cover image Diana, William, and Harry

Diana, William, and Harry

James Patterson and Chris Mooney. Little, Brown, $30 (448p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5422-1

Patterson (James Patterson by James Patterson) and thriller author Mooney (Remembering Sarah) mix biography and imagined dialogue in this intimate portrait of Princess Diana and her sons, William and Harry. Opening with the 1978 wedding of Diana’s sister to Queen Elizabeth’s assistant private secretary, the authors use cinematic vignettes to recount how Prince Charles, age 32, was coerced by his father to marry 20-year-old Diana Spencer, who quickly gave birth to two sons: “the heir and the spare.” William, the eldest, she nicknamed “Drop Dead Gorgeous”; his younger brother was called “Good King” Harry. After uncovering evidence of Charles’s ongoing relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, Diana turned her energy to AIDS awareness, antifur activism, and other causes, as well as to a string of suitors. William is portrayed by the authors as somewhat of a bully in his formative years, though loving and protective of his younger brother, while Harry is described as more like his mother, shy and disinterested in academics as a boy but passionate about the military. Full of intriguing anecdotes (Diana insisting on ironing her bodyguards’ shirts; Charles and Camilla “locked in intimate conversation” at a party) and sharp character observations, this is an entertaining and persuasive study of the royal family. (Aug.)