In this magisterial new biography, New York Times best-selling author Sally Bedell Smith brings to life one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women: Queen Elizabeth II.
From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled 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 intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.
In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines - the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press - 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.
©2011 Sally Bedell Smith (P)2011 Random House Audio
“She was so young, and the task was so enormous. Yet with grace and a determination to do her duty come what may - and so much has indeed come - Elizabeth II studiously made herself part of the fabric of global civilization in the most tumultuous of times. This is a terrific book about a fascinating figure.” (Jon Meacham)
I really enjoyed this account, I wasn't looking for a tell all, just a glimpse into the monarchy that we do not usually get in the United States. The Queen is even more impressive than I could have imagined.
Biographies can be dry, but not this one! I was interested the whole time. Good narrator with great variety in her voice and the book was well researched and thorough. I learned so much about the amazing Queen Elizabeth II and now I really feel like I know the royal family. Thanks Audible for suggesting this book when the Queen turned 90!
Love historical fiction, good light reading, histories, and theological treatises.
Narrated beautifully, it is easy to catch the storyline of her life. 91 years goes by in a flash.
Well-written and beautifully read. However, a bit one-sided as it merely touches on the troubles of the Queen's children's marriages focusing mainly on Diana's negative image and not focusing on any of the other in-law members' images accolades or negatives. Princess Margaret's turmoils are barely mentioned and cease at age 21.
I have always been a royal watcher. Learning more about Queen Elizabeth just increases my admiration and respect for her and the life she has lived. "Long live Queen Elizabeth!"
This was well written and interesting to read. I enjoyed getting to know the historic influences on the monarchy and the way it has changed in just this one lifetime. This is a much better book than the one by Sarah Bradford, even though they deal with the same subject matter.
The preview recording that accompanies this book is misleading in two ways. First, and happily, the narrator for the bulk of the text is not the shaky voiced author who squeaks her way through the introduction. The pompous British narrator is easier on the ears, if effusively enthusiastic in her delivery of hours of fawning words. The second surprise is the personal observations and behind-the-scenes glimpse implied by the content of the preview are non-existent in the book proper.
The bulk if this book is an astonishingly positive, squeaky clean and obviously biased history of an historic figure, as gleaned from the official statements of the palace and scrubbed down news sources. It is a historical narrative without a hint of scandal, intimacy or insight except in so far as it agrees with the thesis that the queen is an awesome, consistent, heroic figure and as flawless as any monarch who ever lived.
Is there a contrasting view point? Who knows? This is my first biography of Queen Elizabeth II, and I certainly didn't get a hint of of controversy from any part of this unbalanced narrative.
I am a retired Court Reporter and I LOVE books. All kinds of books but my favorites are mysteries and period books. I like civil war books and some biographies.
This is a very interesting and informative book about the Queen and her early days.
Detailed, interesting, and in good historical context, this is not an unbiased biography. If it were a painting, the queen would wear white and have a giant halo. The author doesn't even try to demonstrate an impartial view of Elizabeth, Phillip, or Charles, glossing over controversies such as the royal (lack of) reaction to Diana's death and rocky times in the marriage of Phillip and Elizabeth. All that said, however, the story is still worth listening to and the narrator does a superb job. As long as you are a fan of the Windsor family, you should enjoy the listen!
This book presented the Queen not as a person, as I had hoped, but as a mythical figure, perfect in every way . I was drawn to finish it, but regret having wasted the time.
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