Yes, it's short, the title is A Brief Life of the Queen. Author Robert Lacey tells us up front that it's an introduction to the Queen and her family and it's meant to be read in a single afternoon, a few hours at most. He's written longer, more detailed books about the Royal Family, and this 157-page book is based on that earlier research.
In advance of the Diamond Jubilee, I wanted to read one book about the Queen, but I didn't care about a lot of detail, and I definitely did not want a fawning hagiography. This book was just the ticket.
We get a quick bio of the Queen and even quicker profiles of her immediate family. There's not a lot of gossip, because when it comes to the Queen herself, there isn't any. On the other hand, her family is a wealth of scandal and gossip, and Charles, in particular, gets a rough ride in this book, but not undeserved.
Despite the brief nature of the book, there is enough here to make some interesting observations about the Queen. You would think that in 21st century Britain, it would not be important for the monarch to have leadership skills. And Elizabeth doesn't have any. If she leads at all, it's only by example. So when the public didn't follow her subdued example of private mourning, and were outraged that she failed to show an adequate amount of public grief over Diana's death, she took Tony Blair's and Alistair Campbell's advice to go on television. And when her children have failed to imitate her conservative and scandal-free lifestyle, she finds herself powerless.
There are plenty of photos and Lacey has accomplished his goal of providing this reader, at least, of a single afternoon's pleasant reading.