Elizabeth the Queen

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
by Sally Bedell Smith
2012 /  688 pages
Rating – 7

This book sounds like it would be long and boring but it’s only one of those –  long.  It’s basically a pretty quick and enjoyable read.  I don’t think there’s anything really new in this book but there’s a lot of stuff  I didn’t know.

I suspect that part of the reason for the book’s publication (solicited by the publisher) is that come next month (February) Elizabeth II will have been on the throne for 60 years.  That’s second only to Queen Victoria who still has about 3 years on Elizabeth.

Smith gives a clear and concise picture of the Queen’s life from her birth to the current day.  At my age I remember much of it  but there were parts I had no idea about – her work in WWII,  her training for the throne,  her courtship and early marriage.   That was fascinating.

But equally interesting was the daily routine of the queen – her passion for horses,  her determination to keep up and at least be “in the loop” with what seems like almost all policy decisions, domestic or foreign,  her cool but very gracious dignity,  her willingness to change with the times – if necessary.

I can’t say as I was really interested in the Diana / Fergie scandals and I suspect there was some editing of material to keep the monarchy looking good.  But I’ll bet that’s what a lot of people buy the book for –  it has to be in there and it probably has to be like that.

Overall it was a pretty good book – I’d recommend it to anyone interested.


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