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Publisher's Summary

The official and definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: consort of King George VI, mother of Queen Elizabeth II, grandmother of Prince Charles - and the most beloved British monarch of the 20th century.

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon - the ninth of the Earl of Strathmore's 10 children - was born on August 4, 1900, and, certainly, no one could have imagined that her long life (she died in 2002) would come to reflect a changing nation over the course of an entire century. Now, William Shawcross - given unrestricted access to the Queen Mother's personal papers, letters, and diaries - gives us a portrait of unprecedented vividness and detail. Here is the girl who helped convalescing soldiers during the First World War...the young Duchess of York helping her reluctant husband assume the throne when his brother abdicated...the Queen refusing to take refuge from the bombing of London, risking her own life to instill courage and hope in others who were living through the Blitz...the dowager Queen - the last Edwardian, the charming survivor of a long-lost era - representing her nation at home and abroad...the matriarch of the Royal Family and "the nation's best-loved grandmother".

A revelatory royal biography that is, as well, a singular history of Britain in the 20th century.

©2009 William Shawcross (P)2009 Random House

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The right woman at exactly the right time

I was actually looking for a biography of George VI on audible but couldn't find on so I got this one as it was the closest I could get. I'm beginning to think audible is prejudiced towards male monarchs.

She wasn't really all that special but she brought humanity to the Royal family at a time when they desperately needed it. And she did it with grace and an abundance of charm. She was the right woman at exactly the right place and time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent book!

After reading and listening to a number of historical books about many different members of the royal family through the centuries, this is the first book that moved me to tears regarding the death of a royal. The narration was also beautifully done. This is a remarkable book about a very human and yet very lovely, charming and admirable woman who was a true queen in every positive sense of the word.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Abridged version -

I had not realized when I purchased the audible that is was abridged. The book is quite detailed and lengthy. Didn't realize it wasn't the same until I noticed that the whole abdication crisis, WWII and the death of the king pretty much zipped through in 5 hours. These were the defining parts of the queen's life. Once I got past the glossed over version of this part of the queen's life I stopped listening. What was the point?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great bio of Queen Mother but too official

The good: detailed bio. Fills in some of the background missing from other books, films and videos. Clearly narrated with cute interjections of different actors playing the characters like the Queen Mother.

The bit strange: so little real detail about the relationship of the Queen Mother with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It feels like a lot of this content was intentionally left out or cut.

The stultified: a bit condescending culturally to contemporary British popular culture.

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thin

very little substance after the death of her husband. Basically 25 years of her social calendar.

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  • Homebound
  • Charlotte, NC, United States
  • 06-28-13

Bland.

Overall, a mildly interesting book for monarcho-philes but superficial and glorifying. Not a waste of time, especially for learning about her earlier years but at best a "beach" book, neither one that is a complete waste of time, nor one you would hate to lose.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful