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Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarchby Sally Bedell Smith
Synopses & Reviews
In this magisterial new biography, New York Times bestselling 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.
Compulsively readable and scrupulously researched, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of a woman we’ve known only from a distance, illuminating the lively personality, sense of humor, and canny intelligence with which she meets the most demanding work and family obligations. It is also a fascinating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.
"Bedell's biography charts the life of Queen Elizabeth II, from her youthful receipt of the title 'heiress presumptive' and first love to her ascension to the throne and transformation into England's current monarch. Rosalyn Landor narrates in a light, authentic British accent. Her pace is steady and her tone appropriately soothing throughout. And while this meticulously researched biography doesn't offer the narrator an opportunity to produce many character voices, she nonetheless turns in a winning performance. Additionally, Bedell reads the book's brief preface, explaining — in her American accent, which, to a certain degree, casts her as an outsider — her lifelong fascination with Elizabeth and determination to make the iconic and enigmatic queen both human and accessible. A Random House hardcover. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith comes a magisterial new biography of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, one of the world’s most fascinating, enigmatic, and admired women.
Sally Bedell Smith is known for her compulsively readable, prodigiously researched portraits of iconic public figures, from the Clintons to the Kennedys to Princess Diana. In Elizabeth the Queen, she explores in intimate detail the public and private life of the most prominent monarch of our time: the eldest daughter of King George VI, who ascended to the throne in 1952 at the tender age of twenty-five and has beguiled royal observers ever since.
In an enterprising feat of scholarship, Smith managed to get the first look at a trove of research materials that bring fresh insights into Queen Elizabeth’s professional and family relationships, including those with her husband of nearly sixty-five years, Prince Philip, her four headline-grabbing children, and her grandchildren William and Harry. Here is a compelling profile drawn from the Queen’s personal correspondence, the unpublished journals of a former American ambassador, and hundreds of interviews with some of the Queen’s closest friends (a number of whom have not spoken before), key advisers, family and neighbors, as well as former heads of state, first ladies and ambassadors from the U.K., U.S., and Canada.
Published to coincide with the British monarch’s sixtieth year on the throne—her Diamond Jubilee—in 2012, Sally Bedell Smith’s groundbreaking biography is an up-close and eye-opening look at Elizabeth the leader, strategist, and diplomat; the daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother: Elizabeth the Queen.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Sally Bedell Smith is the author of bestselling biographies of William S. Paley; Pamela Harriman; Diana, Princess of Wales; John and Jacqueline Kennedy; and Bill and Hillary Clinton. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1996, she previously worked at Time and The New York Times, where she was a cultural news reporter. She is the mother of three children and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Stephen G. Smith.
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