finish. Real treat!

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  • A. L. Young
  • 17-05-21

Pip Torren narrates King’s Counsellor

After watching Pip Torren play Tommy Lascelles in “The Crown”, I was quite pleased to hear him narrate this book. His interpretation of Lascelles objective bluntness was spot on. Any hardened historian will appreciate the fresh character reflections on Winston Churchill, Elizabeth II, King George V, as well as the Abdication of Edward VIII.

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  • Kathleen Venango
  • 12-05-22

Tommy the courier

I loved this book. I became interested after watching the ‘Crown’ He seems a much more lovable character after reading this. He is much
more human. Lately everything I read about the Queens courtiers is so negative. After reading this you realize his true interest was protecting and serving the Crown. He loved his family and his Country. Great book would love anything else about him.

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  • mb
  • 07-05-22

Beautifully read close up view of history

This book was fascinating. I enjoyed every minute. The reader is amazing - perfect. A real view into a slice of Great Britain and WWII.