A witty and profound portrait of the most talked-about English royal
She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy.
Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death in 2002, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.
Such an enigmatic and divisive figure demands a reckoning that is far from the usual fare. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown’s Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.
A New York Times Bestseller
A Guardian Book of the Year
A Times Book of the Year
A Sunday Times Book of the Year
A Daily Mail Book of the Year
Best summer books 2018, Newsday
"A dishy dive into the real deal." —Vogue
"[A] supercharged biography." —Vanity Fair
“Rollicking, irresistible, un-put-downable . . . For anyone . . . who swooned to Netflix’s The Crown, this book will be manna from heaven.” —Hamish Bowles, Vogue
"Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a brilliant, eccentric treat." —Anna Mundow, The Wall Street Journal
"Brown ignores all the starchy obligations of biography and adopts a form of his own to trap the past and ensnare the reader — even this reader, so determinedly indifferent to the royals. I ripped through the book with the avidity of Margaret attacking her morning vodka and orange juice . . . The wisdom of the book, and the artistry, is in how Brown subtly expands his lens from Margaret’s misbehavior — sometimes campy, sometimes desperate — to those who gawked at her, who huddled around her, pens poised over their diaries, hoping for the show she never denied them. History isn’t written by the victors, he reminds us, it’s written by the writers, and this study becomes a scathing group portrait of a generation of carnivorous royal watchers." —Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
"Craig Brown’s delectable Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is not a novel, though its subject seems like a sublime work of fiction, too imperious to be true . . . Brown has done something astonishing: He makes the reader care, even sympathize, with perhaps the last subject worthy of such affection... His book is big fun, equal measures insightful and hysterical." —Karen Heller, The Washington Post
“In Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret, award-winning journalist Craig Brown offers an acerbic biography of the star-crossed princess, one that is hilarious and bittersweet in turns . . . Brown’s book is highly recommended for all American royal-watchers.” —Catherine Hollis, BookPage
“An original, memorable and substantial achievement.” —Times Literary Supplement
"Brown’s portrait of Margaret is by turns funny and moving, and every page contains at least one telling detail about what makes Margaret such a compelling avatar of royalty." —Constance Gracy, Vox
"In addition to giving us a fantastical portrait of a woman painted by many hands, this wicked, thoroughly entertaining book presents a rich, unwholesome slice of social and cultural history of Britain, especially from the 1950s to 1970s." —Katharine Powers, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A biography teeming with the joyous, the ghastly and clinically fascinating.” —The Times (London)
“Hilarious and eye-opening.” —The Observer (London)
“Hugely entertaining . . . Brilliantly written, with a wonderful sardonic edge but also a thoughtful, moving tone.” —The Spectator