Cover Image: Before the Crown

Before the Crown

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Member Reviews

Fans of The Crown will enjoy a more detailed look at the courtship of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Beginning when she was only 13 years old (Philip is 6 years older) it was an eye opener into proper protocol for the royal family.

I’m not really what you’d call a diehard royal follower but I find them an interesting bunch - tuning in to weddings and such. While this is a work of fiction it was an entertaining read that had me feeling a wide range of emotions into the plight of these 2 individuals whose life choices needed approval for the good of the realm.

Before the Crown was a slower paced book and I enjoyed glimpsing inside Buckingham Palace, seeing another side of King George VI and his wife and even Princess Margaret. Also this book explored more of Prince Philip’s background through family and conflicts that arose.

This is the author’s debut, so hats off to writing a story where we all know the ending already. The journey to the alter was not smooth, there were obstacles to overcome, approval to be won and internal struggles to be fought. A wonderful debut that will appeal to fans of the Royal family and those that love a fairy tale ending.

My thanks to Harper Collins (Australia) for an advance digital copy (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a story of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Greece, perhaps better known as Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. It brings a time when Philip is courting Elizabeth and fighting an uphill battle of monarchy’s disapproval of him.

Windsor Castle, 1943. Seventeen-year-old Princess Elizabeth is eager to see Prince Philip. They’ve met a few years earlier in London and she’s been smitten with him ever since. Philip is a handsome lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

Elizabeth is ready for a change in her life. Philip has that rough-edged charm which is very attractive to her. She doesn’t want safe. It’s too stagnant. To Philip’s surprise, there is something about Elizabeth that he likes. His restless spirit actually enjoys her serious side and being reserved.

His cousin, David, objects to his current love interest, announcing that Philip would “rub everyone up the wrong way.”

Elizabeth is patient, dutiful, “careful not to rock the boat,” but now she is ready to act, to change her life.

I enjoyed very much those two young characters of royal bloodline, who are different, but they align on their understanding and finding balance between what is expected of them and what they wish for in life.
I loved how this book focused mostly on the events leading up to their wedding. There are so many books both fictional and non that focus on the things that went on one they were married but the unknown period for me really is the courtship and how they met. I loved reading about all that in this one! Even if this was a fictionalized version of their romance, I still felt that it was believable and realistic with an air of authenticity. Phillip was so dashing and I couldn’t help but love him even if there were elements about that relationship which were a bit depressing.

Overall I really really loved this book. I read it in only a couple of sittings and found that the closer I got to the end, the less I wanted to be done with it. It was a great book and nice little escape for me and I am looking forward to seeing what this author comes up with next.
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4,5 stars

Before the Crown is a very well written account on the iconic relationship between Elizabeth II and Prince Philip before getting married. This book, although considered fiction, provided so many interesting facts about the royal family at the time that I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning about them a bit. 
I really enjoyed it, the only issue I had was that I found it dragging a lot, it was maybe too slow-paced for my taste. But then again if I think about it, it kind of fit the whole mood. Regardless, I found it very interesting and definitely worth the read.
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Before the Crown is an engaging book of fiction detailing the acts, emotions, and desire of Princess Elizabeth, Now Queen Elizabeth, and Phillip Mountbatten, now Prince Phillip. Before the book begins the statement is made that this is a work of fiction, although there are indications that attempts have been made to verify the facts.
Whether true or not, the book presents a wonderful story of two young people, drawn together by politics as well as love, who must navigate the waters of parental approval, government approval, and public approval. It is written as if Ms. Harding were an invisible presence during some private exchanges as well as when private journals were being written and recorded. Whether or not this is true matters little when it comes to the book itself.
Because this book is about two individuals who have lived most of their lives in the public eye, the reader already knows a great deal about them. That doesn’t lessen the enjoyment of the book as both the main characters are so well drawn it’s easy to become engaged with them. The reader has the opportunity to experience what it’s like to have to make a marriage that, while hoping for love, is acceptable politically as well as in the eyes of the public. There are hurdles that must be overcome if Elizbeth and Phillip are to be successful, specifically his being Greek and having sisters who are married to high ranking Nazi officials. While he has joined the British Royal Navy, his ties to both these regimes cast considerable doubt on his suitability and acceptability as the future consort to the Queen.
There is also attention given to the gravity of being born royal and the expectations of the person who is to become queen or king. Elizabeth is shown to be serious, dedicated, and accepting of an almost insurmountable task. In contrast, her love of Phillip and decision to marry him is presented as the one thing that Elizabeth is determined to have for her own. Is he worth it? Initially, the Phillip in the book is presented as a fast-living, fun loving character who is calculating in his realization that marrying Elizabeth is his best option for a stable life of wealth and privilege. He is pushed in every aspect of this by his uncle, the first Lord Mountbatten.
Throughout the book, information is provided regarding how much of an outsider Phillip is. He visits Balmoral for the first time, appalled at the idea of wearing a kilt, horrified by the routine of morning bagpipes, and resistant to the task of stalking and shooting a deer. Recognizing he must prove himself to be part of all this to begin to obtain the acceptance of the current King and Queen of England, he manages to fulfill most of the expectations, although not with any great pleasure.
Still, he is not the choice of the King and Queen, which they make abundantly clear at every turn. When Elizabeth defies her father and pursues an engagement with Phillip, the situation is filled with tension. Although the King finally agrees, his stipulations of no announcement for six months takes some of the excitement out of the situation. Then, when they are almost to the end of the six months he decides to take a three month family tour of Africa, pushing the announcement even further back.
Because the reader already knows how the story ends, the tension that might be created from doubt is not there. However, there are still questions to be answered. “Is this ultimately a love story or of a marriage of expedience?” chief among them. For that answer, you will need to read the book.
My thanks to Harper Collins Publishers, Australia and NetGalley for providing me an advanced digital copy for review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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ARC Book Review:
Before the Crown by Flora Harding

My obsession with royal families started when the tragic death of Princess Diana happened in 1997. Little did I know back then, this princess would be my ultimate lady crush. With the wheel of time, I read more and more about the royal family of England because they are still more active than any others. As a history buff, I simply cannot turn my eyes from them.

When I see this book on NetGalley, I cannot stop myself to request it. I am sold to know even a fiction version of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. They both get attracted to each other almost when they first met but both of them were bound with reputation, duties, and whatnot. This book is so interesting to read just because to see how a woman who has come from a better position than her love interest, would tackle her heart.

Before the Crown so beautifully portrayed the relation between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip from the crushing moment to their marriage. I feel the whole plot centered on Philip more than Elizabeth but it turned out positively as it was very important for readers to know where Philip had come from and his struggle to marry and fit in into such a big institution.

I am adoring this real-life couple a lot who are married for more than 70 years but this book put a spotlight on their Foundation behind this marriage and it’s such a delight to read about this.

The writing gets me into it in a minute and portrays both of the protagonist’s strengths and weaknesses amazingly. We as commoners, get to see how ordinary and extraordinary the thinking process of the royal persons work. If you like the Crown, this would be an amazing read for you.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Pub date: December 20, 2020.

I am wholeheartedly thanking @harpercollinsaustralia, @netgalley, and #floraharding for writing such a charming novel and give me the opportunity to read its arc copy.

I cannot wait to write a full review on my blog and Goodreads because I need to talk about prince Philip, his family, the jewels, the royal wedding, and of course how awesomely and strongly princess Elizabeth has been portrayed in this book.
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I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Before the Crown by Flora Harding is a fictional story of the courtship of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It encompasses the time period from their first meeting until the day of their wedding. If you are looking for dark secrets and scandal this is not the book you want to read but I did enjoy reading the story. Events and characters in the story had me searching google to find out more about them. The author does an excellent job of recreating the time period and gives life to Princess Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and to supporting characters whose names I recognized but knew nothing about. I recommend reading this book especially for people are interested in the royal family and stories of WW2 Britain. Publishing date: September 17, 2020. #BeforeTheCrown #FloraHarding #RoyalCourtship #HistoricalFiction #HarperCollinsUK #OneMoreChapter #Bookstagram #Bookstagrammer
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Ms. Harding's novel is a touching glimpse into the real-life love story of Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, Prince Phillip. I love how read and personable she made the royal couple seem in her novel, especially in the aftermath of WW2. Just a lovely read
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This book was an interesting look into the meeting, relationship, and engagement that might have been between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. It would be best if you remembered, though, that this is historical *fiction*, and we can never honestly know what happened between them word for word. I imagine most of their relationship logistics are correct since there have been many other works devoted to the couple.

Unfortunately, unlike many others, I found this an arid and unemotional look into what might have been. I didn't expect to connect with the couple because they are so far out of my league. However, I did expect to be somewhat entertained. I was not. After a while, because of the repetitiveness, I found myself skimming the pages looking for something that piqued my curiosity.

This is a perfectly lovely read and underlines that this was a coldly political marriage that turned into something a little bit more.

*ARC supplied by the publisher and author.
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Princess Elizabeth, heir to the throne of the most successful and richest monarchy in the world. Quiet, shy, reserved sensitive, dutiful. 

Prince Philip, a Prince without a kingdom and no personal wealth. Outgoing, cheeky with a cutting wit/humour, a ladies man, a rebel. 

In many sense this match shouldn't have worked at all. Even Princess Elizabeth's parents were against it. But marry him she did and 73 years later, their marriage is still solid. 

Before the Crown tells us the behind the scenes story of how it all came about. I am not sure how much of this book is fiction but while reading it, I could easily imagine everything happening the way it is described in the book. I love how Princess Elizabeth stuck to her determination of marrying Prince Philip even when everyone else was against it but without causing any scandal. It shows her keen, intuitive sense when it came to gauging people and situations. She had loved Prince Philip ever since she first met him when she was 13 years old and was well aware that he did not reciprocate the feelings at the point but in him she saw a person who could be a loyal partner in her journey as a monarch. She did not consider this a love match but a partnership. 

Personally, I really like them as a couple. It definitely might not be a perfect marriage but even now, after 73 years, one can still see the love and respect they both have for each other.

My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Harper Collins Publishers Australia and the author Flora Harding for the e-Arc of the book. 

The book will be published on 10th December 2020.

P. S.: I absolutely love the cover picture 😍!
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This book is simply FANTASTIC.  Gorgeously written, beautiful cover, engaging story, and simply un-put-down-able.  I LOVED this and can't stop recommending it to others!  Thank you SO much for the opportunity to review this book!
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Wow, amazing, heart stopping, phenomenal novel. . This is a phenomenal story that grabs you at page one and doesn’t let you go.  It is an up all night, can’t put it down novel.
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I do enjoy watching The Crown so this novel, Before the Crown, offered a nice bit of fan fiction that takes readers through the courtship of Elizabeth and Philip, ending at the point where the popular Netflix drama begins. Prospective readers need to be aware that this is purely fiction though, there are no historical endnotes to this novel indicating otherwise, and so as long as you go into it expecting a royal fairy tale, then you won’t be disappointed. 

The novel is true to the characterisation of Elizabeth and Philip as they appear in The Crown. I am a bit of an Elizabeth fan, less so of Philip, and this novel did nothing to alter that for me. Within a life guided by duty, choosing Philip as her husband was her one act of defiance, the only time she insisted on something for herself. She quietly fought for him, against the wishes of both of her parents and the British government, and in the end, as we all know, she got her way. He really was not worthy of the efforts! At least, not at the start, and quite possibly, not at many points during their marriage, particularly in the early years. While Elizabeth was quietly nursing a very true love for him, he merely regarded his impending marriage as a goal. He does redeem himself in the end. This scene where Elizabeth is showered with gifts for her twenty-first birthday, all sorts of riches from dignitaries all around the world, offered the first step, in my eyes, towards Philip’s redemption, but I’ve always been rather sentimental about ‘the little things’.

‘Elizabeth opens the box and lifts the tissue paper to release the sweet smell of roses, lavender, and lily of the valley. Inside lie three perfect bars of soap, and she smiles as she lifts each to her nose, remembering how she had told him how much she longed for soap during the war.’

The description for this novel gives the impression of a far more romantic story than what it actually is – thank goodness! Their courtship was not like that, and I appreciated that the author maintained a level of authenticity within this representation. Without the context of The Crown to fall back on, the story may seem a little bland to readers, the characters a little one-dimensional. I did enjoy it, but it is a light read, devoid of the politics and intrigue that the television series has become known for. 

Thanks is extended to HarperCollins Publishers Australia for providing me with a copy of Before the Crown for review.
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I'm a big fan of The Crown, and this felt like a lovely companion piece to the show.  A very enjoyable read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book! The setting, the characters, the history... it had all of my catnip! It was an entertaining read.
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Thank you Harper Collins Austrailia for a copy of Before The Crown by Flora Harding.4

I really liked this book.  You don't often see things from this side of the story.  Before The Crown is the story of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip before they were married.  It shows their courtship from both points of view and I loved the way it showed the pros and cons each of them weighed.  You often hear of their marriage from the love story side but this one highlighted the business aspect that would have to go into a high profile marriage such as this one.  Phillip needed a kingdom and Elizabeth needed someone who could be second fiddle without too much fuss and I think this book highlighted those parts quite well without distracting from what we all want, these two to be really in love with each other.
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Historical fiction often addresses figures from centuries past, allowing us to imagine what life was like in King Henry VIII’s court or what would happen if a modern woman traveled back centuries into a sweeping love story. TV shows like Downton Abbey, Victoria, and The Crown capture our imaginations with their tales of British royalty and upper class.

In Before the Crown, Flora Harding tells the story of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s courtship. Since they’re both in their 90’s, it’s a refreshing take to meet a teenaged Elizabeth with a crush on Philip, an exiled Greek prince serving in the British navy. They seem like total opposites - a shy, reserved girl and a young man eagerly sowing his wild oats. But each has their own reasons for making a match.

For those two royals, their lives  - and future prospects - changed drastically while they were children. Elizabeth suddenly became the heir presumptive when her uncle abdicated and her father unexpectedly ascended to the throne. Philip was born into the line of succession for both Greece and Denmark. He and his family were exiled from Greece when he was an infant. 

Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, knew that marriage to Elizabeth would return Philip to a royal future that had been taken away when he was an infant. Mountbatten was also politically savvy enough to recognize the obstacles that lay in Philip’s path to the throne. Although Philip was a Naval hero, he held Greek and Danish citizenship, not British. Philip fought for Britain, but his much-loved sisters married and were living in Nazi Germany. He was also a young man who enjoyed drinking with his friends and spending time with beautiful women. Could he overcome these obstacles and convince King George VI he was a worthy consort for his daughter?

A royal wedding is never as simple as boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl get married. The prospective spouse is put under a microscope, and any flaws are magnified. Their family is scrutinized. Even politics are examined, since a foreigner from the wrong country could lead to disaster. The closer to the throne, the higher the expectations. Love is not a requirement for a royal coupling but is an unexpected treat if it’s part of the transaction. The fairy tale is not the priority. The expectation is that the heir to the throne marries and tolerates an adequate consort.

A challenge in historical fiction is presenting a story where the reader already knows before opening the book. Philip and Elizabeth get married, so there’s no surprise that they were going to overcome any differences or challenges they faced. Here’s where Before the Crown shines. 

The question isn’t whether a royal marriage will happen, but what kind of marriage it will be. How do they really feel about each other? Do their feelings matter? Will they talk about their relationship or just make assumptions? Harding does an excellent job getting into the heads of the couple as they each wrestle with what a marriage would mean to them. She brings her main characters alive by examining their assumptions and insecurities. At times, I wanted to scream “just talk to each other!” A book is frustrating - in the best way - when the reader is invested to that deep of a level.

Historical fiction novels and series like The Crown are popular because they offer a fly-on-the-wall view inside the cocoon of royal life. Before the Crown is an excellent addition for royal watchers.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with the British Royal Family. I loved this fictional account of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip's courtship, and what lead up to them getting married. It is a tale of her fighting through her parents disapproval of the marriage. While there is so little known about what is actually going on during the courtship of these two it is nice to see a small portion of it even  though it is imagined. I love Historical fiction and this book was written well. It was a fun little escape.
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I’m an avid fan of the television series, The Crown and reading the pre-tense of the book being an inclusive conversation with Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip as they get to know one another in the first stages, was enticing! I did enjoy the peek into their lives at the early stages of war, them becoming friends as they knew they were more than likely meant to become a married couple given family opinion, and getting an inside look to the Royal Family. However, the story was a little slow-moving for me and was difficult to keep my interest. It’s definitely a great story and one for those who love, The Crown, especially while we await the next season.
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Must-read for any fan of the Queen

This was a wonderful look at the woman who would become such a worldwide inspirational icon for so many years.  Starting at the beginning of Elizabeth's romance with Phillip, it's everything I was hoping for:  all the intimacy that shows us their ordinary, private lives, plus all the pomp and circumstance inherent in their public lives.  

It's obviously well-researched and exquisitely detailed, even though it's largely a fictional account.  It's a love story like no other, and I was thrilled to experience it through this book.  I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
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Really wonderful book! I absolutely adored the writing style and it was very fun read and I really enjoy royal based books! I’d love to read more from this author!
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