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Elizabeth the Queen : the life of a modern monarch
Sally Bedell Smith
Adult Nonfiction DA590 .S55 2012

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her 60-year-reign, Elizabeth II has evolved "from beautiful ingenue to businesslike working mother to wise grandmother," whose grave public persona conceals her spirit, intelligence, humor, and joie de vivre. In a respectful, engrossing, and perceptive portrayal, Smith (Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess) relates that Elizabeth defied her mother in marrying her cheeky third-cousin Prince Philip of Greece, but she bowed to Churchill in not adopting Philip's surname, which strained their marriage; while her laissez-faire attitude toward child-rearing allowed a flinty, critical Philip to dominate the sensitive Charles. Her compassion in shaking hands with cured Nigerian lepers in 1956 prefigured Diana's handshake with an AIDS patient in 1987. But while some of the inner workings of the monarchy are exposed, Smith often pulls her punches; the queen's passion for her dogs and horses gets more ink than daughters-in-law Camilla and Sophie, and the monarch remains distant, her thoughts and feelings ultimately unknowable. Photos. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Smith (contributing editor, Vanity Fair; Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House) has written a satisfying biography of a woman who is both very private and one of the most famous people in the world. The Queen has never given an interview or authorized a biography, but Buckinham Palace staff courteously help authors such as Smith and Andrew Marr (The Real Elizabeth, reviewed above). Smith interviewed over 200 people who have interacted with the Queen, the majority of whom spoke on the record, including both Bush presidents, Lucian Freud, Helen Mirren, and Paul McCartney, as well as lesser-known relatives and friends. She succeeds in portraying something of the monarch's personal life through anecdotes that show the Queen's sharp intelligence and dry sense of humor. VERDICT The results are as informative as they are entertaining. Comparable to Ben Pimlott's excellent The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II (1998), but with information on nearly 15 more years, this will appeal to readers of biographies, British history, and all followers of the British royal family. The Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee should increase demand. With impressive source notes and bibliography. [See Prepub Alert, 7/18/11.]-Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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