Whatever Next?: Lessons from an Unexpected Life (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
**Instant Sunday Times Bestseller**
Bracing honesty, rare insight, and more revelations: the New York Times bestselling author of Lady in Waiting shares everything she's learned from her extraordinary and unexpected life.
Now in her ninth decade and at her happiest, she's keen to share everything her unexpected life has taught her—the wise, the hilarious, the poignant, and the illuminating. As a wife, she became a master in the art of keeping the peace, knowing when to pick her battles, when she needed help—and when to take a lover. As a hostess, she acquired great practical skills in throwing marvelous parties and looking after magnificent homes, and, as a lady in waiting, became well versed in diplomacy and etiquette. It was as a mother she learnt the toughest lessons of all, and through them the value of friendship, family, and laughter to get her through the worst moments in life, as well as celebrate the best of them.
Whatever Next? is a treasury of hard-won wisdom, and richly entertaining proof that staying open to every new adventure sets an inspiring example for us all.
About the Author
Lady Anne Glenconner was born Lady Anne Coke in 1932, the eldest daughter of the 5th Earl of Leicester, and growing up in their ancestral estate at Holkham Hall in Norfolk. A Maid of Honor at the Queen's Coronation, she married Lord Glenconner in 1956. They had 5 children together of whom 3 survive. In 1958 she and her husband began to transform the island of Mustique into a paradise for the rich and famous. They granted a plot of land to Princess Margaret who built her favorite home there. She was appointed Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret in 1971 and kept this role - accompanying her on many state occasions and foreign tours - until her death in 2002. Lord Glenconner died in 2010, leaving everything in his will to his former employee. Lady Glenconner now lives in a farmhouse near Kings Lynn in Norfolk.
Lady Glenconner’s memoir, Lady in Waiting, was a New York Times bestseller and spent over thirty weeks in the Sunday Times top ten. She has also written two acclaimed novels, Murder on Mustique and Haunting at Holkam.
"Both Lady in Waiting and follow-up volume Whatever Next?...are funnier and sadder than might be expected. While never losing sight of the advantages of being born into an élite family, Glenconner offers a poignant perspective on the constraining limits on aristocratic women of her generation, whose formal educations were minimal and whose life expectations revolved around marrying well, managing a large household, and providing a male heir."—The New Yorker
"Whatever Next...is more personal and paints a more vivid picture of [the royals'] claustrophobic world....Glenconner has dealt, over her nine decades, with a difficult marriage, the death of two sons, all the limits placed on a lady of her generation — and seems to have done so with great charm....It’s a memoir of another time, when England was smaller and the empire larger, and aristocrats truly were the untouchable celebrities."—The New York Times
"Charming."—The Daily Beast
"A...nuanced re-visitation of [Lady Anne's] life as she shares how she applied the diplomatic qualities instilled in her by her mother: always do your best, put others first, concede the limelight, and consider your own needs last. Fans will be happy to know that Lady Anne is delighted with her current roles as
best-selling author, gay icon, mother, and grandmother. Readers will also be happy to follow
along and see where she goes next."—Booklist (starred review)
"In Whatever Next, [Lady Anne] leans into her newfound status as agony aunt and offers up a deeper cut of the wisdom she’s gained through adversity. Happily, she’s still the witty, kind, forgiving, and often hilarious queen of the candid comment in this delightful follow-up."—Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor
"This second volume of memoirs is as fascinating at the first...The book is full of wit, joy, vivid vignettes, and useful insights on topics such as parenting, adventures, and being a good guest. Readers keen on startling detail about aristocratic life will find plenty here."—The Sunday Times (UK)
"A jolly anecdote for every day of the year and excellent advice."—The Times (UK)
“As she enters her tenth decade, her spirits unflagging, her memory undimmed, and her patrician beauty unchanged, Anne Glenconner has clearly discovered the fountain of truth….She has…delved truthfully into that past…. The subtlety of Whatever Next? is the matter-of-fact way in which Glenconner tells her story. Totally free from self-pity…she writes with an absolute, almost childlike truth…With typical elegance, she blames no one for her innocence—least of all, fittingly, herself.”—The Oldie
"Electrifying."—The Daily Mail
"It's rather like having lunch with her. Charm itself....Part of her success comes from the old-world solidity and decorousness she embodies: her utter lack of introspection or guff....Anne's love for Princess Margaret is infectious."—Spectator
"Glorious and highly readable...packed full of new stories.....Glenconner’s generation is full of extraordinary, untold tales...She does them a service in telling her story, reminding us that with privilege comes not just responsibility, but often secret suffering."—iNews
Praise for Lady in Waiting
"Anne Glenconner's life story is a combination of royal magic, personal tragedy and resilient survival. With humor, courage, and preternatural poise, Anne Glenconner triumphed over all of it and at last tells the story of her uniquely fascinating life."
"Exceptional."—Andre Leon Talley
"A remarkable memoir--containing, at last, a genuine portrait of Princess Margaret from one who knew her well. But this book is poignant too, and through the pages shine [Anne's] courage and good-humored acceptance of her demons and tragedies."—Hugo Vickers
"A smart, dishy, and truly touching autobiography."—Town & Country
"Stalwart and disarmingly honest....Emotion resonates through this delightful memoir...candid, humorous."—The Wall Street Journal
"I couldn't put it down. Funny and touching - like looking through a keyhole at a lost world."—Rupert Everett
"Riveting...[Anne's] stiff upper lip never quivers."—Oprah Magazine
"Discretion and honor emerge as the hallmarks of Glenconner's career as a royal servant, culminating in this book which manages to be both candid and kind."—The Guardian
"As her memoir makes clear, her capacity 'to get on with life and not dwell,' even in the most extreme circumstances, is heroic. There is, nevertheless, a vein of quiet anger. The book is a retaliation as much as a reminiscence. It is also a finely drawn double portrait. Margaret is in the foreground, spotlit, while behind her Glenconner's life plays out with such self-effacing matter-of-factness that it takes time for the reader to realise that of these two intertwined biographies Glenconner's is by far the more remarkable....Glenconner has an eye for detail, and if her picture of Princess Margaret dwells on the positives, it makes no attempt to conceal the difficulties....Lady Anne brings out a touchingly naive side of Margaret's character, visible only to an insider familiar with the realities of royal life....Her book is partly a meditation on how much or how little she could have done differently. Although regret isn't in her emotional register, there is an unmistakable sadness when she remembers certain things, especially about her children, and her 'heart sinks.'"—London Review of Books