The Real Elizabeth
An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
By Andrew Marr
Henry Holt & Company, Hardcover, 9780805094169, 368pp.
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
List Price: $32.00*
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A surprising and very personal biography of a woman who may be the world's last great queen, published to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of her reign
Elizabeth II, one of England's longest-reigning monarchs, is an enigma. In public, she confines herself to optimistic pieties and guarded smiles; in private, she is wry, funny, and an excellent mimic. Now, for the first time, one of Britain's leading journalists and historians gets behind the mask and tells us the fascinating story of the real Elizabeth.
Born shortly before the Depression, Elizabeth grew up during World War II and became queen because of the shocking abdication of her uncle and the early death of her father. Only twenty-five when she ascended to the throne, she has been at the apex of the British state for nearly six decades. She has entertained and known numerous world leaders, including every U.S. president since Harry Truman. Brought up to regard family values as sacred, she has seen all but one of her children divorce; her heir, Prince Charles, conduct an adulterous affair before Princess Diana's death; and a steady stream of family secrets poured into the open. Yet she has never failed to carry out her duties, and she has never said a word about any of the troubles she has endured.
Andrew Marr, who enjoys extraordinary access to senior figures at Buckingham Palace, has written a revealing and essential book about a woman who has managed to remain private to the point of mystery throughout her reign.
"An enjoyable book about the British monarchy as embodied by Queen Elizabeth II… Recommended for fans of today’s British monarchy, who will come away further admiring the queen’s mind for detail, her openness for enabling the royal household… to evolve, her nuanced relationship with 13 successive prime ministers, and her strong marriage."—Library Journal
"A comprehensive and lively history and analysis of the British monarchy as a political and social institution from the World War I to the present, more than half of which time has been taken up by Elizabeth’s reign."—Kirkus Reviews
"British Royalty retains remarkable pulling power, but how much of this is due to the institution itself, and how much to the individuals involved? The answer is probably a mixture of both, but Andrew Marr’s absorbing new book leaves no doubt about the pivotal role played by the Queen herself… He is particularly acute on the political aspects of constitutional monarchy, but he also writes perceptively about the individual members of the Royal Family."—The Mail on Sunday
"[The Real Elizabeth contains] a lot of information which will be new to any but the most dedicated student of the monarchy… [Marr writes] well and thoughtfully."—Spectator
"An overwhelmingly positive endorsement of the Queen’s remarkable record… [The Real Elizabeth] offers plenty of reasons for repeating the old cry of ‘God save the Queen.’"—Daily Express
Queen Elizabeth II has ruled the United Kingdom for an exceptionally long time. In six decades, her reign has spanned 12 prime ministers, 12 American presidents and six popes. She's one of the world's most famous women, instantly recognizable, yet eternally private. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks with author and BBC host Andrew Marr about his book, The Real Elizabeth, a portrait of the queen taken from interviews with those closest to her. More at NPR.org
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