The British Royal Family is Robert Jobson’s bread and butter having been a royal reporter for over 30 years and already the author of numerous books about ‘the Firm’.  He’s also been in the press pack accompanying the royals on many overseas tours including Charles and Di’s memorable 1983 tour of Australia. Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously said at the time “I don’t think we will be talking about kings of Australia forever more”; and now our current PM is again raising the idea of a Republican referendum, even though he seemed happy to enjoy the pomp and ceremony of the Coronation. 

KING CHARLES III – OUR KING : THE MAN AND THE MONARCH REVEALED covers familiar territory for royal watchers. There’s no real no surprises here, especially if you’ve read Jobson’s previous books, along with those by authors such as Penny Junor, Ingrid Seward, and Andrew Morton.

The majority of the book is taken up with the Charles stories we all know: his frosty childhood and difficult relationship with his father; his unhappy school years and the Colditz in Kilts theme; the ill-fated marriage to Diana; the saga of Camilla and ‘Operation Mrs PB’ aimed at making the most hated woman in Britain an acceptable wife and future Queen; and Charles’s often outspoken passion for many social and cultural causes, including architecture, the environment, and multi-faith dialogue. Jobson also draws on Prince Harry’s controversial memoir Spare, and the now infamous TV interviews, for some of the more recent material. Again, this is predictable fodder for royal observers. The author is clearly less than sympathetic to Harry and Meghan, just as he also questions the Diana myth. 

Given his lengthy career as a journalist, Jobson is able to distil all this into a fairly neat package. He has a relaxed, conversational writing style that makes for an easy read. Anyone with a new, or renewed, interest in Charles following his final ascent to the ‘top job’ will find this a satisfying introduction. 

It’s fair to say that Jobson views Charles through a sympathetic lens. In the final chapter, Destiny, he writes “despite his considerable wealth and resources, Charles devoted his entire life as the Prince of Wales to service and duty” and that “his contribution to the world during his working lifetime…has been remarkable”. He adds that he believes “history will be kind to King Charles lll”.

Unfortunately the book is a little marred by the many errors and typos in the text, no doubt an indication that the book was rushed into print to be on the shelves as quickly as possible between the passing of Queen Elizabeth and the Coronation of King Charles. Nevertheless, it’s a comprehensive look at the role and responsibilities of a modern monarchy and a good insight into the man now wearing the crown.

King Charles lll – Our King: The man and the monarch revealed

Robert Jobson

Allen & Unwin, $34.99


Review by Dr Diana Carroll