Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of A Modern Monarch
By: Sally Bedell Smith
Published: January 10th, 2012
Publisher: Random House
Rating: 4 out of 5
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.
My ThoughtsI have always been fascinated by the Queen and the royal family. When William and Kate got married I had just arrived home from an overnight flight from Cuba and then I made popcorn and watched their wedding (it was 4 am).
I enjoyed the biographical parts of the books- things like what age she met Phillip and what age she became a mother or the Queen. It was pretty interesting to me because I knew a lot about her but not so much of the specifics. I can't imagine trying to raise young children and run a country and the Commonwealth!
But I didn't like how America-centric it was. The Queen would take a thirteen day trip to Canada, and stay in Chicago for a day but the entire Chicago trip would be laid on by what she did every hour. But there was no mention of what she did on her Canadian trips. Almost all the American presidents were mentioned but only one Canadian one was.
Given that the Queen considers Canada to be her home and that it was the second country in the Commonwealth (behind the UK), it would have been nice to see more of that aspect.
At times it was also fairly gossipy and tabloidy. I get that the Queen and her family have had their fair share of drama but I think that the author portrayed certain aspects as too dramatic, and tried to skew the images of certain people in one direction.
So the stories and characterization should be taken with a grain of salt- but the facts and timeline are done nicely!
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