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The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder,
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This review is from: The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder (Kindle Edition)
Long before causing constitutional crisis by abdicating to marry Wallis Simpson, Edward, then Prince of Wales, was embroiled in another scandal. This involved the young Prince being his usual indiscreet self by penning extremely personal letters to Marguerite Alibert, who later married (and was accused of murdering) her Egyptian multi-millionaire husband in the Savoy Hotel. This sorry and, rather sordid, tale was published some time ago as "Scandal at the Savoy" and is long out of print, so it is good to read this new edition, which the author assures us contains a great deal of new evidence.
Marguerite Alibert, far from being a 'Princess', was the Parisian daughter of a cab driver and a charwoman. Pregnant at sixteen, her future looked bleak, but she had a strong will and a quest for upward mobility. She reinvented herself, became a high class escort and the mistress of rich and influential men. In Paris she met, and began an affair with, the young Prince of Wales. When he cast her off for Fridie (Winifred) Dudley Ward, Marguerite's less attractive qualities emerged and she attempted to blackmail Edward with the many letters he had sent her, containing explosive and personal information and causing Special Branch to become involved. Marguerite was herself an explosive character, in an extremely hedonistic time. Her first marriage ended quickly in arguments and divorce - her second ended in murder.
When Marguerite was accused of murdering her handsome and incredibly wealthy husband, Ali Kamel Famy bey, there was an emotive and theatrical trial at the Old Bailey. It was 1923 and during the melodramatic trial, there was much public sympathy for a young woman "lured" to the East. Counsel seemed to have the most sensible take on the situation when he claimed that, "their natures seemed to be entirely unfitted to the other...", but the real problem was whether Marguerite would use her previous relationship with Edward to help her cause. This, then, is the fabulous story of those pre-war years; with playboy lovers and blackmail, much swooning and violent affairs, royalty and religion, which all played a part in a trial where a young woman stood accused of murder. It is also the story of how far the establishment would go to protect the Prince of Wales from becoming involved in such a scandal.
The author does a wonderful job of recreating that era, giving a real sense of the characters involved and the trial itself is wonderfully told. If you like historical true crime, you will really enjoy this book as Marguerite is quite character enough without adding the extra 'royal' storyline. There is also information on what happened to all the characters involved and my only (mild) criticism of this fabulous read is that the kindle version did contain illustrations, but they were very small and hard to see clearly. However, overall, a really enjoyable book and highly recommended.