Cover Image: Before the Crown

Before the Crown

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I love everything regarding the Royal family due to my Dad being British so jumped at the chance to read Before The Crown. I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and Phillip's life before Elizabeth was Queen. Thanks to NetGalley for my copy of Flora Harding's novel.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this book. The author did such an outstanding job of a fictional portrayal of real life persons. She treated them with character and dignity and did not pander to gossip. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was engrossed. I was so sad when the book came to an end.
Was this review helpful?
The blurb caught my attention but after that I lost my interest and didn't read this book. MAybe next time.
Was this review helpful?
I've long been a royal follower and this look into then Princess Elizabeth's life before she married Philip was so very good! I learned quite a few things I didn't know, such as how their courtship unfolded and why her parents were against it in the beginning. 

I will definitely be reading more by this author in future.
Was this review helpful?
This was a sweet fictional look at the courtship and engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. I found the dialogue to be a fun imagining, minus the part where everyone in the book called Elizabeth Lilibet, even the characters who’d never met her - that kept pulling me out of the story as terribly unrealistic. It was a tender, slow build of a relationship that felt honoring of the legacy left behind in the months following the passing of Prince Philip.

If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly about the monarchy, then I think you’ll enjoy this book.
Was this review helpful?
This book was pretty good, and I enjoyed learning about Queen Elizabeth in her younger years while being courted by Phillip. Anyone who likes British history will like this book.
Was this review helpful?
With Prince Phillip being laid to rest a few weeks ago it this was a bitter sweet read but ever so touching. A 73 year love story indeed.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this! So good, so exciting, so gripping and great story. Can't wait to read more by this author - absolutely brilliant. Anything about royalty is a winner for me!
Was this review helpful?
When I first saw the cover of this book it took my breath away with its beautiful rendering of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) as a young woman, dressed to the nines in a formal gown and sash, viewed from behind. It carried an air of mystery, glamour, and expectation. She married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947 when she was 21 years old, so that means they've been married for over 70 years! I've watched documentaries and read biographies over the years where it's often said that "Lilibet" fell in love with Philip on first sight as a teenager, and it never wavered. This is a historical fiction novel that navigates their growing relationship from Princess Elizabeth's teenage years until their wedding day.

First of all, the dialogue rings very true with what I already know about the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. I can definitely imagine these conversations actually taking place between them. One kernel of information that sparked my interest was how as next in line to the throne, Elizabeth had to be the one to propose marriage. It's just one of many things that set Elizabeth apart from the average young lady hoping to get engaged. Elizabeth always had a steadfastness and a solid sense of duty to The Crown. She knew she had to get married one day and continue the Windsor line, but unlike some previous sovereigns, she was very much in love with her intended husband. However, with the inbred reserve learned as a future Queen, it wasn't "the thing" to blurt such things out. This standoff between them was a slow and delicious unraveling with a beautiful and emotional payoff towards the end of the book. Elizabeth's father King George did not want his Lilibet to get married so young, but she couldn't marry without his approval unless she was 25 years old. She had been in love with Philip for years and did not want to wait any longer. She also was a very dutiful and obedient daughter, but stood firm on her desire to marry Philip. King George loved his daughter so much that he hated letting her go. Their little family consisting of his beloved wife Queen Elizabeth, and their two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret were tenderly called "us four". He didn't want that happy family situation to change so soon. Also, Lilibet had never entertained any other suitors, so he wanted her to be sure. So, they went on an official trip by boat and train to tour South Africa, which lasted three months. The King and Queen hoped that their Lilibet would have time to think apart from Philip, and also hoped to enjoy one last trip as "us four". But Lilibet's devotion to Philip stood firm.

Philip was a Prince of the Royal Family in Greece, but their lives had been fractured by World War II. Philip's mother Princess Alice was deaf, had mental problems for which she spent some time in hospital, and eventually became a nun. She sold off her royal jewelry to help the needy in her care, but retained one prized royal heirloom with Philip in mind. She gave Philip her diamond tiara so he could use those jewels for Elizabeth's engagement ring.

I loved reading about Princess Elizabeth's beloved dog Susan who regularly accompanied Elizabeth and Philip when they could steal away for walks. I also was riveted reading about Elizabeth waking up on her wedding day, pinching herself, and going through the stages of dressing for the big day. I've heard this story many times, but she wore her grandmother Queen Mary's "fringe" tiara as something borrowed (Princess Beatrice recently borrowed this from The Queen to wear for her wedding). As it was being placed upon her head, it cracked in two. This was just a couple of hours before her wedding and the royal jewelers had to be summoned to repair it. Her mother suggested wearing a different tiara, but Elizabeth insisted on wearing this one for the emotional impact it would make on her grandmother.

I could go on and on, but just know that this is a very special book written with great care, since it rings so true. It brought me close to tears on several occasions, and I love when that happens. It also sent me off periodically to perform internet searches when certain news reports or iconic gowns and tiaras were mentioned. I've read a lot of books about The Windsors, but this one was very unique and touching.
Was this review helpful?
#Before the Crown by author # Flora Harding is a historical novel. But, really a love story. Set in 1943,in London Princess Elizabeth meet's Prince Philip she had met nine years before.
One of the youngest first lieutenant's in the Royal Navy. He represents everything she has been taught to avoid. Advance reviews show this novel to be very well received!!
Thank you for the advance copy,
#Netgalley, #Flora Harding, and # Harpercollins UK, One More Chapter
Was this review helpful?
"Before the crown there was a love story..." - and just like that, I wanted to read this book. 

I've been stressed recently; I mean, who hasn't been - worldwide pandemic, plus we just moved cross country to a new state for work, etc, and I was able to sink into this book like it was a fluffy bed of marshmallows, (and enjoyed some accompanying hot chocolate, to boot), This book was fully enjoyable and allowed me to escape into its pages. I absolutely adored it.

I would recommend this to anyone who A) considers themselves an Anglophile, B) anyone who watches and enjoys "The Crown", C) anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or D) all of the above, 

My thanks to Flora Harding, Harper Collins Publishers Australia - One More Chapter, and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The royal family is my favourite. Love the love story of the queen and prince Philip 

This is a good book for people who love the Royals and love the crown
Was this review helpful?
Found this to be dry and repetitive, and just didn't feel any chemistry between Elizabeth and Philip. The way Philip was portrayed also put me off, because he just seemed so mercenary in his approach and feelings, and though I suppose this could be true to life, reading official biographies and such about this royal couple gives you a different image to what is portrayed here. Just felt off to me, and didn't capture my attention at all, sadly
Was this review helpful?
Before the Crown by Flora Harding is a book made for royal enthusiasts and those who cannot wait for the next season of The Crown on Netflix. 

This is the story of how Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip met and fell in love. It's set against the backdrop of WWII and gives both the perspectives of Elizabeth and Phillip, which is a nice touch. 

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Windsor Castle,1943-A captivating historical novel of royal secrets and forbidden love.As war rages across the world, Princess Elizabeth comes face to face with the dashing naval officer she first met in London nine years before.One of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, Philip represents everything she has always been taught to avoid. Instability. Audacity. Adventure.But when the king learns of their relationship, the suitability of the foreign prince is questioned by all at court.He is the risk she has never been allowed to take. The risk not even the shadow of the crown will stop her from taking…During WWII,Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret spent much of their time at Royal Lodge in the grounds of Windsor Castle,safely away from the London bombings.From 1941-1944 they took part in Christmas pantomimes to raise funds for the Royal Household Wool Fund,which supplied knitting wool to make comforters for soldiers fighting.In 1943,the Princesses appeared in a production of Aladdin,written and produced by Mr Tanner,of the Royal School.In Feb 1945,Elizabeth was appointed as an honorary second subaltern in the ATS,and trained as a driver and mechanic.On VE Day,she and Margaret mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds.Princess Elizabeth went in 1947 on her first overseas tour,accompanying her parents through South Africa.During a tour,in a broadcast to the British Commonwealth on her 21st birthday,she made the following pledge:"I declare that my whole life,shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family."After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in July 1939,13yo Elizabeth fell in love with Philip,and they began to correspond.Their engagement was announced on 9th July 1947.The engagement wasn't without controversy;Philip had no financial standing,was foreign-born(though a British subject who served in the RN),and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Nazi links.Before the marriage,Philip gave up his Greek and Danish titles,and adopted the style Lt Mountbatten.Prior to the wedding,he was made HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.And the rest is history.
Was this review helpful?
Harding has no doubt done a bit of research to tell the fictionalized account of the life of Princess Elizabeth II and the naval officer and prince of Greece, Philip Mountbatten.  The book details the early stages of their courtship, engagement and eventual wedding.  This started off a bit slow for me, but picked up speed towards the end.
Was this review helpful?
Flora Harding tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II before she becomes queen. Harding delivers a look at Elizabeth and Philip as their relationship grows.

Harding's research is significant. I admire Harding’s ability to piece this story together. Unfortunately, the novel is slow-moving and, for me, quite dull. I didn’t think that would be possible with my fervent love of learning about the royals.

I do need to admit one of my faults. I have preconceived notions of the personalities of the royal family. So, this novel throws bricks at my mindset. When I read this book, I saw Elizabeth as a simp and Philip as an arrogant bastard. Elizabeth should be tough as nails and put up with no-nonsense. But, instead, she spends all her time trying to keep Philip happy.

The end saves the novel. I was angry throughout the book, but the ending caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting the turn, but it thrilled me. Elizabeth became the woman that I knew she could be. Her show of strength is when she wins everything she deserves.

I award Before the Crown 3 out of 5 stars. I had a hard time separating this fictional account from my personal views. Which inevitably contributed to my lack of enjoyment of the novel. However, the prose is excellent. I recommend this novel to my romance-loving friends.
Was this review helpful?
I have a confession: I am not a monarchist – at all. #voteonerepulbicforAustralia I don’t dislike the Queen and the royals, I just don’t see their point or relevance for Australia and our modern values. So, with that in mind, I have to say… Harding must be basically a genius because I LOVED this book.

You might be wondering why I wanted to read this book then. Well, another confession is that I picked it because of its gorgeous cover. I mean, seriously, that’s a great cover.

The plot is obvious. Young princess Elizabeth, heir to the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth dominion, falls for Prince Philip of Greece. Philip is a bit of a wild child with enough controversies within his family to send her dad, King George VI, into a frenzy. Despite knowing the outcome (Liz and Phil have been married for 73 years now, after all), I couldn’t stop turning the pages, so engrossed was I with this story.

I must say that Harding wrote the book in a very respectful way. In particular, I think she wrote Philip well. Over the years he’s been accused of a lot of things and said a lot of things which most consider inappropriate. Harding seemed to show this side of his character but in an empathetic way which made him a very likeable ‘character’. I did learn a lot about Philip’s early life (no, I haven’t watched more than a handful of eppies of The Crown yet either) and although it’s technically a piece of fiction, there must have still been a lot of research and fact checking involved in writing this book.

On that point, even though I was horrified that I was relishing a romance about two people who are still alive, I did like the way I could quickly google anything which came up in the novel, thus adding an extra layer of enjoyment. I couldn’t help but notice when I googled various images, Elizabeth and Philip always looked like they were smiling and laughing together in every photo. Up until now, I have never considered Elizabeth and Philip a particularly romantic pairing, despite their marriage’s longevity, but Harding even made me change my mind about this.

Doing a bit more googling, I found that Flora Harding is a pseudonym and she also writes as Jessica Hart and Pamela Harshorne. I’ll definitely be checking out some other of her titles.

All in all, if a big pro-Republic chick like me can love Before the Crown, it’s got to be a high recommendation. 4 1/2 out of 5
Was this review helpful?
Before the Crown was a fast and enjoyable read. The beginning was a little slow and didn’t capture my attention as much but by the end I couldn’t put it down. I loved how the story was told through not only Elizabeth’s POV but Philip’s as well. Without his perspective I don’t think his character development would have been as good. It was nice to see how each of them processed the relationship and I think it was a very realistic view of their relationship before Elizabeth became queen. I would have liked more of the letters they wrote to each other when they were apart, but the conversations they had when they were together were great. I loved that they were open with each other and could talk about anything. I was really pulled into their relationship towards the end once Elizabeth put her foot down and made Philip think about what he really wanted. It was at this point that I was sucked in and I loved how it ended. If you love reading about the royal family, you will enjoy this read.  

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins Australia for the gifted copy.
Was this review helpful?
I have really been enjoying historical fiction lately and this book was so good. I love reading about the Royal Family and even though this was fiction, I know that it is based on some fact.  The cover image of a young Princess Elizabeth is perfect, as it makes the reader curious about the book.  I love how the author focused on the time period between when Elizabeth met Philip and when they got married.
Was this review helpful?