With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, you may be wondering about her incredible life and service to the monarchy. She was famously private, but paradoxically was also the most famous and photographed woman in the world. Here is a selection of books, that together, tell the story of the life of Queen Elizabeth II. From her childhood, marriage, relationship with her sister, how she dressed and her beloved corgis, these books provide the full picture of the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
Town & Country: The Queen: A Life in Pictures
by Victoria Murphy
“Queen Elizabeth II once said, ‘I have to be seen to be believed.’ Well, here is Her Majesty in all her glory—and in delightful personal detail too. Victoria Murphy has created an invaluable photographic tribute to Britain’s longest serving monarch and to her memorable reign.” —Robert Lacey, historian and biographer
After her succession to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II became respected, celebrated, and beloved around the world. This stunning collection of powerful images illustrates her storied seven-decade reign in all its glory.
More than 300 extraordinary photographs, along with insightful commentary by the royal journalist Victoria Murphy, showcase the significant, historic, and intimate moments throughout the Queen’s life, first as a young princess and then as the longest-reigning British monarch.
The book covers her war years in service; her marriage to Prince Philip; her coronation—the first to be televised; her extensive official travels around the world; the glittering diplomatic occasions and encounters with world leaders, dignitaries, and celebrities; the pomp and pageantry of ceremonial events; her role as a fashion icon; her relationships with her parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother, and her sister, Princess Margaret; the birth of her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles; family life with her four children, as well as her beloved dogs and horses; and the growing role of her grandson Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as they supported the Queen in her public duties.
Shown here too are the Crown Jewels as well as the Queen’s personal jewelry collection; a look at the royal palaces and residences; and portraits from the stunning royal weddings that have so enchanted the world.
On September 8, 2022, the Queen died peacefully at her home in Balmoral, Scotland. She is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. Upon her death, Prince Charles ascended to the throne as head of state, starting a new era for the British monarchy. Throughout her rule, with a combination of star power and a profound sense of duty, Queen Elizabeth II steered the British monarchy into the modern era with supreme style and grace. She is truly a queen for all ages and this is the ultimate commemorative book for all royal watchers that captures the triumph and significance of her magnificent reign.
Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters
by Andrew Morton
The first in-depth dual-biography of Elizabeth & Margaret, written by the bestselling royal biographer, Andrew Morton.
They were the closest of sisters and the best of friends.
But when, in a quixotic twist of fate, their uncle Edward VIII decided to abdicate the throne, the dynamic between Elizabeth and Margaret was dramatically altered. Forever more, Margaret would have to curtsey to the sister she called ‘Lillibet’. And bow to her wishes.
Elizabeth would always look upon her younger sister’s antics with a kind of stoical amusement but Margaret’s struggle to find a place and position inside the royal system – and her fraught relationship with its expectations – was often a source of tension. Famously, the Queen had to inform Margaret that the Church and government would not countenance her marrying a divorcee, Group Captain Peter Townsend, forcing Margaret to choose between keeping her title and royal allowances or her divorcee lover.
From the idyll of their cloistered early life, through their hidden wartime lives, into the divergent paths they took following their father’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, this book explores their relationship over the years. Andrew Morton, renowned bestselling author of Diana: Her True Story, offers unique insight into these two drastically different sisters – one resigned to duty and responsibility, the other resistant to it – and the lasting impact they have had on the Crown, the royal family and the way it has adapted to the changing mores of the twentieth century.
Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage
by Gyles Brandreth
Privileged access to both the Queen and Prince Philip is the key to this revealing and engrossing royal biography.
This is the first major biography of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh—both royal, both great-great-great grandchildren of Queen Victoria, but in temperament and upbringing very different people. Her childhood was loving and secure, his turbulent: the Duke’s grandfather was assassinated, his father arrested, his family exiled, his parents separated by the time he was ten. For almost sixty years theirs have been among the most famous faces in the world—yet the personalities behind the image remain elusive and the nature of their marriage is an enigma.
Gyles Brandreth has met all the principal players in the story; he quotes no anonymous sources; he has known the Duke of Edinburgh for twenty-five years and has interviewed him. This is a unique and revealing portrait of a remarkable partnership, told with candor and authority, and illustrated with Prince Philip’s family photographs and pictures from the Queen’s royal collection. 40 pages of illustrations.
The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen’s Childhood by Her Nanny
by Marion Crawford
Once upon a time, in 1930s England, there were two little princesses named Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Their father was the Duke of York, the second son of King George V, and their Uncle David was the future King of England.
We all know how the fairy tale ended: When King George died, “Uncle David” became King Edward VIII—who abdicated less than a year later to marry the scandalous Wallis Simpson. Suddenly the little princesses’ father was King. The family moved to Buckingham Palace, and ten-year-old Princess Elizabeth became the heir to the crown she would ultimately wear for over fifty years.
The Little Princesses shows us how it all began. In the early thirties, the Duke and Duchess of York were looking for someone to educate their daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, then five- and two-years-old. They already had a nanny—a family retainer who had looked after their mother when she was a child—but it was time to add someone younger and livelier to the household.
Enter Marion Crawford, a twenty-four-year-old from Scotland who was promptly dubbed “Crawfie” by the young Elizabeth and who would stay with the family for sixteen years. Beginning at the quiet family home in Piccadilly and ending with the birth of Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 1948, Crawfie tells how she brought the princesses up to be “Royal,” while attempting to show them a bit of the ordinary world of underground trains, Girl Guides, and swimming lessons.
The Little Princesses was first published in 1950 to a furor we cannot imagine today. It has been called the original “nanny diaries” because it was the first account of life with the Royals ever published. Although hers was a touching account of the childhood of the Queen and Princess Margaret, Crawfie was demonized by the press. The Queen Mother, who had been a great friend and who had, Crawfie maintained, given her permission to write the account, never spoke to her again.
Reading The Little Princesses now, with a poignant new introduction by BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond, offers fascinating insights into the changing lives and times of Britains royal family.
The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe
by Angela Kelly
THE OFFICIAL BOOK, FULLY ENDORSED BY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
From Her Majesty’s trusted confidant and Dresser Angela Kelly LVO comes a lavishly designed book of never-before-seen photos of The Queen, Her wardrobe and Her jewels and features intimate anecdotes from Angela’s 25-year career working closely with Her Majesty. A truly unique keepsake and collectors’ item to be treasured.
‘For the nearly seven decades of her reign, Her Majesty The Queen has used clothing to create a powerful visual identity that transcends fashion and has made her perhaps the most readily identifiable person on the planet. Angela Kelly, building on the work of the great designers and milliners who have worked with Her Majesty through the years – including couturiers Sir Norman Hartnell, Sir Hardy Amies, and Ian Thomas, and milliners such as Simone Mirman and Freddy Fox – brings her own imagination to bear on an iconic ‘uniform’ that suggests continuity and tradition, and ensures that the wearer is always the most visible person in a room or a crowd.’–Anna Wintour, Vogue
When Angela Kelly and The Queen are together, laughter echoes through the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Angela has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-five years, initially as Her Majesty’s Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen.
In The Other Side of the Coin, The Queen has personally given Angela her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Whether it’s preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty’s day with a playful joke, Angela’s priority is to serve and support. Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Angela’s own private collection – and charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it’s like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way.
‘The book documents the unique working relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and the woman who has been her Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser for more than two decades: Angela Kelly. It gives a rare insight into the demands of the job of supporting the Monarch, and we gain privileged insight into a successful working relationship, characterized by humor, creativity, hard work, and a mutual commitment to service and duty. Angela is a talented and inspiring woman, who has captured the highlights of her long career with The Queen for us all to share.’ –Samantha Cohen, Assistant Private Secretary to The Queen (2011–2018)
HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style
by Elizabeth Holmes
**THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
Veteran style journalist Elizabeth Holmes expands her popular Instagram series, So Many Thoughts, into a nuanced look at the fashion and branding of the four most influential members of the British Royal Family: Queen Elizabeth II; Diana, Princess of Wales; Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge; and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are global style icons, their every fashion choice chronicled and celebrated. With all eyes on them, the duchesses select clothes that send a message about their values, interests, and priorities. Their thoughtful sartorial strategies follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales, two towering figures known for using their personal style to great acclaim.
With one section devoted to each woman, HRH is a celebration of their stories and their style, pairing hundreds of gorgeous photographs with extensive research. A picture emerges of the British monarchy’s evolution and the power of royal fashion, showing there’s always more than what meets the eye.
Queen of the World: Elizabeth II: Sovereign and Stateswoman
by Robert Hardman
Written by renowned royal biographer, Robert Hardman, and with privileged access to the Royal Family and the Royal Household, this is a brilliant new portrait of the most famous woman in the world and her place in it.
On today’s world stage, there is one leader who stands apart from the rest. Queen Elizabeth II has seen more of the planet and its people than any other head of state and has engaged with the world like no other monarch in modern history.
The iconic monarch never ventured further than the Isle of Wight until the age of 20 but since then has now visited over 130 countries across the globe in the line of duty, acting as diplomat, hostess and dignitary as the world stage as changed beyond recognition. It is a story full of drama, intrigue, exotic and sometimes dangerous destinations, heroes, rogues, pomp and glamour, but at the heart of it all a woman who’s won the hearts of the world.
Elizabeth the Queen
by Sally Bedell Smith
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 Lilibetas 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.
The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor–the Truth and the Turmoil
by Tina Brown
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The “addictively readable” (The Washington Post) inside story of the British royal family’s battle to overcome the dramas of the Diana years—only to confront new, twenty-first-century crises
“The beach read of the summer . . . juicy, satisfying entertainment.”—Town & Country
“Never again” became Queen Elizabeth II’s mantra shortly after Princess Diana’s tragic death. More specifically, there could never be “another Diana”—a member of the family whose global popularity upstaged, outshone, and posed an existential threat to the British monarchy.
Picking up where Tina Brown’s masterful The Diana Chronicles left off, The Palace Papers reveals how the royal family reinvented itself after the traumatic years when Diana’s blazing celebrity ripped through the House of Windsor like a comet.
Brown takes readers on a tour de force journey through the scandals, love affairs, power plays, and betrayals that have buffeted the monarchy over the last twenty-five years. We see the Queen’s stoic resolve after the passing of Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, and Prince Philip, her partner for seven decades, and how she triumphs in her Jubilee years even as family troubles rage around her. Brown explores Prince Charles’s determination to make Camilla Parker Bowles his wife, the tension between William and Harry on “different paths,” the ascendance of Kate Middleton, the downfall of Prince Andrew, and Harry and Meghan’s stunning decision to step back as senior royals. Despite the fragile monarchy’s best efforts, “never again” seems fast approaching.
Tina Brown has been observing and chronicling the British monarchy for three decades, and her sweeping account is full of powerful revelations, newly reported details, and searing insight gleaned from remarkable access to royal insiders. Stylish, witty, and erudite, The Palace Papers will irrevocably change how the world perceives and understands the royal family.
All The Queen’s Corgis: Corgis, dorgis and gundogs: The story of Elizabeth II and her most faithful companions
by Penny Junor
‘It is actually a serious book, but it had me laughing out loud several times on the Tube. All mothers should receive one for Christmas.’ Marcus Berkmann, Spectator
Everyone who loves The Crown on Netflix will enjoy this celebration of Queen Elizabeth II and her beloved canine friends.
The Queen has had corgis by her side ever since she was seven years old and persuaded her father to buy one for the family. She also has several dorgis (a cross resulting from an accidental liaison between one of the Queen’s corgis and Princess Margaret’s dachshund) and is a passionate breeder of gundogs.
The dogs are the Queen’s constant companions, travelling with her by air, road and rail, from one royal residence to another. She walks and feeds them herself, chooses names for them, and at the end of their days, buries them with personalised plaques to commemorate each individual.
Penny Junor reveals the scraps and scrapes that the dogs have been involved in – the hierarchy amongst them, the corgis’ feisty attitude to footmen and guests, gardeners and innocent passersby. This fascinating and affectionate look at the Queen and her most faithful companions is a book for dog lovers everywhere about what really makes our much-loved and longest reigning monarch truly light up.
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