Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
Sally Bedell Smith
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“An excellent, all-embracing new biography.”—The New York Times
From the moment of her ascension to the throne at age twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled admiration and scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in extraordinary detail the public and private lives of one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women. In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. And we gain insight into the Queen’s daily routines, as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life, her children and their often-disastrous marriages, her grandchildren and friends.
Scrupulously researched and compulsively readable, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of the lively, brilliant, and steadfast woman we’ve known only from a distance, and a captivating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“[An] imposing, yet nimbly written, biography [that] dwarfs the field . . . a most satisfying and enjoyable read, one to be savored at length.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
porridge was getting cold,” Fergie wrote in her memoir. “Eyes wide and mouths ajar, the adults were flipping through the Daily Mirror and the rest of the tabloids.… I had been exposed for what I truly was. Worthless. Unfit. A national disgrace.” She immediately apologized to the Queen, who was “furious” over her daughter-in-law’s stunningly poor judgment. “Her anger wounded me to the core, the more because I knew she was justified,” Fergie recalled. After three more days of chilly stares from her
privilege and being inside was a special privilege. Would tours cheapen it?” On the other hand, “She could see that it was a good thing for a more open monarchy, providing access to the royal collection, which after all belongs to the nation,” said another senior adviser. “Everyone could see the point of it, but the Queen was concerned about how to make it work without impinging on the working of the Palace and on security.” The Prince of Wales advocated the idea, but the Queen Mother, who took a
the fruit on the table was polished to a high gloss. In the middle of the Mexican visit, the Queen and Prince Philip hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for twenty world leaders attending the G-20 summit. Before the reception began they had their first meeting with the new American president, forty-seven-year-old Barack Obama, and his forty-five-year-old wife, Michelle. Although Gordon Brown had spent many summers vacationing in Provincetown on Cape Cod, his relationship with the United
to have a coalition government” that included making the Liberal Democrat leader deputy prime minister. Still, the deal for the first two-party government since World War II was subject to ratification by Clegg’s party. When Cameron met with the Queen after Brown’s resignation, “I said I couldn’t be totally sure about what sort of government I was going to form,” he recalled. “I said that I hoped to form a coalition government but I might have to come back in the morning and tell her it was
and the white-gloved peeresses put on their coronets simultaneously, “it looked wonderful to see arms and coronets hovering in the air and then the arms disappear as if by magic.” AT AN EARLY AGE, Elizabeth’s parents began arranging for her to sit for portraits. She would repeat this ritual more than 140 times throughout her life, making her the most painted monarch in history. For the royal family, portraits have long been an essential part of image making, helping to shape the way the public