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Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten [Paperback]

Lady Pamela Hicks
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Nov 2013

Pamela Mountbatten was born at the end of the 1920s into one of Britain's grandest families. The daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and his glamorous wife Edwina Ashley, she was brought up by nannies and governesses as she was often parted from her parents as they dutifully carried out their public roles. A solitary child, she learned to occupy her days lost in a book, riding or playing with the family's animals (which included at different times a honey bear, chameleons, a bush baby, two wallabies, a lion, a mongoose and a coati mundi). Her parents' vast social circle included royalty, film stars, senior service officers, politicians and celebrities. Noel Coward invited Pamela to watch him filming; Douglas Fairbanks Jr. dropped in for tea and Churchill would call for 'a word with Dickie'.

After the war, Pamela truly came of age in India, while her parents were the Last Viceroy and Vicereine. This introduction to the country would start a life-long love affair with the people and the place.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (7 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178022284X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780222844
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 214,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Unsurprisingly, Pamela became one of the two ladies-in-waiting to accompany the Princess on her 1952 Commonwealth tour. Queen Mary told her: "You must remember that you will be "in-waiting" and so you are to call her "Princess Elizabeth" and "Ma'am" and never Lilibet. It was from that tour that Elizabeth returned as Queen, and Pamela's description of how the Princess learned of the death of her father, King George VI, is very moving. (Anne de Courcy, MAIL ON SUNDAY)

After India she writes as a participant of such well-known set-pieces as the current queen's wedding, her coronation and her first commonwealth tour. These are described with charm, geniality and a sense of humour. (David Gilmour, THE SPECTATOR)

Lady Pamela's portrait of her upbringing by two remarkable parents is affectionate and spirited. (Claudia Fitzherbert, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

There are also some touching behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Queen, to whom the writer was lady-in-waiting both before and after her coronation. She writes movingly of their tour of Kenya, when the message came that the king was dead. This devastating news had to be relayed to the new young queen, who received it with quiet dignity. (Jad Adams, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

A jolly romp (TATLER)

It's a uniquely intimate glimpse of the Queen few really know. In this captivating memoir, her cousin reveals a playful and surprisingly emotional woman (DAILY MAIL)

A memoir of an aristocratic upbringing and coming of age (YOUR FAMILY TREE)

Lady Pamela Hicks recounts her life as a Mountbatten in this colourful and entertaining memoir. The daughter of heiress Edwina Ashley and Lord Louis Mountbatten, the former Lady in Waiting to our present Queen Elizabeth can trace her roots back to the 9th century and count two saints among her ancestors. Jam-packed with familiar characters from history, this is a wonderful tale of a life less ordinary (FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE)

Book Description

A magical memoir about childhood in India by the daughter of Lord Louis and Edwina Mountbatten; a glimpse into the lives and loves of some of the 20th century's leading figures.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 29 Jan 2013
What a delightful little book. Pamela Hicks gives us a forthright account of her early years and what I especially liked was the lack of whinging. The author portrays herself as privileged to have had the life she did, as indeed she was, but as a child coping with her parents open marriage and frequent absence must have been confusing and lonely,but young Pamela looks for the positive and gets on with her life. There are some charming details which show her sensitive nature for example when she is evacuated she recalls pulling away from the house keeper's goodbye kiss.This haunts her " I imagined her back at Broadlands, upset and mystified by my rudeness. I made sure that I wrote to her with a lot of affection in my letters, telling her that I couldn't wait to see her again." Remarkable that after all these years her abiding memory of this lonely and frightening time is the guilt she felt at the upset she may have caused another.
Two small critisims it would have been informative to have had a family tree and it was too short, I wanted more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Daughter of empire 24 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quite boring in places. To much detail of ceremonies & not enough of the fantastic characteristics of the uniqueness of the personalities.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lady pamela hicks 2 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In lady pamelas' first book india remembered we were given an interesting show and feel of india and all the problems that happened at that time . in this book we see her as she was and is in england . the writing is descriptive and well informed and one found it hard to put down so the read was quick and on finishing one can only hope that there is more to come
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read 30 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Pamela Hicks (Mountbatten) writes well as if she is talking to you. I was born in India just before Independence and my parents were caught up in all that she became an observer of through accompanying her parents when they went out as Viceroy and Vicereine and her father Earl Mountbatten handed India its nationhood. Indeed my uncle actually served as special security as a chief of police for her mother Edwina. Lady Mountbatten achieved greatly in India; this complex woman who had experienced sadness and rejection in childhood became a sort of hedonistic curious socialite...but when the chips were down and War approached she morphed into an efficient hard working volunteer of great worth at a high level. She took that same energy with her to India and with a special touch changed frought situations and was greatly loved. Pamela herself throws a lovely light on HM The Queen and her cousin Prince Philip in their early married life and then she was with them at the time of the Queen's accession in Africa. She then accompanied them on the great Commonwealth tour of 1953/54. For anyone growing up in the 1950s and 1960s this book is a fascination. I well recall the complete euphoria when The Royal couple arrived home to London as we were back in the UK and the 1950s was a different world...probably a simpler one then.

Those of us who care about India however have a great ambivalence to the partition of India and the expediency of it all....Mountbatten was too easily led by a disgruntled Prime Minister Atlee wanting to be rid of India and also he allowed Jinnah so much leeway....a great shame that the secret of Jinnah's terminal illness was so well kept.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly enjoyable read 30 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not an in depth history book just a really good read. Gives an insight into their lives more than anything. Can she write another please bringing her right up to date.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 13 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a fascinating insight to a privileged life, well written and humorous too. I would like to have met this lady.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really worthwhile read. First class. 13 Dec 2012
By David
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A beautifully written account of her life. A first class read. It truly held my attention right to the end.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
As usual, I received this book for free. This time it showed up in the mail through the kind and generous grace of a GoodReads giveaway. Despite this generosity, I give my candid opinions below.

The book centers on the whirlwind years of the author's first three decades of life. In that time she finds herself in every corner of the realm and witness to many of the epic moments and best-known personages of the times. She spends the war with the Vanderbilts and is traveling with Princess Elizabeth at the moment she ascends to the status of Queen. Her childhood and adolescence make for some truly enviable moments.

On the positive side, the text is well constructed and very flowing and conversational. We're introduced to quite a bit of history and seldom-used vocabulary. It's reminiscent of having a long night of conversation with your own grandmother as Mrs. Hicks seems to speak from a position of great wisdom. Most notably, unlike many memoirs of the elite, this one carries not even a whisper of pretentiousness. Hicks shares her memorable and sometimes amusing life with us in an almost matter-of-fact manner. Related, despite some sad moments she is never complaining or seeking sympathy from the reader. Everything, no matter how good or bad is just presented as you might see it in a history book.

Sadly, it is this detachment that makes for the primary negative of this book. The author relates the events of her life with great detail and clarity but they are simply events and seem to have no impact on the author. She's like a reporter impassively reporting on the facts of the matter. Further, so much time and history is covered that it's sometimes difficult to keep track of exactly what's going on.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read of Lady Pamela Hicks life from a very young age...
I have always been fascinated by the Mountbatten family. This book is a must for anyone who is interested in history especially early 20th century with regard to this particular... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Anna Dayani
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
an fascinating account of an interesting family I can remember, a life in India and at a time of tremendous world change. One of those books you don't want to end. Excellent.
Published 8 days ago by Lesley
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and fun
This is an absolute gem of a book. It is so personally written it is as if the author is sat having a cup of tea with you and recounting tales from their life. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Duncan Sowry-House
5.0 out of 5 stars Daughter of Empire what a good title for this Lady
Enjoyed the book, very interesting to me as I lived through these times. Enjoyed when the Mountbatten family were in India
Published 3 months ago by Yorkshire Lass
5.0 out of 5 stars A View of History
I chose this rating because I couldn't wait to get to the end.
I liked this book because it had historical facts about the independence of India which I hadn't realized. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Edna P Reed
4.0 out of 5 stars How the other half lives?
An insight into Royal occasions, with many personal touches. I found it difficult to get my head round the 'open marriage' of Lady Pamela's parents.... Read more
Published 4 months ago by mrs isla boal
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book
I bought this book for my elderly mother as she is of the same generation as the author. She thoroughly enjoyed the book and could remember some of the events.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs C E Selby
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Enjoyable read, leant a great deal about what went on "below stair" and the early marriage of Prince Philip. Would like to lean more of her life.
Published 6 months ago by trevor pattenden
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This book is by Lord Mountbatten's daughter and I expected to discover lots about her parent's love life outside their marriage. I was disappointed
Published 6 months ago by rogerof goostrey
5.0 out of 5 stars A Look Behind the Scenes
I am always interested in "lives" of peoples I could not possibly know and this gives a good account of a varied existence but I agree with other reviewers that it seems to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bookworm
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