Royal Authors: William Kuhn

Prince Harry BoyAuthor William Kuhn gives us a sneak-peek at his new novel, Prince Harry: Boy to Man. The book focuses on Harry’s raucous adventures and his personal growth while in the military.

The year is 2007, Harry’s twenty-three and he has problems he can’t handle alone. The army considers him a risk. The media thinks he’s a brat. Girls like him because he’s a prince. He just wants to be normal. He hopes his approaching deployment to Afghanistan will help him prove himself. Instead it proves a comic coming of age he definitely didn’t see coming.

Kuhn’s writing is witty with a warmly personal aspect, making the reader feel as though they are there sharing the characters’ experiences and excitement. Below is an excerpt from Prince Harry: Boy to Man. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this book!

Frances de Mornay sat alone in her one-room cottage. Her small roller bag was packed. She wasn’t taking very much. A change of clothes. A fleece for cold weather. A pair of plimsolls. She already had a headscarf tied over her white hair. She sat by the window looking out on the street, waiting for the coach from the church. She wanted a drink. There was a travel-sized bottle of whisky in the top pouch of her bag, but she wasn’t giving into that. No she wasn’t. Not yet. It was five o’clock in the morning. Good Lord save me from that, she said to herself silently. She could have said it aloud if she wanted. She was the only one there. As with the whisky, she’d tried to limit the time she spent talking aloud to herself, even though it made her feel less alone.

It was the whisky that’d got her there in the first place. She’d decided to move to a village on the west coast of Scotland, not too far from the railway at Oban. It was less expensive there. She had enough money at first for a small house with a garden. People left her alone. The Scots were like that, bless them. They didn’t care who you were, or once had been. They gave you your privacy. Then she’d probably had a bit too much privacy. She was just an old lady who’d been unlucky in love. Was that so bad? Who could blame her for taking some comfort from drink? That was the problem, though. Nobody blamed her, because she spoke to no one. The privacy was endless.

She had an accident in her car. No one was hurt, but it was expensive. The court appearance was costly too. The judge’s taking away her driving license was a nuisance. She lost track of her money. There were lottery tickets and occasional visits to the betting shop. She liked the horse races, it had to be said. Then there had been the ludicrous agreement she’d signed with her husband. What did she know? She’d only been eighteen when she married him. When he left her, she barely had enough to cover the rental of a flat in Kings Lynn. And no training. Women of her generation didn’t. They weren’t expected to work. If a friend of her mother’s hadn’t swept her up and arranged for a place in the Wales’s household where would she have been? That was absurd too. She didn’t know how to be a nanny. She was already in her forties when she started. She had no children of her own. Her only experience was to have lived, while still married, in a house that had an Olympic-sized swimming pool. It had attracted every child in the neighborhood. She had been a field marshal of several regiments of under-twelves in their swimming costumes.

Still, she’d rubbed along. She’d managed. She’d made mistakes. And she’d looked after those boys. She’d grown to love them. That was why it had been such a cruel joke when she’d been given the sack. The excuse was the drink. Their mother had made sure to let that out to her friends in the papers, but Frances put it down to jealousy. She’d seen how much the boys loved her. There was no appeal of course. Frances had gone to Scotland afterwards to control expenses, to hide, and perhaps, just a little, to hang her head in shame.

Before she knew it, some people from the local church were picking her up off the floor and helping her sell the house. She’d moved into this tiny accommodation that was all she could afford now. They’d been so kind to her about everything. They’d helped. She was so grateful. They’d even allowed her to get involved at the church, to help in local cases of need, not unlike her own.

That was the first thing in a long time that was more powerful than drink. She felt down near the bottom. Helping someone else who was down there too made her feel good. It was a deep sense of well-being, deeper than the anesthetic of the whisky. It didn’t take much. Delivering a hot meal at lunchtime to a shut-in. Going to wipe up the sick off an old man’s jumper who’d been too drunk to get out of his wheelchair. Cleaning out the loo of a local girl who had five children and all of them down with the flu. That was how she could help. Down on her knees in the loo. Yes, Lord. Down on my knees swilling out the bowl. That’s my prayer and that’s my thanksgiving. She was pretty sure she had helped, and the girl with the sick children had helped her, too.

They’d let her become a regular part of the church team, seven days a week. It was the one thing that was now hopeful about her life. They’d grown to trust her. She was now sixty-eight, but she still had good bones, good teeth, good hair. Her being in the papers had been forgotten about, or the people who worked at the church pretended not to know. The priest knew, but he hadn’t told anyone. He could see how much good the helping was doing her. He’d asked her to join an interfaith church group that was to travel part way with a Scottish regiment that was going to Afghanistan. Fly to London with them. Take them coffee or Cokes. Give them some small bags with treats they wouldn’t be able to get out there. Listen to the ones that were scared. Squeeze their hands if they wanted that. They were only going as far as Heathrow. Give them all a kiss and a hug and a warm send-off, and then back to Scotland. That was the plan. Church van to Glasgow Airport. Fly to London Airport. Overnight in a church hall somewhere near Staines. Then fly back to Glasgow late the next evening with another Scottish regiment just returning from Kabul. It was only forty-eight hours, but it would keep her busy, keep her occupied.

“Stop it now!” This she did say aloud to herself. She abhorred self-pity. Self-pity was what led her to the bottle. She had to choke it off before it went that far. At that moment she saw a pair of headlights on the dark street. A battered van drew up in front of her door. She went to go and move her roller bag toward the door. There was a double knock. Then a heavy-set woman with white hair like hers, wearing an anorak, and a pair of oily Nikes put her head inside the door.

“All right, Francie?”

Frances hated being called “Francie.” She also hated when people opened her front door before she could open it for them. It went with the territory, she knew. She was regarded as one of the parish’s more hopeless cases. They all expected to find her sprawled drunkenly in the middle of the floor when she didn’t turn up somewhere she was supposed to be. Allowing them the freedom to come through the door when they wanted was one of the prices she’d had to pay for their having looked after her as kindly and patiently as they had. With an effort she swallowed back the resentment that swelled up from her loss of dignity and independence.

“Good morning! Yes, I’m fine thank you.”

“Did you get any sleep last night? I was all keyed up. About London, you know? Didn’t sleep a wink.”

Frances switched off the lights and rolled the bag out on to the doorstep. “I slept like a log.”

“Well, you see. I’ve never been before. To London, I mean.”

The unworldliness of the others who worked in the church’s charity group always surprised her. “Well, the airport is hardly London. And Staines is the suburbs. Pretty grim. It’s not London either.”

“Oh Francie! You’ve been to all parts, haven’t you? Won’t you sit next to me on the coach and tell me about it? How it really is.”

Frances didn’t like the woman, particularly. Sitting next to her for any length of time she regarded as a punishment not far removed from what Our Lord suffered on the cross. She’d had comfort from her conversion, but Frances’s view of religion was not without criticism or irony. She reminded herself to be grateful. “Of course I will. What fun.”

The driver took her bag and stowed it in a compartment in the van’s undercarriage. “Mornin’ Francie!” He winked at her.

“Good morning, Frank!” Now Frances did like him. His wink made her feel as if she were about thirty-five again. She mugged for him. She went up on one toe and held her waist like a showgirl. “You rogue. I want you to keep your eyes on the road the whole way to Glasgow Airport.”

He gave her an exaggerated salute. “Ma’am!”

“That’s it. That’s the right stuff,” she muttered, audible to him, as she climbed the steps into the van. She said hello to the eight or nine others, all of whom she knew. They had all seen her at her worst. There was no pretending with any of them. She said “Good morning, good morning,” to all of them, though it was still dark out and no sign of morning or goodness, but their warmth to one another. Several of the women who’d been kind to her reached out their hands to her. She held their hands briefly, one by one, with a look in the eye to each. She came to an empty pair of seats near the back. She slid in and down on to the velour seat, her sciatica giving her a twinge in the lower back as she did so. She winced.

“All right, darling?” The woman who’d come to her front door slid in next to her. She saw the wince.

“I’m all right. Nothing but a few old lady aches and pains.”

“I’ve got a pill for that.”

“No thank you. I’ll be all right.”

“Tell me about London then.”

The van pulled away from Frances’s cottage. They had at least a couple of hours’ journey to Glasgow Airport, where they’d join forces with aid workers from some other churches. Their first duty was passing out sandwiches to the soldiers whom they’d meet in a staging area adjacent to the airport.

“Oh, it’s a long time since I’ve lived there,” said Frances.

“There are millions of people. In London, I mean. Millions. I wonder what it looks like in the dark. All aglow. In the night sky.”

Frances reflected on the sinister anti-crime lights of dozens and dozens of sulphur-colored street lamps. She thought of the reassuring rattle of taxis with their glowing “For Hire” signs. She thought of the candlelit dining rooms where once upon a time she’d been welcome. “Yes. It can be pretty. Isn’t always.”

“You have family there?” The woman had been worried by Frances’s having no evident family in the village. She was an incomer and no family ever visited her, at least so far as the woman knew, they hadn’t. Frances had an English voice. She sounded like the BBC from during the war, or maybe even before that. Before she fell on hard times, she must have had money too.

“Not exactly.”

The other woman laughed gently. “Families can be like that, now. You had children?”

“No,” Frances said cautiously. She had a low profile. She wanted to keep it that way. On the other hand, there was a certain confessional ease that came from simply telling the truth. Something about the dark, and the woman’s kind, uncritical interest in her made her more willing to speak than usual.

“I looked after two little boys. For a little while. As their minder. That’s the closest I ever came. Don’t see them anymore, though. I fell out with their parents.”

The woman left a tactful pause before she put in, “You must miss them, though.”

“Yes, I did. For a while. No, that’s wrong. I do. I still do.”

Then she reached over to the woman sitting next to her. Frances slipped her hand into the crook of the woman’s arm. No, she wasn’t her favorite woman in the church group, but she had a beating heart. Of that there could be no doubt. “And I’m so pleased you wanted to sit next to me. To keep me company. Thank you.”

William Kuhn is a novelist, biographer, historian, and a self-described scribbler and dabbler. His first novel, Mrs. Queen Takes The Train, became a national bestseller. Kuhn has also written non-fiction on America’s royalty, Jackie Kennedy Onassis in Reading Jackie. His other works include Henry and Mary Ponsonby, and on Benjamin Disraeli in The Politics of Pleasure

Prince Harry Turns 30! What’s Next for the Prince?

Prince Harry Turns 30! What’s Next for the Prince?

English: Prince Harry at a 2009 charity match ...

Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales. Born September 15th, 1984. He is the second son of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HRH Prince Harry was born third in line to the throne after his father Prince Charles and elder brother Prince William. At the number three spot, Harry didn’t always have as much pressure as William, but he is still a highly visible member of the Royal Family as a son of the Prince of Wales.

Cut to 2013. Harry said goodbye to his longtime position when William’s son George was born. Now with the impending arrival of a second baby for William and his wife Kate, Harry will move down to fifth in line. So what does one do?

I’ll tell you one thing: when it comes to making a name for himself, the ginger-haired Harry hasn’t disappointed. He has carved out a royally respectable role for himself over the years, and no matter what place he falls in the line of succession, Harry will be a beloved figure to all.

It all began after Harry’s graduation from historic Eton College, when he took the traditional gap year. He went to Australia, Argentina and Africa, where he made a documentary about the plight of orphans in Lesotho. Harry was deeply moved by the lives of children whose families were devastated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It was a cause that his mother had championed, and Harry took up the reins in her memory.

It was in the tiny landlocked African country that Sentebale was born in 2006. Together with royal colleague Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, Harry created this organization to help the local children get an education, access to recreational activities and other community projects to enrich their lives.

Continue Reading…

Scotland’s New Journey and Prince Harry’s Invictus Victory

Scotland the Grave-ly serious about leaving the Union; HRH Prince Harry of Wales has organized the Invictus Games to help wounded and disabled soldiers; the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with her second child, and I comment on the royal newbie on live television.


Do you like the show? Leave feedback for me on Twitter and Facebook! Many thanks for all of your comments and opinions. The number to call is: (646) 787-8179

Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with RoyaltyNow News on BlogTalkRadio

The Cambridges: Full-Time Royals Or Not?

English: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, on...

English: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, on his first royal tour after his marriage, visiting Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cambridges: Full-Time Royals Or Not?

On last week’s RoyaltyNow! radio show, I discussed whether or not the Duke of Cambridge could fulfill two roles at once. Can he be both an Air Ambulance pilot AND Prince? He seems to think so.

According to CNN’s Max Foster, the Palace says that Prince William’s job with the air ambulance will be his “primary occupation” but he will also take time to perform royal duties and charitable work. That’s quite a schedule! Prince Harry is a soldier as well as a royal, so Prince William should be able to manage pilot duties in between royal duties. Right?

Let’s take a look.

Prince Harry has been pegged as an insouciant wild child, but there’s no denying his work ethic. He has been overseas in the military serving Queen and country in horrible conditions. His patronages include helping people in need, whether it’s after a natural disaster or the children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Lesotho, Africa.

Although he has a full-time career in the military as an Apache helicopter pilot, Harry still acts in his capacity as a prince representing the Queen. He carries out engagements and travels overseas as part of his royal duties.

This should all bode well for William. Some people say that by joining the air ambulance service, William is expanding the royal role. That the prince is helping people in need, much like Harry, and that he should be able to have this career without criticism.

Not only will he be helping people in need, the prince is giving his salary to charity. Good thing, since this civilian air ambulance he’ll be flying is run by a charity and probably needs the funds to keep running effectively.

It just seems so weird to me. I can’t shake it. Harry’s life makes so much more sense. I’m sorry, but I am just confused by the Cambridges.

First the Cambridges renovate Kensington Palace to the tune of millions of pounds, now they’re not even going to be there. Or if they are, it’s only for a brief stopover to perform a royal duty or two while in London. Most of the time they will be at their country home, Anmer Hall, for William’s new job. So why all the dollars thrown at Kensington Palace right now? It seems so unnecessary at the moment.

Then the job itself. It’s not an ordinary pilot job, it’s an emergency service. Whereas Harry’s schedule is EITHER in the military OR acting as a royal, William’s new job sounds like he will be called upon in – you guessed it – an emergency.

For example, the Cambridges are in London for a Tusk Trust gala. Will the prince zoom back to pilot an air ambulance for an emergency? If he has made it clear that that particular day is for royal duties, who fills in? Does the service have to hire a whole new person to cover for William, or is someone going to pull a double shift? Either way, it sounds costly and/or inconvenient for the air ambulance. It’s an odd set-up, to say the least.

The Age Gap

Then there’s the age gap. I love Charles and Camilla, but they are at the age where most people think about retiring (or already have done). That’s not to say that they can’t do their jobs. I realized a long time ago that British royals don’t do retirement, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh being prime examples. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number to them, but at some point, both couples will need younger back-ups for those long-haul tours and extensive engagements. As much as we want them to be superhuman, that’s just not the case.

Those closest to the throne will need to step it up. That’s Prince William, Duchess Kate, and Prince Harry.

Yes, there are other members of the family to help the Queen, but William is second in line. His lack of understanding of an institution that is based on precedence is worrying. It’s willful, and that’s distressing.

Stay tuned for more.

Popular Prince Harry Hits The States

Prince HarryOur Hazza has touched down in D.C. for his week-long tour. Cue the sighing women holding signs proposing marriage wherever Harry goes! It’s time to play Popular Prince Harry Hits The States!

Lucky First Lady Michelle Obama greeted Britain’s most eligible bachelor as arrived in the States. Attending a reception held in honor of military mothers and their children, Prince Harry surprised the assembled guests with his presence. He also visited an exhibition by The Halo Trust, a landmine charity supported by his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Harry will visit Arlington National Cemetery tomorrow, and then move on to survey Hurricane Sandy damage in New Jersey. Harry’s visit will continue in New York, where he will further promote charities supporting injured servicemen. He will also be a spokesman for British interests and promote his own charities, such as Sentebale.

One thing is for sure: Harry won’t be visiting Las Vegas with friends this time around. It’s all business on this trip. He learned the hard way that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas. Especially when you happen to be royalty!

Prince Harry Is Home

English: Prince Harry at a 2009 charity match ...

English: Prince Harry at a 2009 charity match at , London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prince Harry is home, much to Prince Charles’s delight.

The prince is returning from a five-month tour of duty in rugged Afghanistan. He served with the Army Air Corps as an Apache helicopter pilot, but not without controversy.

Harry made headlines recently when it was claimed he killed Afghan fighters left and right in a drunken daze.

An Afghan warlord made the claims to the Daily Telegraph that Prince Harry gleefully killed innocent Afghans while drunk. Britain’s Ministry of Defense was none too pleased, and their spokesman stated in no uncertain terms that the claims were “simply absurd”.

In an interview, Harry replied somberly to the media that he had to “[t]ake a life to save a life. That’s what we revolve around, I suppose. If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game.”

And it seems that Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles, was more comfortable in the cockpit than residing at Camp Bastion. He said that everyone had “a good old gawp”, staring at him and viewing him as a prince rather than seeing him as his preferred position – Captain Wales.

Harry revealed that he does try to balance the different aspects of his life — “one in the army, one socially in my own private time, and then one with the family and stuff like that. So there is a switch and I flick it when necessary.”

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