Cover Image: The First Royal Media War

The First Royal Media War

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Member Reviews

This is such an interesting book and clearly extensively researched.
The role the media played in the abdication crisis and the contrast between the Britush and American press was really fascinating. The lasting effects of thus period on the Royal Family  and its relationship with the media are clear and there are obvious parallels with today.
The writing is quite dense and I did find it hard ti keep track over who was who in the media world and what particular political views and motives they each had.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  This is an interesting take on the entire Abdication Crisis of Edward VIII and the attempt to rewrite the narrative through the media.  Of course, back in the 1930s and beyond, there was no internet.  Books, magazines and newspapers were the primary source although there was dabbling in the broadcast media too.   There was not the instant spread of the stories, fictions or not, but there was a clear agenda on both sides before the Abdication and primarily on the side of the Duke and Duchess afterwards.  

As he did so often, Edward misread the tea leaves and thought more highly of his appeal and popularity than it turned out he had.  While much of the blunders and missteps were not reported until after the fact, he called the bluff of the government and establishment and was shocked when they did not fold.  From that point on, he attempted to rescue both his and his wife’s reputations.  He thought he was far more cunning than those around him as they manipulated him and the story for their gain too.

What he did accomplish, much to the chagrin of future Royals, was his opened the floodgates for innuendo and gossip.  What had been off limits now was fair game and a very profitable one.  Recent events have proven that.  I found the media influence through titans such as Hearst and Beaverbrook fascinating.  The King became a pawn.  And things would never be the same.  Four purrs and two paws up.
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I enjoyed the book as it was quite entertaining, i'm not sure if it was a matter of conservative vs innovation as the political ideas of the duke are known.
Entertaining and an interesting depiction of the role of media in a well known historical fact
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
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Oddly, many people don't consider that the original media onslaught started back close to 100 years ago, with the radio coming into more homes of ordinary people, as well as talking pictures, and by 1930 people were also being shown short videos of news around the world--those lasted till the 60's!  It was an increasingly important way for current news to be shown to the populace, many of whom didn't get the newspapers, or have time to go to a library, and of course, the movers and shakers of the age tried to use it, as well as manipulate it, from the very beginning.  The Royal family in Great Britain was no exception to this, and indeed, the radio and newsreels served them well.  However, when George V died, and the Prince of Wales became Edward VIII, he used to to even greater advantage, and Edward also showed to great advantage there.  He loved the adulation and travel, meeting people, basically living life as he had when Prince of Wales, but now with more responsibilities as King/Emperor.  He was not nearly as fond of the hard work as he was of the parties and travel, as well as women, he had enjoyed, and palmed off some of that work he didn't enjoy onto his younger brothers.  As most people know, he then fell in love with an American woman living in London with her 2nd husband, who had drifted into his social set, and decided that he had to have her as his wife.  Many of the Church hierarchy, media high-ups, and fellow aristocrats and nobles weren't pleased with this turn of affairs, and unbelievably, the affair was hushed up in Britain, though covered well in America and other places.  Once the media did get involved, the whole affair exploded, and King Edward gave an ultimatum to his Cabinet, either letting him marry Mrs Simpson, or he would abdicate.  They let him abdicate, and afterwards, he and his new wife bemoaned the fact that they were hounded by bad press, not comprehending that their own behavior prompted their coverage!

All in all, a fascinating review of how the press/media worked almost 100 years ago, and how it could make a difference in the political life in a country.  The power of the press became a powerful thing, indeed.
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Very timely read for those who can't get enough of the scandal that is Edward VIII  and Wallis Simpson. #netgalley

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King Edward VIII was the first celebrity!. His romance  and possible marriage with Wallis Simpson - American divorcee -  made headlines in the British newspapers. Some newspapers supported the king and his right to marry but others opposed it. Then the whole media war started. The book is well researched and detailed. Highly recommended!
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This was an interesting read and certainly timely.  I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.  So many similarities between Edward and Harry.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the early read.
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Even though I loved the book in itself, I felt it dragged in some parts and it was confusing at times. 
It was hard to keep the attention span.

I appreciated the different POV's of everyone involved, and the rich vocabulary that was used.

All in all, not bad.

Thanks for the ARC!
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I am a huge fan of all things royal history pre Queen Victoria onwards and I found this book fascinating. I knew quite a bit from watching various documentaries on the abdication etc however what Adrian has done is taken it up another level and shown us what was really going on behind closed doors and also for me showing the Duke of Windsor’s real character. 
I found it an easy & interesting read.
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A fascinating look at the Abdication and Edward’s failed attempts to ‘modernize’ the monarchy and how he bungled his image in the media, and how the media worked with conservative elements opposed to Edward to force the abdication. This book has special significance given the media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s emails that helped her lose an election.
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What an excellent and timely book given what is happening today! A fascinating and deeply researched analysis of how the media dealt with the relationship between Edward V111 and Wallis Simpson and the abdication crisis. The battle lines were drawn between the Hearst American press, eager to print details of the scandalous affair and help put an American on the English throne and the Beaverbrook titles who were anti Stanley Baldwin the prime minister.

Edward was unable to publicise his point of view and the English press tactfully remained silent about the truth of the matter until almost the end - so unlike the media frenzy of today. 

This was a fascinating subject impeccably and forensically covered by an author who certainly knows his subject.

Highly recommended.
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