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on 7 November 2000
I loved it. Normally I read a "Diana" book in 12 hours. This one took 4 days. I believe every word of it and can only sympathise with the state of the author's nerves at the end of his appointment. It was refreshing not to read too much gossip and I would say the author had an incredible capability in reading his employer's "agenda behind the agenda". At the same time he portrayed a fascination for Diana's "magic". I am reminded of the saying "When she was good, she was very good. When she was bad, she was very bad".
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on 22 October 2000
This book further demonstrates the Princess had many flaws but for all that she remains an enigma. The author paints her as he saw her and it is a revealing portrait from the point of view of someone who worked for her and tried to remain professional and discreet in extraordinary circumstances. He seems to have had a love/hate relationship with her. Very well written and moving at times, I'm not sure what his motive was in writing the book because he certainly doesn't give away any revelations not previously known about her private life. It seems that he knows a lot more than he is letting on in this book anyway. It's a good accompaniment to Sally Bedell Smith's book on the Princess, and gives an insight into the "behind the scenes" of the Royal machine. Well worth buying, more value that other recent books about the Princess.
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on 2 November 2000
Media reports of the reaction of the Royal Family to this book led me speculate on the revelations of Patrick Jephson. I was disappointed by the contents as Jephson made pecuilar assumptions about Diana without a shred of evidence to back his bizarre claims.Diana's affairs were glossed over and Mrs Parker Bowles scarcely mentioned. Diana was painted as a neurotic selfish personality lacking self discipline and maturity. I felt that the book was a watered hatchet job and I was surprised that the other members of the family were barely mentioned. A very Establishment type viewpoint from the author. The late Princess was no saint but I doubt that the people around her including her employees were any better. The best Jephson did was to damn his subject with faint praise.
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on 26 April 2001
I cannot understand people who criticize this book. If one reads all the other accounts about Diana... this falls right into line with her neurosis. I loved Diana, all through her career, but I am smart enough to pick up on the fact that she had to be impossible to live with, or else why would Charles leave such a devastatingly beautiful, and supposedly kind and gifted woman? The answer is in what was really going on with her mental illness. People with mental illness are impossible to live with, and Jephson masterfully shows this, as well as all sides of Diana. She was gifted, and charming, but she was also manipulative and childish. His is the most first hand, balanced account I have ever read. I found it to be fascinating reading. I know the royals don't relish the precedent set by a close advisor writing a book about his former superior.... but I believe the book to be helpful in letting us understand what the Princess was truly about. It also helps us to comprehend what people in our own lives are about. I have a relative who exhibits some of Diana's traits... and this book has helped me to understand this relative's illness more. Somehow.... for those of us who have suffered through other's neurosis.... it was comforting. We recognized what Patrick and others close to Diana went through. We can relate. Why the truth about someone who is dead, anyway, and can't be hurt... can't be shared... I don't know. If anything... it makes us sympathetic to the Royal family after all... and what they suffered from the self possessed Princess. What is all the fuss about? Patrick Jephson did a fine job of giving a truthful, balanced account of Diana. I would recommend this book to anyone who would want to understand the true personality of the Princess.
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on 28 October 2001
I loved this book. It's well-written and respectful to Diana's memory. There are no snippets of salacious gossip. Her affairs, while acknowledged, are not explored or dwellt on and although we see a different side to 'the People's Princess' ...- Jephson never fails to acknowledge the enormity of what she achieved in spite of her weaknesses and, more poignantly, how much more she COULD have achieved if she had managed to overcome them. A fascinating book, a fine achievement. It appears to me to be a clear, no-nonsense statement of the truth. And sometimes, the truth hurts.
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on 14 February 2010
As Jephson says he knew Diana as his Boss and was never attracted to her, amazing a male immune to her charismatic charms ! Consequently he tells of his experience working for Diana detailing both the good and bad points; so though scathing towards her in parts of it, complimentary to her in others making for over all a balanced viewpoint of the professional relationship they engaged in.
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on 6 October 2013
Wow! This book really shows what goes on behind the doors in the royal palaces and what is needed to keep the 'firm' on the road! I found it sad how Diana with all the support that was provided had no real true 'family' support. Where was her Mother in all of this?
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on 18 November 2001
This is an excellent account of Diana's working life. Having seen the Princess at work, I have no doubt that she was truly concerned about ordinary people. I don't doubt however, that she could be as moody as any one of us, and this book shows that and , I think makes her seem even more endearing. I certainly would reccommend this book. It is well written and a refreshing change to a lot of the saccherine prose that has been written about the Princess. The book is free of gossip and portrays a woman who was genuinely concerned with people whilst trying to battle her own impulses, do what was expected of her, and not let her public down. A wonderful achievement by Patrick Jephson.
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on 25 July 2001
Had Diana, Princess of Wales, not died, this book would still needed to have been written although it would have been a difficult subject matter. Even so, keeping in mind, living people, it cannot have been a easy book to write because of the revelations about contemporary people.
Having read many of the books about Princess Diana that were written before and following her death, I know that not many were able to be truthful about her situation. This book rings true in assessing the situation as it was for her - and, in effect, for the author as her personal secretary.
I am impressed with the style that he affected. It was literate without being pretentious. He was self-effacing while acknowledging his contribution to the smoothly run office that was his job.
I am still reading this book and am hating to get to the end - which is fast approaching.
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on 22 June 2007
This is an interesting book and is compelling because it is critical of Diana from first hand experience, which no other serious biography has been.

I think this is book is valuable if you read it alongside other books such as Ken Wharfe's and Paul Burrell's. Diana is neither a saint nor a sinner. If you read this book alongside other books which view her very favourably (like Burrell's) or somewhere in between (like Wharfe) you can get a pretty balanced view of Diana.

Really nobody is universally hated or adored in their immediate circle so this is as close as you can get.

This book is a fantastic and illuminating read but must be read as one persons opinion. Would have given it five stars but he is quite often pompous and over wordy.
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