From a 15th-century Elizabeth to her 21-century counterpart, Sally Bedell Smith gives a full account of this fascinating queen, now in her seventh decade on the throne. Researched over the span of two years, Smith provides revealing glimpses of the real woman behind the crown. The portrait that emerges is in many ways predictable – a fiercely dedicated, intelligent, insightful diplomat who is deeply committed to the continuation of the British Commonwealth – and in others unpredictable – Elizabeth’s keen sense of humor, her sparkly wit, her love of nature, and tolerant nature shine through. Married over 60 years to the only man she ever considered, yet thought by many to be an overly indulgent mother, Elizabeth has reigned over tumultuous times, remaining an unflappable, enduring symbol of a nation in good times and bad.
Smith colors her portrayal with candidate comments from former prime ministers, loyal advisors, political leaders, family members, and friends. The Charles vs. Diana story is also given another perspective, perhaps the most fair account that exists and one that shows a more feeling side of the queen than most would have believed at the time. Smith does an excellent job at balancing the private with the professional, providing a complete picture of this often mysterious figure. Now a great-grandmother who may be stepping back in favor of her son Charles, the queen has overseen times of war, family tribulation, political unrest, and economic crisis, but still, the octagenarian remains a steady, guiding hand going forward for both her family and the nation. This insightful account is not to be missed for all royal watchers and Anglophiles.
Amazon link for the book is here.