Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch

An Audible Original
Length: 3 hrs and 47 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.5 out of 5 stars (13,640 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Respected royal broadcaster Jennie Bond narrates the life story of Queen Elizabeth II, and takes listeners inside the private life of one of the most public figures in modern history. Learn intimate details of Elizabeth's childhood, her courtship and marriage, and the tragic moments following the death of Princess Diana.

Born a minor royal in 1926, Elizabeth is now the longest-reigning British monarch and also the most recognizable woman in the world. Admired by many, she has reigned through a period of unprecedented change, keeping the monarchy strong and consistent through the end of the empire, public scandals, and private loss. This riveting history uses actors and eyewitness observations to bring to life the story of this most remarkable woman.

©2016 Ruth Cowen (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Our favorite moments from Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch

Winston Churchill was impressed with infant Elizabeth.
Lilibet had a quick temper and a decent right hook.
The penniless prince’s wardrobe was scant…
Diana, Princess of Wales has been badly injured...
No one has ever explained the cultural phenomenon that overtook the country.

  • Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
  • Winston Churchill was impressed with infant Elizabeth.
  • Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
  • Lilibet had a quick temper and a decent right hook.
  • Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
  • The penniless prince’s wardrobe was scant…
  • Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
  • Diana, Princess of Wales has been badly injured...
  • Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
  • No one has ever explained the cultural phenomenon that overtook the country.

About the Creator

Ruth Cowen is an author, journalist, editor, and broadcaster. Her first book, Relish, about the Victorian chef Alexis Soyer, won numerous awards and was made into a sell-out play by the National Youth Theatre. A Nurse At the Front, about the great war heroine Edith Appleton, was the inspiration for the British drama series The Crimson Field. She has written many programs for BBC Radio 4 and commentated on a wide range of TV and radio shows.

About the Performer

Jennie Bond is a respected royal broadcaster and former BBC correspondent who became world famous for reporting and commentating on the Queen through many eventful years, including the Windsor Castle fire, the divorce of Prince Charles and Diana, and Diana’s subsequent death in 1997.

What members say
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Story
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly Enjoyable From Start To Finish

Whether you are a Royalist or not you will enjoy this 'easy to listen to' and ' non stuffy' account of Elizabeth II's life. What an interesting accounting of a life including her many strengths, weaknesses, her foibles, her dreams and her eccentricities. Learning about how her personality changed through nine decades and all the many national and international influences on her life.

One would think that she is very two dimensional however this very lively accounting of her life certainly changes the listener's opinion as far as that is concerned. Many of us will remember her at the opening of the Olympics when she shows us her sense of humor participating in a sketch with the new 007 James Bond.

After listening to this I realized that our Queen REALLY is a Bond Girl. She has supported a family, my Nation, many Nations in fact. She is still strong, she is relentlessly true to the promise that she made to my country many years ago when she became Queen. Never a 'quitter'.

A wonderfully entertaining 'listen'/read.

169 people found this helpful

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The Royal Survivor

So many books have been written of Her Majesty the Queen that she surely didn't need another one. However this mini-biography was so well told, and the narration so well done, that it is yet another marvelous tribute to a splendid life not fully appreciated by the disdainful tabloid media and a good portion of her subjects. Long may Elizabeth the Second continue to reign.

80 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable...

Mostly a time line with bullet points. For those who are not history buffs it moves along. The narration was easy to understand and concise. Mostly it featured the events that affected the queen, rather than how she made decisions that affected her Nation and the Commonwealth Countries, and less of the burden of monarchy, with the exception of her adult children. It does conclude that Her Majesty has lived through major social changes throughout the world, with dignity and grace, providing stability and respect for Great Britain. A good listen....

49 people found this helpful

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Interesting Overview of Q E 2

Over all I liked the content...It was a concise overview of the Queens life.
The first two thirds was well done. I did not really want to hear the salacious tabloid details about Camilla and Charles and some of the Diana escapades.
The book should have stuck to the Queens life and her reaction to the escapades of her children and spouses.
I did enjoy hearing about some of the details of her life in the 50"s and 60"s.
I still admire her and think she has remained the most dignified of the royals .

62 people found this helpful

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A wide ranging history showing the highs and low

With the success of Neflix's the Crown, Audible episodically released this history of QEII in late 2016, with a re-release of it in this collection in 2019.

The production consists of eight episodes, each about 30 minutes long. The episodes cover the following periods and events:
- From Elizabeth's birth to George VI becoming King
- WW2 and her fathers reign and marriage to Philip Mountbatten, and becoming the Queen
- the Coronation
- 1950s: commonwealth tours, Margaret and Townsend's affair, marriage, royal marriage hardships, and rock and roll
- 1960s: Beatlemania, war, losing power as more countries leave the Empire, being out of touch and starting to change the monarchy
- 1970's and 80s: assassination attempt, Camilla, Diana, Fergie, and the Falklands war
- 1992: Annus horribilis: the year Elizabeth hated. Children divorcing, Diana's 'tell all' book, Fergie's foot fetish, and a Windsor fire
- Diana's death and the reactions and ramifications, modernization and minimization of the royal family's trappings, more Fergie problems, ending with the the London Olympics and Elizabeth as a 'Bond Girl'.

The production is a nice overview of the highlights and low lights of the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and showing how England, the monarchy and the world has changed in that time

The audio production is a scripted work, close to an actual book. There is no interviews. It is mostly a singular voice reading a script, supported by classic recordings and sound effects. Jennie Bond provides her right proper British lady BBC voice to the production. Some of the recordings include the abdication speech, Elizabeth's first broadcast at 14 years old, the Coronation, Diana's wedding and crash news announcement and so forth. Because of the age of many of the recordings there is a scratchy noise to them and they are not crisp and clear, but their inclusion adds a lot to the production and it is richer for having them included. Some classical, regal music is also thrown in to round out the production.

45 people found this helpful

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Well done!

Interesting and entertaining, I learned a few new things. I did find that it tended towards the favorable. Elizabeth did have much to overcome. Would have been interested to have known how Harry’s marriage would have been portrayed, but the program was produced in 2016.

8 people found this helpful

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A short bio of a smart woman.

As an American the who concept of royalty is a bit confusing -- it makes sense to me when looking back to a time when royalty were not figureheads, but in the 21st century it seems a bit redundant, unnecessary and expensive. Still I am quite intrigued by their lives. This book didn't bring any new information to me but it was a well-organized, short listen. I liked it okay, but didn't love it. It felt a bet too deferential to the royals and negative regarding the in-laws, especially Prince Philip and Princess Diana.

3 people found this helpful

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An Exemplary Life

I knew I would choose this recording as soon as I saw it was about Elizabeth II, Queen of England, a woman I have admired for most of my adult life.
It takes life experience to understand the value of her dedication to her job as Monarch, and the sheer force of will to get up every day and live an exemplary life, in the public eye.
Is she perfect? No one is. But she has *Earned* our respect.
On a personal level, I believe E2 has hesitated to dictate her family’s choices not because she is wishy washy, but to leave some freedom of choice in a life that is richly limited. Go E2, for standing firm on keeping your family name! As for showing warmth to her children: E2 was raised in a very upper class home still operating with 19th Century values and limitations. I admire her for adjusting first to 20th Century, and now 21st Century values and expectations. E2 has proven herself and it’s good to see her have fun a la James Bond.
On an historical level, it has long been a point of interest that, in almost 500 years, there have been 3 Monarchs that have reigned England during long periods of growth and stability; and they were all women. I got to see the Cubs win the World Series; I’m still waiting for a WOMAN President of the United States before I die.
Narration was well done. Background sounds like drumrolls and horns were subtle and added to the recording.
Interesting if you’re into royalty or the Monarchy.

7 people found this helpful

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Warning - if you like history, this is NOT for you

I do like history, which is why I chose this as one of my free Audible Originals this month. To be fair, it is historical, but it reads (or listens) like a very long gossip tabloid - full of who-wore-what, scandalous affairs, details of weddings, coronations, pomp,circumstance, blah, blah, blah. If you're one of those people that can't get enough of the Royals, then by all means have at it. You can thrill to their fashions, their appetites, their little victories and their little defeats in their increasingly irrelevant and parasitic world. Personally, I couldn't care less. This thing is under 4 hours, and I could barely bring myself to finish it.

22 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed!

A wonderful scamper through history, not lingering overly long in any one place.....I really enjoyed this telling of one of the most iconic ladies of my lifetime.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Martin
  • 05-04-16

Brilliant recording!

I loved this book! The recording is brilliant, captivating and really dramatic; it almost feels like being in the real thing when they use radio voices, play the funeral march,... In general, this short history of the Queen's life is less dry and feels more personal than many other history books. Even devoted royalists might learn something new and definitely enjoy the recording.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cec
  • 01-04-17

interesting

if you are older you would understand the events and history. shorter than I through it would be.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-24-18

Captivating!

This is much more than a book, it is a brilliant E presentation in words and music of the life of our Queen. It is not afraid to tell the whole truth or to white wash over the times when the monarchy was anything but popular. A must listen.

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  • Faith Cox
  • 04-27-16

Too confusing

This book does not read in chronological order. Had to keep rewinding and wondering if I had missed things. It jumps all over the place and is so confusing. Jennie Bond's voice pleasant to listen to, not quite so keen on background clatter. Sad really as we all know the story. Very, very disappointing as was really looking forward to it. Would wait for a better book on topic!!

2 people found this helpful