Penny lifts the lid on the life of a prince

TALK Royal biographer Penny Junor outside St George's Church Portsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122134-8509)
TALK Royal biographer Penny Junor outside St George's Church Portsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122134-8509)

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CROWDS listened to a royal biographer talk about the controversial issues surrounding her new book on the fourth day of Portsmouth Festivities.

At St George’s Church, in St George’s Square, Portsea, last night Penny Junor denied the charge that her biography about Prince William is anti-Princess Diana.

The book, which focuses on the life of the Prince, explores how Prince William’s childhood was made difficult by the turbulent relationship between his parents, Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

It also talks about Diana’s battle with bulimia as well as her struggle to fit in with the royal family and accept Charles’ friendship with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Penny, 62, of Surrey, told her audience, ‘Diana needed attention 100 per cent of the time but Charles wasn’t able to give that to her.

‘He was an extremely hard-working man day and night.

‘But he too also had his own fair share of problems. His father Prince Phillip thought a son shouldn’t be emotional and sensitive but Charles was.

‘But despite all of these things William has grown up to be a remarkable man.’

Penny, who has written books about the royals for more than 30 years, responded to her criticisms – which have surfaced on the internet – as part of the nine-day festivities.

This year the event has the Dickens-inspired theme Great Expectations.

Chris Law, of Southsea, attended the evening with his wife Elaine.

Mr Law, 61, said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘Penny was frank and honest about the royal family which is refreshing.

‘She gave us a better insight into the workings of the royal family and the issues that Diana had to deal with.

‘I hadn’t heard much about her having those kinds of problems before.’

After the talk people got to purchase Penny’s new book and have it signed by her.

Last night Cornish folk band The Fisherman’s Friends performed on top of HMS Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as part of the festivities, which finish on July 1.

Wednesday, June 27

· Lunchtime Live. Featuring Oundle Festival Young Organist winner Christopher Keenan. St Thomas’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Portsmouth, 1.10pm. Admission £5, concs.

· Dickens the EastEnder. A workshop with screenwriter Sarah Phelps. Action Stations, Historic Dockyard, 10am.

· Dickens on Film: BBC Great Expectations. An opportunity to see the final episode of Great Expectations, aired at Christmas on the BBC. Action Stations, Historic Dockyard, 1.15pm.

· Dickens and Mothers-in-Law. Talk by Professor Tony Pointon, organised by the Dickens Fellowship. Royal Naval Club and Royal Albert Yacht Club, 17 Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth, 2.30pm. Admission £5, concs, booking essential.

· Hard Times: Child Poverty in the Dickens Bicentennial Year. Charles Dickens brought child poverty alive in the 1800s through his books and reading. Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group will deliver this Bill Sargent Trust Lecture. Park Building, University of Portsmouth, King Henry I Street, 6pm. Ticket only from bstrust.org.uk.

· Luck – in sport and life. An audience with Ed Smith, former professional cricketer, now a journalist and author. Royal Marines Museum, Eastney Esplanade, 7.30pm. Admission £8, concs.

· Leafing Through Childhood. Artwork and poetry produced by the art and English departments of Portsmouth Grammar School, celebrating memories of childhood. St Thomas’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Portsmouth, 7.30pm.

· Paranormal Portsmouth Perambulation. Guided walks inspired by local macabre reports from Dickens’ Household Words supplement. Definitely not for the squeamish! Meet New Theatre Royal, Guildhall Walk, 7.30pm. Admission £7, concs.

· Lament for Lorca. International flamenco company Cancion Gitana have created a new biography, a dance theatre performance of a kind rarely seen in the UK. Menuhin Theatre, Norrish Central Library, Guildhall Square, 7.45pm. Admission £16, concs.

· Cathedral Twilight: Amonn Al Mahrouq (saxophone). Music for saxophone, organ and piano. St Thomas’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Portsmouth, 9.30pm. Admission £5, concs.

· portsmouthfestivities.co.uk for more