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Counting One's Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother [Unabridged] [Paperback]

William Shawcross
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

9 May 2013

One of the revelations of William Shawcross's official biography of the Queen Mother was her private correspondence. Indeed the Sunday Times described her letters as 'wonderful ... brimful of liveliness and irreverence, steeliness and sweetness.'

Queen Elizabeth was a prolific correspondent from her earliest childhood and her letters offer readers a vivid insight into the person behind the public face. They reveal - in her own words - the little girl writing to her family; the young woman who, eventually, accepted Prince Albert's proposal; the Duchess of York, embracing the public role demanded of her, on royal tours both at home and abroad. They reveal, too, her shock when she and her husband realized that he would become King, the dreadful toll exacted by the Second World War, culminating in the King's tragically early death, and her determination to find a role for herself during her long widowhood. Full of wit, acute observation and a deeply held sense of duty, Queen Elizabeth's letters offer a chronicle not only of her long life, but of the twentieth century.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330535773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330535779
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"[The Queen Mother's letters] do offer a fascinating, provocative first-hand glimpse into another world . . . Perhaps the most endearing side of the collection is the sheer number of earnest thank-you notes, written for everything from gifts to visits, and a great many written to Elizabeth's mother-in-law, Queen Mary, with whom Elizabeth carries on a warm and intimate correspondence. Elizabeth clearly delights in her friends, and is charmingly quick to offer assistance, take an interest in others' lives, and have a laugh at her own expense . . . Read ["Counting One's Blessings"] for the sheer entertainment value." --Heather Horn, "The Atlantic""William Shawcross, a renowned writer and broadcaster who has been given access to nine decades of remarkable correspondence from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, has traced the stories the letters tell . . . From childhood onwards, her words danced on the page, teeming with vitality, ebullience and optimism . . . Her letters showed a relish for language and sparkled with the joy of living." --"The Times of India""The intriguing new book of letters shows the unlikely evolution of the former Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, a charming, vivacious young woman who was one of the most sought-after debutantes of her day, into a gifted queen who became an enduring symbol of the British monarchy . . . she evolved into a curious, vital young woman who was an avid reader." --Lorna Koski, "Women's Wear Daily""With correspondents ranging from Kenneth Clark to Osbert Sitwell, as well as her parents-in-law, daughters and eldest grandson, the Queen Mother's selected letters--collated by her official biographer, William Shawcross--are seldom dull . . . ["Counting One's Blessings"] provides a study of maturing character against the background of great events . . . However fluffy the Queen may have seemed when young, she proved her mettle in 1939-45. Her wartime letters, showing her abnegation, selfless duty and distress, make impressive read

About the Author

William Shawcross became a writer after leaving University College, Oxford in 1968. Since then he has written and travelled widely. His many books include Queen and Country and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: the Official Biography. He lives in London and Cornwall.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any royal enthusiast 11 Nov 2012
By Ilana
Format:Hardcover
I am only half way through this book, and am truly amazed by the editing and presentation. William Shawcross has done an amazing job of selecting and annotating and commenting on the vast correspondence the Queen Mum wrote during her long and colourful life. The letters she wrote to her parents-in-law - George V and Queen Mary - are themselves a testament to who she was and to her special character. Many letters I have read 2 or 3 times, to fully understand her ability to touch different people in a unique way. Truly amazing and a must read. Congratulations to William Shawcross for bringing these letters to print.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Biography 23 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the best biography I have ever read. It should be compulsory reading for schools, our children would gain knoowledge in this country's history.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turns out she was quite witty 12 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lovely private history of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Turns out she was funny ! who knew ! Forgot how much influence she had during the war in her support of the King. Enjoyable read with occasional need for tissues.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girlfriend Happy 8 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I got this as a gift for my girlfriend for Christmas as per her request, she had flicked through it in a bookshop and since reading has told me it gave her an insight into not only the Queen Mother but the Royal Family as a whole that she never knew existed, i would on her recommendation say to anybody that you will not regret buying this book to see just how human the family are despite what some may think.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Royal Mum brought into our homes 25 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book brought the sense of the real person, youth, Humour, Loss and Love. The letters are so thoughtful that it is easy to see the moments as they appear to Elizabeth, to travel with her throughout her life. Feeling the highs and lows as she did, the worries and the Joys. This is a book that shows us that above all else, the Royal Family are people like us, with a different life style obviously, but which at the end of the day are A Family!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 17 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Informative interesting insight into the queen mother would recommend as an excellent book did not take long for me to read as could not put down
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Counting One's Blessings 16 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have only read as far WWII but it has been fascinating so far. I learned a lot of things I didn't already know about history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Counting one's blessings 14 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought as a present for an avid royalist friend for her birthday. She absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and readable
Most revealing story about the Queen. Beautifully written and readable.
Published 2 days ago by mary
3.0 out of 5 stars I was very disappointed that it arrived without any dustcover so I...
I was very disappointed that it arrived without any dustcover so I just have a boring old looking book to add to my bookcase once read.
Published 13 days ago by Alison Wilkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars A heavenly collection of letters
My Darling Lilibet,

I can't tell you how touched and delighted I was to receive a copy of the wonderful book of my collected letters, and I do want to thank you for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dr Konrad Schneckenhauer
5.0 out of 5 stars Letters written by the Queen Mother
Enjoyed the letters written by the Queen Mother, very interesting and what a sense of humour this Lady had. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Yorkshire Lass
4.0 out of 5 stars Counting One's Blessings
Touching, enlightening, often extremely funny, and a much more extensive 'selection' than I had anticipated, it has been a privilege to be allowed to read these lovely letters.
Published 3 months ago by AnnieC
4.0 out of 5 stars The Queen Mother in her own words
It was fascinating to read the many letters contained in this book, but it seemed clear that they were heavily edited. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mathlady
4.0 out of 5 stars A really interesting read
This is one of those genuinely interesting books, great for fans of the Royal family as even the most ardent fan will probably learn a few things they didn't know before. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sarah
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointed
I thought this would be a marvellous read, and some people might think it is, but for me it was disappointing, rather repetitive, and I couldn't get into it at all.
Published 5 months ago by Ed
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
I bought this Book ages ago and I have to confess that I have not as yet read it but know that I shall enjoy it once I get round to it. It had very good reviews. Read more
Published 5 months ago by mrs s walsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfull book
Five stars for such a wonderfull read, the Queen Mother was obviously a lovely lady inside & out, witty funny & caring.I have bought this book for friens & family
Published 6 months ago by sheila odell
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