4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
She learned by example to always do her duty to the throne.,
This review is from: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch (Hardcover)
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II learned how to be a monarch by watching the example set by her father. Early on the King made sure his young daughter understood the work he was doing so that she would be as prepared as possible when it was her time to ascend the throne. But surely nobody could have expected that her time would come so soon. At the age of 25 she found herself the monarch and her long life of service had begun.
This biography begins as Elizabeth finds herself the heiress presumptive when her uncle abdicates and her father unexpectedly becomes the King of England, George VI. The book takes the reader all the way to the April 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Author Sally Bedell Smith has written an extremely detailed and exhaustively researched book to be released in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. According to material in the book Ms Smith has met the Queen on two occasions, both times during reception line meetings. That means that this biography is not an official authorized edition because the Queen did not personally contribute any material specifically to be included. What Ms Smith has done is gather together the material available by doing research on her subject and arrange it in such a way that the reader follows Queen Elizabeth from her childhood to the present. There are fascinating glimpses into the very carefully guarded private life of The Firm, as the royal family refers to themselves, provided by those closest to the monarch and her family. At well over 600 pages this biographer has given extraordinarily detailed information about how the Queen goes about fulfilling her responsibilities. Trips taken by the Queen are outlined with precise details of meetings and functions which took place. Rituals which take place on a yearly or even monthly basis are explained. Some of the portions I enjoyed most in the book concerned things like the Windsor Castle dine-and-sleep invitations issued to eight to ten couples and what happened during those private days with Elizabeth and her family. Also of great interest to me was how involved Elizabeth is with her thoroughbred horses.
This book has left me with the indelible image of Queen Elizabeth II as a woman who has a personal understanding of what her duty as Monarch consists of and her determination to follow the course she has set for herself in order to carry out those duties. My only criticism with the book is that some of the information is given in such detail that it becomes quite difficult to take it all in. In the case of so many of the world wide trips made by this reigning monarch the minute details of hotels, travel arrangements, meals, and who was invited to all the receptions and parties and other functions became a trifle overwhelming. Perhaps some of that information might have been left out.
Queen Elizabeth II seems to me to be a remarkable woman. I admire her greatly for her never wavering sense of duty and her willingness to carry on when circumstances in her life were really difficult. If you enjoy seeing behind the scenes of the life of the royals, there is a documentary which I highly recommend. Monarchy : The Royal Family at Work - Complete BBC Series [DVD]]] was a completely fascinating look at one year behind the scenes of this "Firm" in action. It was fascinating to read the descriptions in this book of the very happenings covered in the documentary.