Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

By Sally Bedell Smith

“Your Majesty, I’m afraid everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong,” said Major Sir Michael Parker, an impresario for royal events with an expertise in pyrotechnics. “Oh good, what fun!” she replied with a smile.”

Even though this book all too obviously glosses over anything that could reflect negatively on the Queen, and thus paints Diana in a very negative light, I found it very informative and fascinating. Diana comes across as almost evil and a borderline psychopath. Quite a departure from the usual portraitures of borderline sainthood. I don’t hold with either extreme, but it was quite an eye-opener for me.

It is incredibly detailed. What I found particularly interesting were the portraits and backgrounds of each prime minister that has served under Elizabeth and their relationship with her. It was very educational. It was comforting that Prince Phillip really loved Elizabeth with his whole heart despite his frustrations and antics, which, needless to say, are not cataloged here.

“Like the princess, Philip didn’t believe in public displays of affection, which made it easy to mask his feelings. But he revealed them privately in a touching letter to Queen Elizabeth in which he wondered if he deserved “all the good things which have happened to me,” especially “to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly.”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

February 8, 2012

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