Flora Harding tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II before she becomes queen. Harding delivers a look at Elizabeth and Philip as their relationship grows.

  • Title: Before the Crown
  • Author: Flora Harding
  • Publisher: One More Chapter on December 10, 2020
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Pages: 400
  • Available Formats: Paperback, Audio, and Kindle editions
  • Rating: 3/5

Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter/Harper Collins for providing a copy of Before the Crown in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warnings: Descriptions of War, Alcohol Use

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Before the Crown Blurb

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. 


My Review

Harding’s research is significant. I admire her ability to piece this story together. Unfortunately, the novel is slow-moving and, for me, quite dull. I didn’t think that would be possible with my fervent love of learning about the royals.

I do need to admit one of my faults. I have preconceived notions of the personalities of the royal family. So, this novel throws bricks at my mindset. When I read this book, I saw Elizabeth as a simp and Philip as an arrogant bastard. Elizabeth should be tough as nails and put up with no-nonsense. But, instead, she spends all her time trying to keep Philip happy.

The end saves the novel. I was angry throughout the book, but the ending caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting the turn, but it thrilled me. Elizabeth became the woman that I knew she could be. Her show of strength is when she wins everything she deserves.

I award Before the Crown 3 out of 5 stars. I had a hard time separating this fictional account from my personal views. Which inevitably contributed to my lack of enjoyment of the novel. However, the prose is excellent. I recommend this novel to my romance-loving friends.

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  1. Great review! I saw this on NG too but didn’t request for it because I didn’t know if I could separate fact from fiction. This along with The Crown on Netflix would have been too much for my mind to bear.

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