Wednesday, August 17, 2011

William & Kate Celebrating a Royal Engagement by Robin Nunn

Robin Nunn's career as a royal photographer took off with the ascent of Lady Diana Spencer, the future wife of the Prince of Wales --- and mother of Prince William.   Now Nunn, who runs a photo agency, turns to Prince William and Catherine Middleton with the publication of William & Kate Celebrating a Royal Engagement.

This book was published shortly after the engagement was announced, and  provides a synoptic biography of Prince William of Wales  from his birth through childhood and the death of his mother to the university years and his military career ... and the entrance of Catherine Middleton into William's life.

Nunn's photos shine throughout the book.   Many of these photographs have not been seen before including some rather stylish ones of Kate.

One of the angles that Nunn has latched upon is the commoner-royal marriage.  He includes a chapter on the marriages of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark,  the Prince of the Asturias, the Prince of Orange, the Duke of Brabant and the Crown Princess of Sweden, all of whom married commoners.  The Duke of Brabant's wife, Mathilde, comes from a noble family, but she had no title of her own.  Her father was elevated to the title of Count when Mathilde married Philippe.

But Catherine is not the first commoner to marry into the royal family.  William's mother had a courtesy titlle due to her father being a peer of the realm,  but legally, the late Lady Diana Spencer was a commoner.   The Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex married  commoners.  So did the Duke of Gloucester.   The Duchess of Kent is the daughter of a baronet, but she was a mere Miss when she married. 

Camilla Parker Bowles is also a commoner although she descends from the aristocracy and Charles II.

This is a  nice book to look through, but do not expect a work of scholarship.  When Prince William's engagement was announced,  writers and photographers went into overdrive to produce commemorative books. 

 I have to say that the publisher did a very nice job combing the text (Nunn was partnered by Jonathan Hayden) with very fine photography.

William & Kate:  Celebrating a Royal Engagement (Pavilion: £14.00/$24.95). 144 pages.

If you are looking to decide on which William and Kate books to keep in your library, please note this one is a keeper. Superb photographs, and the Nunn and Hayden largely avoid purple prose.

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