Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kate: A Biography by Marcia Moody

It is easy to write about the Duchess of Cambridge.  She's attractive, she's well-educated, wears lovely clothes, and has a international reputation for two reason:  she is the wife of the Duke of Cambridge, second in line to the throne, and the mother of Prince George of Cambridge, third in line to the throne.  In others,  the former Catherine Middleton will be the consort of one king and the mother of another.

Marcia Moody, former royal correspondent for OK! Magazine, has written a competent, and useful biography of the Duchess of Cambridge: Kate A Biography (Michael O'Mara: £20.00 ).

It is far too early to write a comprehensive biography of the Duchess of Cambridge.  We know a lot about because she is famous.  She is famous because she is a member of the British royal family.

The Duchess is moving inexorably to a more prominent royal role. This is a good thing.  She needs to do more.  The recent trip Down Under proves once and for all that the Duchess of Cambridge is an asset to the royal family, and she needs to take on more duties.

Don't expect a major biography as Catherine  has not yet carved out a life worthy of a major biographical treatment.

 A few mistakes here and there that an editor should have caught.  Perhaps the most glaring (for me) error is on page 72, where Moody states Catherine went solo to the wedding of Peter and Autumn Phillips because William was heading to Africa as a guest at the wedding of Jessica Craig and Hugh  Crossley.  Jecca Craig broke off her engagement to Crossley.  William attended her brother, Batian's wedding.  (The mistake is also included in the Index, where Jecca is listed under Crossley.)  This is the type of fact that can be easily checked AND corrected before publication.  (Have all the editors and fact checkers died?)

Moody has accomplished what she set out to do:  write a competent resume (CV) of Catherine's life,  pad it with all the salient facts of Kate's life, and present an easily readable package.  Think of pulling out all the clips on Catherine's life and squeezing the information into one book .... with an index, which (from this librarian-cum-researcher-cum-writer's point of view) is a very good thing.  Moody's prose whets the appetite for the ever increasing interest in the Duchess of Cambridge.

This is a light-hearted read, without a hint of controversy, and one of the better books (so far) about Kate.  The standard remains Claudia Joseph's Kate Middleton: Princess in Waiting.  Writers will continue to churn out fluffyesque books about Catherine.

The Duchess of Cambridge is years away from the Sarah Bradford treatment of a true scholarly biography replete with footnotes.  That will come in time.

For now, enjoy this largely competent biography,which will appeal first and foremost to Kate's fans, none of whom are interested in controversial topics.

Trafalgar Square Publishing is distributing the paperback edition (also published by Michael O'Mara) in North America ($19.95/$21.95).  The British price is £12.99.

Kate: A Biography is also available in Kindle and has been translated into Spanish.

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