Essex Life|January 2020

Lady Anne Glenconner’s memoir is an extraordinary book which goes behind the scenes of life in the royal family to reveal astonishing anecdotes, enduring friendship and devastating loss
Rachel Buller

Lady Anne Glenconner is very excited when we speak. The day following our interview, she is due to appear on Graham Norton’s famous television red sofa alongside acting royalty and, although she has spent her life rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, she is thrilled at this rather unexpected opportunity.

As lady in waiting to Princess Margaret for three decades, and having spent her early childhood playing with both the young princess and her sister, now Queen Elizabeth II, at her family home on the Holkham estate in Norfolk, her life has been an extraordinary one.

Her book, Lady in Waiting, is no traditional royal memoir. It might be full of famous names and outrageous anecdotes, but it is in the ordinary that this book strikes a chord.

Its content will cause a stir, and it will certainly raise eyebrows, but it is in the heartache and challenges of family life, and specifically struggles with loss, addiction and mental health, that the book is at its most powerful.

Releasing the memoir as season three of The Crown airs on Netflix – in which she features and which in part prompted her to write the memoir – there is certain to be increasing interest in her life story.

‘I met a publisher before who asked whether I had thought of writing a book.

‘Then when Helena Bonham Carter came to see me to ask me about Princess Margaret – who she plays in The Crown – it made me think back on all those times and I thought, well, why not give it a try?’

There are revelations a-plenty in the book of wild parties and hedonism, of bizarre moments on royal tours and mixing with US presidents, a pet elephant and her husband’s flamboyant costumes and behaviour (he always wore scuba gear on the plane to and from Mustique just in case it crashed).


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January 2020