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And I thought Prince Charles was boring

A child of the 1980s, I grew up admiring the beauty of Princess Diana. I wasn’t a fan per se, but I admired her ease and fashion sense. (I was a child, afterall.)

But, frankly I never fully understood her relationship with Prince Charles. He presented himself as closed, stuffy and aristocratic, which was such a stark contrast to her down-to-earth demeanor and beauty.

So, when I grabbed “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life” by Sally Bedell Smith, it was fun to dive into what makes the king-to-be tick.

His childhood was in many regards idyllic, but tradition and decorum created distance in family relationships that would have served Charles emotionally had they been more tightly knit.

He was the first prince to attend and complete university and carried on the family tradition of serving in the military. He is an avid gardener, sportsman and watercolor painter.

His love of Shakespeare, traditional architecture and classical music are well noted. But he also dabbled in mystic religion, having his dreams interpreted for years and straying from the buttoned-up, Church-of-England traditions in which he was reared.

But from his busy and over-scheduled life emerged a prince who struggled with having peers his own age (but had many girlfriends including Camilla Parker Bowles) while also seeking to find a suitable virginal English wife with whom to produce heirs.

Enter Diana. And that is where the story gets complicated, confusing and emotional. It’s a good read.