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Before the Crown by Flora Harding

Updated: May 23

Before the Crown

by Flora Harding

Published by One More Chapter

Before the crown there was a love story…

Windsor Castle, 1943

As war rages across the world, Princess Elizabeth comes face to face with the dashing naval officer she first met in London nine years before.

One of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, Philip represents everything she has always been taught to avoid. Instability. Audacity. Adventure.

But when the king learns of their relationship, the suitability of the foreign prince is questioned by all at court.

He is the risk she has never been allowed to take. The risk not even the shadow of the crown will stop her from taking…

Step through the palace gates and discover a captivating historical novel of royal secrets and forbidden love exploring the tempestuous courtship between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in the wake of WWII.



I would like to thank #OneMoreChapter for providing an #ARC of #BeforeTheCrown by #FloraHarding, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Before the Crown by Flora Harding is a fictional account (based off facts gleamed from multiple sources, such as biographies and other books), on the relationship between Princess Elizabeth Windsor (Queen Elizabeth II), and Prince Philip Mountbatten, (Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) before their marriage. Before the Crown covers the period of time between 1943, and their interactions with one another during WWII, to 1947, after the war, their courtship. It ends just as Elizabeth see's Philip at the church the day of their wedding.

I don't read a whole lot of historical fiction. Especially when it is this blend of fiction and non-fiction. These are real people, and a lot of these things did happen. I ended up requesting this book, because I admit to finding the Royal Family fascinating, and in particular, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Their opposite personalities, with the added pressures of the court and state of the world after the war made their relationship a bit rocky at times, and for most of the book, I was left wondering if this is truly a romance, or a story of unrequited love, and a marriage of convenience. By the end of the book, this is quickly sorted out, but for much of the book, it didn't feel like a romance. It was an interesting read. I can't give points for originality ... it's based on real people after all ... but I do give points on the amount of research that was done. Even the personalities of these characters seemed consistent with other things I have read/watched about them.

If you enjoy historical fiction, and anything royal, you will enjoy Before the Crown by Flora Harding.


Philip: "Don't wish to be out there. It isn't safe."

Elizabeth: "You're out there."

Philip: "I'm not as precious as you."

David: "Is she a looker? It's hard to tell in photographs."

Philip: "She is when she smiles. She's got lovely skin. A nice figure. Very blue eyes."

David: "Sounds promising. I might have a crack at her myself. Cut you out."

Philip: "Ha! You wouldn't stand a chance, David."

Margaret: "I keep expecting you to nip Lilibet's neck,"

Margaret said to him at one point when they found themselves alone. She was sitting on the arm of a sofa; he was watching Elizabeth who was talking to a stout young man who doubtless had acres of grouse moor to his name.

Philip stared down at Margaret, unsure if he had heard her correctly.

Philip: "To do what?"

Margaret: "Nip her neck. You know, like a stallion."

Margaret sipped at her glass before registering his blank expression.

Margaret: "Oh, I keep forgetting you're not a horsey type. A stallion nips at a mare's neck to cut her out of the herd., That's exactly what you look like when you're standing next to Lilibet, like you've cut her out and staked your claim and are daring anyone else to have her. It's quite ... arousing."

Philip was betrayed into a laugh.

Philip: "How old are you now, Margaret?"

Margaret: "Sixteen. Almost."

Philip: "Pretty and precocious, that's a dangerous mixture. You're going to be a handful."

Margaret: "Oh, I do hope so."

Elizabeth: "But you don't have to go again. Stalking isn't for everybody."

Philip: "Oh yes I do. There is no way I'm going to tell your father I gave up after one day. I'm going to bag a deer if it kills me. I'm thinking of it as my quest,"

he adds, only half joking.

Philip: "I need to slay a deep to win my princess."

Philip: "I should see your father alone. It's the right thing to do, and he'll think even less of me if I go in hiding behind your skirts."

She bit her lip.

Elizabeth: "He can get so angry."

Philip: "Let him be angry,"

was all Philip said before he left.

Philip: "He can't eat me, no matter how much he might want to."

King George: "For her birthday, you know, Lilibet was showered with diamonds, and I felt that was only right, because that's what she is: a diamond."

Philip: "I can live without being called Your Royal Highness if it means I can marry you."

Philip: "that's what she used to call me when I was small. My little cabbage."

Elizabeth: "How sweet,"

she says, and he can tell that she is smiling.

Elizabeth: "I can definitely see you as a cabbage. A rather naughty one, I suspect."

Philip: "I was very naughty."

King George: "Murder in the Dark!"

the King announces to laugher and gaiety.

Philip: "What a good idea,"

Philip murmurs. He is standing close to her when the lights go out and she stifles gasp as he pulls her deeper into the shadows and holds her tight.

Philip: "Gotcha!"

he says softly, his mouth at her ear.

Elizabeth: "Are you the murderer?"

she whispers, dizzy at his nearness.

Philip: "I don't think so. But I've got you anyway."

Philip: "I've just been dressed down like a damned schoolboy!:

Elizabeth opens her mouth to mediate as usual, to say something soothing. Instead, something quite different comes out.

Elizabeth: "It sounds to me like you've been behaving like one."

Philip: "How can this bloody palace have seven hundred rooms and still nowhere we can be alone?"

Elizabeth: "I ... I thought ... you said we would be friends and partners, not lovers."

Philip: "I thought that was what you wanted."

Elizabeth: "Well, I could hardly tell you I had been madly in love with you since I was thirteen!"

There's a pause.

Philip: "Thirteen?"

A smile is hovering around his mouth.

Elizabeth: "We played croquet at Dartmouth. You were showing off terribly."

Philip: "Everyone else can watch a princess marry a prince - well, a mere lieutenant now - but I want to marry you, Elizabeth. Not a princess, not an heir to the throne, just you. And I'd really like it if you would marry me, Philip, boned-headed fool that I am, not Mountbattens nephew or an ex-prince of Greece or that cocky boy who showed off at Dartmouth. Just me."

Philip: "I've just overheard Field Marshal Smuts trying to charm Queen Mary. Talk about brave!"

Elizabeth: "What did he say?"

Philip puts on a creditable South African accent and strikes a pose.

Philip: "You, Your Majesty, you are the big potato,"

he quotes Smuts, pretending to shake a finger in Elizabeth's face.

Philip: "All the other queens here are just small potatoes, but you, you are the big one."

Imagining her grandmother's face at being compared to a potato, Elizabeth collapses into helpless laughter. When she looks up at him, smiling and wiping the tears of laughter from her eyes, Elizabeth surprises an arrested expression in Philip's icy blue eyes.

Elizabeth: "What?"

Philip: "I was just thinking that you're going to be the big potato yourself one day."

Elizabeth: "Even big potatoes need someone by their side,"

says Elizabeth and Philip's face relaxes into a smile.

Philip: "I'll be there, reminding you just what a wonderful potato you are."

Elizabeth: "I hope so. A potato should go well with the little cabbage that your mother calls you."

Elizabeth: "You're not losing me, Papa. I'll always be here."


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