Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

Elizabeth the Queen

Cover of Elizabeth the Queen

Elizabeth the Queen

The Life of a Modern Monarch
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • Perfect for fans of The Crown, this magisterial biography of Queen Elizabeth II is a close-up view of the woman we've known only from a distance—and a captivating window into the last great monarchy.

    From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world's most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.

    In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes "heiress presumptive" when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen's daily routines—the "red boxes" of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.
    Praise for Elizabeth the Queen
    "An excellent, all-embracing new biography."The New York Times
    "[An] imposing, yet nimbly written, biography [that] dwarfs the field . . . a most satisfying and enjoyable read, one to be savored at length."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
    "Fascinating . . . After sixty years on the throne, the monarch of Britain is better known for her poker face than for sly wit or easy charm. Yet in biographer Sally Bedell Smith's Elizabeth the Queen, Her Majesty sparkles with both."More
    "Smith breaks new ground, [with the cooperation of] more than two hundred people, [including] the Queen's relatives and friends. . . . [A] smart and satisfying book."Los Angeles Times
    "A fresh and admiring look at Elizabeth II, a woman whose life has been chronicled in numerous books, but perhaps never with such intimacy."Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • Perfect for fans of The Crown, this magisterial biography of Queen Elizabeth II is a close-up view of the woman we've known only from a distance—and a captivating window into the last great monarchy.

    From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world's most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.

    In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes "heiress presumptive" when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen's daily routines—the "red boxes" of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.
    Praise for Elizabeth the Queen
    "An excellent, all-embracing new biography."The New York Times
    "[An] imposing, yet nimbly written, biography [that] dwarfs the field . . . a most satisfying and enjoyable read, one to be savored at length."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
    "Fascinating . . . After sixty years on the throne, the monarch of Britain is better known for her poker face than for sly wit or easy charm. Yet in biographer Sally Bedell Smith's Elizabeth the Queen, Her Majesty sparkles with both."More
    "Smith breaks new ground, [with the cooperation of] more than two hundred people, [including] the Queen's relatives and friends. . . . [A] smart and satisfying book."Los Angeles Times
    "A fresh and admiring look at Elizabeth II, a woman whose life has been chronicled in numerous books, but perhaps never with such intimacy."Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Available formats-
    • Kindle Book
    • OverDrive Read
    • EPUB eBook
    Languages:-
    Copies-
    • Available:
      0
    • Library copies:
      6
    Levels-
    • ATOS:
    • Lexile:
    • Interest Level:
    • Text Difficulty:

    Recommended for you


    Excerpts-
    • Chapter One

      A ROYAL EDUCATION

      It was a footman who brought the news to ten-year-old Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor on December 10, 1936. Her father had become an accidental king just four days before his forty-first birthday when his older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, a twice-divorced American. Edward VIII had been sovereign only nine months after taking the throne following the death of his father, King George V, making him, according to one mordant joke, "the only monarch in history to abandon the ship of state to sign on as third mate on a Baltimore tramp."

      "Does that mean that you will have to be the next queen?" asked Elizabeth's younger sister, Margaret Rose (as she was called in her childhood). "Yes, someday," Elizabeth replied. "Poor you," said Margaret Rose.

      Although the two princesses had been the focus of fascination by the press and the public, they had led a carefree and insulated life surrounded by governesses, nannies, maids, dogs, and ponies. They spent idyllic months in the English and Scottish countryside playing games like "catching the days"-running around plucking autumn leaves from the air as they were falling. Their spirited Scottish nanny, Marion "Crawfie" Crawford, had managed to give them a taste of ordinary life by occasionally taking them around London by tube and bus, but mostly they remained inside the royal bubble.

      Before the arrival of Margaret, Elizabeth spent four years as an only- and somewhat precocious-child, born on the rainy night of April 21, 1926. Winston Churchill, on first meeting the two-year-old princess, extravagantly detected "an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Crawfie noted that she was "neat and methodical . . . like her father," obliging, eager to do her best, and happiest when she was busy. She also showed an early ability to compartmentalize-a trait that would later help her cope with the demands of her position. Recalled Lady Mary Clayton, a cousin eight years her senior: "She liked to imagine herself as a pony or a horse. When she was doing that and someone called her and she didn't answer right away, she would then say, 'I couldn't answer you as a pony.' "

      The abdication crisis threw the family into turmoil, not only because it was a scandal but because it was antithetical to all the rules of succession. While Elizabeth's father had been known as "Bertie" (for Albert), he chose to be called George VI to send a message of stability and continuity with his father. (His wife, who was crowned by his side, would be known as Queen Elizabeth.) But Bertie had not been groomed for the role. He was in tears when he talked to his mother about his new responsibilities. "I never wanted this to happen," he told his cousin Lord Louis "Dickie" Mountbatten. "I've never even seen a State Paper. I'm only a Naval Officer, it's the only thing I know about." The new King was reserved by nature, somewhat frail physically, and plagued by anxiety. He suffered from a severe stammer that led to frequent frustration, culminating in explosions of temper known as "gnashes."

      Yet he was profoundly dutiful, and he doggedly set about his kingly tasks while ensuring that his little Lilibet-her name within the family-would be ready to succeed him in ways he had not been. On his accession she became "heiress presumptive," rather than "heiress apparent," on the off chance that her parents could produce a son. But Elizabeth and Margaret Rose had been born by cesarean section, and in those days a third operation would have been considered too risky for their mother. According to custom, Lilibet would publicly refer to her mother and father as "the King and...

    About the Author-
    • Sally Bedell Smith is the author of bestselling biographies of William S. Paley; Pamela Harriman; Diana, Princess of Wales; John and Jacqueline Kennedy; and Bill and Hillary Clinton. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1996, she previously worked at Time and The New York Times, where she was a cultural news reporter. She is the mother of three children and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Stephen G. Smith.

    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      December 19, 2011
      In her 60-year-reign, Elizabeth II has evolved “from beautiful ingénue 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.

    • More "Fascinating....After 60 years on the throne, the monarch of Britain is better known for her poker face than for sly wit or easy charm. Yet in biographer Sally Bedell Smith's Elizabeth the Queen, Her Majesty sparkles with both. Via interviews with a legion of royal watchers, from horse trainers to lords and ladies, Smith teases out a woman both austere and animated, duty-bound yet undeniably authentic."
    • JON MEACHAM "She was so young, and the task was so enormous. Yet with grace and a determination to do her duty come what may--and so much has indeed come--Elizabeth II studiously made herself part of the fabric of global civilization in the most tumultuous of times. This is a terrific book about a fascinating figure."
    • AMANDA FOREMAN "A deeply researched, unvarnished, and therefore totally fascinating portrait of the transcendent icon of our age . . . Many authors have written about Elizabeth II, but none of them can match the literary style, wit, or insightful commentary of Sally Bedell Smith."
    • WALTER ISAACSON "In an era plagued by flawed public figures, the world's most famous woman has graced her realm impeccably for sixty years. She does so by being both mysterious and grounded. Sally Bedell Smith, through great reporting and insightful writing, provides a revealing look inside the palace to show how the Queen balances being both modern and traditional. Our celebrity-saturated world could learn a lot from her--and from this book."
    Title Information+
    • Publisher
      Random House Publishing Group
    • Kindle Book
      Release date:
    • OverDrive Read
      Release date:
    • EPUB eBook
      Release date:
    Digital Rights Information+
    • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

    Status bar:

    You've reached your checkout limit.

    Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

    You already have this title checked out.

    Want to go to your Checkouts?

    Recommendation Limit Reached.

    You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 10 titles every 20 day(s).

    Sign in to recommend this title.

    Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

    Enhanced Details

    Limited availability

    Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

    is available for days.

    Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

    Permissions

    The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

    Holds

    Total holds:


    Restricted

    Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

    You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

    To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

    Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

    There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

    Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

    You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

    This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

    An unexpected error has occurred.

    If this problem persists, please contact support.

    NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

    Buy it now
    and help our library WIN!
    Elizabeth the Queen
    Elizabeth the Queen
    The Life of a Modern Monarch
    Sally Bedell Smith
    Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
    A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
    Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.

    There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

    Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

    You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

    If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

    The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

    You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

    Accept to ContinueCancel