The Queen Mother
The official and definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: consort of King George VI, mother of Queen Elizabeth II, grandmother of Prince Charles—and the most beloved British monarch of the twentieth century.
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon—the ninth of the Earl of Strathmore’s ten children—was born on August 4, 1900, and, certainly, no one could have imagined that her long life (she died in 2002) would come to reflect a changing nation over the ourse of an entire century. Now, William Shawcross—given unrestricted access to the Queen Mother’s personal papers, letters, and diaries—gives us a portrait of unprecedented vividness and detail. Here is the girl who helped convalescing soldiers during the First World War . . . the young Duchess of York helping her reluctant husband assume the throne when his brother abdicated . . . the Queen refusing to take refuge from the bombing of London, risking her own life to instill courage and hope in others who were living through the Blitz . . . the dowager Queen—the last Edwardian, the charming survivor of a long-lost era—representing her nation at home and abroad . . . the matriarch of the Royal Family and “the nation’s best-loved grandmother.”
A revelatory royal biography that is, as well, a singular history of Britain in the twentieth century.
From the Hardcover edition.
“Fascinating . . . Anglophiles and lovers of the crown will relish every morsel.”
“A totally absorbing and highly readable account of a remarkable life. . . . Shawcross’s book is genuinely revelatory.”
—The Times (London)
—Los Angeles Times
“Lively and elegantly written. . . . A rich portrait.”
“Splendid. . . . An entertaining page-turner. . . . This masterly biography reveals a character whose charm was matched by courage, optimism, a strong sense of duty and a liking for fun. . . . A wonderful book, authoritative, frank and entertaining. It sets new standards for royal biography. . . . Anyone who finds royal biographies dull and dutiful is in for a surprise.”
—The Daily Telegraph (London)
“A portrait of a remarkable life lived in step with a century of sweeping change.”
“A colossal book about a colossal life, a spectacular journey across the entire 20th Century through the eyes of a thoughtful woman who took the hand of a shy royal understudy and was propelled through modern history.”
—Daily Mail (London)
“A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Royal Family. . . . Fascinating reading. . . . Shawcross has written a remarkable book.”
“[Written] with unprecedented access to the private papers of the queen mother. . . . Her life is seen here as a mirror of the 20th century.”
—New York Post “Required Reading”
“Shawcross has been given access to the Royal Archives and they have yielded a rich harvest. . . . [There is an] immense amount of new material here. . . . He is to be congratulated for selecting so many juicy tidbits.”
—A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail (London)
“Engaging. . . . Colorful. . . . Delightful as well as dignified.”
—The Washington Times
“The correspondence in [The Queen Mother] is illuminating for both royal watchers and historians. . . . Divulges the Queen Mother’s opinions on topics ranging from feminism to homeopathy.”
—The Associated Press
“Impressively researched. . . . Shawcross avoids the traps [of] hagiography. . . . He succeeds in the difficult task of keeping his subject resolutely centre-stage in an elegant account.”
—The Independent (London)
“Shawcross’s journalistic skills are evident in the innumerable dabs of pointilliste detail. . . . There are many unexpected vignettes. . . . He serves his subject well.”
—Sunday Telegraph (London)
“Offers new and fascinating insights into the woman behind the pearls and pastel dresses.”
—Mail on Sunday
From the Trade Paperback edition.