The Queen Mother

The Queen Mother

The Official Biography

By William Shawcross

Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400078349, 1096pp.

Publication Date: November 16, 2010


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 twentieth century.
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon the ninth of the Earl of Strathmore's ten 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. Vividly detailed, written with unrestricted access to her personal papers, letters, and diaries, this candid royal biography by William Shawcross is also a singular history of Britain in the twentieth century.

About the Author
WILLIAM SHAWCROSS became a writer after leaving University College, Oxford, in 1968. He was in Czechoslovakia during the Soviet occupation, which inspired his first book, a biography of the Czech leader Alexander Dubcek, published in 1970. Since then he has written and travelled widely. In 1995 he wrote the BBC television series Monarchy. In 2002 his BBC television series and book, Queen and Country, celebrated the Queen s Golden Jubilee and examined the changing face of Britain during her reign. In 2009 he published the national bestseller Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother: The Official Biography. He lives in England.

Praise For The Queen Mother

“Fascinating . . . Anglophiles and lovers of the crown will relish every morsel.”
USA Today 
“A totally absorbing and highly readable account of a remarkable life. . . . Shawcross’s book is genuinely revelatory.”
The Times (London)
Los Angeles Times
“Lively and elegantly written. . . . A rich portrait.”
The Economist
“Splendid. . . . An entertaining page-turner. . . . This masterly biography reveals a character whose charm was matched by courage, optimism, a strong sense of duty and a liking for fun. . . . A wonderful book, authoritative, frank and entertaining. It sets new standards for royal biography. . . . Anyone who finds royal biographies dull and dutiful is in for a surprise.”
The Daily Telegraph (London)

“A portrait of a remarkable life lived in step with a century of sweeping change.”
—Bloomberg News
“A colossal book about a colossal life, a spectacular journey across the entire 20th Century through the eyes of a thoughtful woman who took the hand of a shy royal understudy and was propelled through modern history.”
Daily Mail (London)
“A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Royal Family. . . . Fascinating reading. . . . Shawcross has written a remarkable book.”
Tucson Citizen
“[Written] with unprecedented access to the private papers of the queen mother. . . . Her life is seen here as a mirror of the 20th century.”
New York Post “Required Reading”
“Shawcross has been given access to the Royal Archives and they have yielded a rich harvest. . . . [There is an] immense amount of new material here. . . . He is to be congratulated for selecting so many juicy tidbits.”
—A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail (London)
“Engaging. . . . Colorful. . . . Delightful as well as dignified.”
The Washington Times
“The correspondence in [The Queen Mother] is illuminating for both royal watchers and historians. . . . Divulges the Queen Mother’s opinions on topics ranging from feminism to homeopathy.”
—The Associated Press
“Impressively researched. . . . Shawcross avoids the traps [of] hagiography. . . . He succeeds in the difficult task of keeping his subject resolutely centre-stage in an elegant account.”
The Independent (London)
“Shawcross’s journalistic skills are evident in the innumerable dabs of pointilliste detail. . . . There are many unexpected vignettes. . . . He serves his subject well.”
Sunday Telegraph (London)
“Offers new and fascinating insights into the woman behind the pearls and pastel dresses.”
Mail on Sunday