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Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II Hardcover – 17 Mar. 2022
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The Amazon No. 1 Bestseller and Sunday Tmes Bestseller
The definitive biography of Her Majesty The Queen by one of Britain’s leading royal authorities.
'Sensational' - Kirsty Young, BBC1's The Platinum Pageant
'This is a beautifully-crafted, deeply informed and rounded portrait of the gold standard monarch and the age to which she has given her name. Queen of Our Times has depth, feel and insight in abundance’ - historian Peter Hennessy
With original insights from those who know her best, new interviews with world leaders and access to unseen papers, bestselling author Robert Hardman explores the full, astonishing life of our longest reigning monarch in this compellingly authoritative yet intimate biography.
Elizabeth II was not born to be queen. Yet from her accession as a young mother of two in 1952 to the age of Covid-19, she has proved an astute and quietly determined figure, leading her family and her people through more than seventy years of unprecedented social change. She has faced constitutional crises, confronted threats against her life, rescued the Commonwealth, seen her prime ministers come and go, charmed world leaders, been criticised as well as feted by the media, and steered her family through a lifetime in the public eye.
Queen of Our Times is a must-read study of dynastic survival and renewal, spanning abdication, war, romance, danger and tragedy. It is a compelling portrait of a leader who remains as intriguing today as the day she came to the throne aged twenty-five.
Robert Hardman has written a truly exceptional biography of an equally exceptional monarch, rich in new material, wit and original thought. With intimate and unrivalled access to those who really know the story, Queen of Our Times not only gives us the real Elizabeth II, but it also reminds us, often movingly, that we are living through one of history’s greatest reigns. ― Andrew Roberts
A compendious new biography . . . closely observed . . . I relished the incidental details. ― The Times (Book of the Week)
Hardman’s exhaustive and endlessly enthusiastic biography paints a vivid picture of a phenomenal sovereign. ― The Telegraph
Authoritative . . . scrupulously well researched, thoughtful and sensitive to the sweep of history. ― Mail on Sunday
Revelatory . . . Queen of Our Times shows why her extraordinary lifetime of service should be celebrated, honoured and cherished. -- William Shawcross ― The Spectator
About the Author
- Publisher : Macmillan; Main Market edition (17 Mar. 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 704 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1529063418
- ISBN-13 : 978-1529063417
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Dimensions : 16.4 x 5 x 24.2 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 5,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
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Small details, lawyers would explain, which explains the entry of Netlix’s new courtier, the Duke of Sussex, better known as Prince Harry, now married to former actress biracial Meghan Merkle, out to gain his quick 30 pieces of silver and pound of flesh from his new ally against his "racist”, penny pinching family, that it is “fictional, but loosely based on the truth”. It sounds almost Orwellian “double speak” that inaccuracy or falsehood is better than the truth, and as cynical and wicked as Goebbels’ statement that the biggest lie often repeated is always remembered as the truth. Sadly it is irresponsible, and damning. Will Sussex realize what he has said that the hurt which prompted his dear mamma’s separation, and then to her untimely death in Paris in August 1997, was based on further lies first instigated by the rogue BBC journalist, Martin Bashir, and later by the loud angry voice of Harrod’s owner, Mohammed Al Fayed, demanding his playboy son be added into the establishment’s murder of Blair’s “People’s Princess”?
Many past journalist tales’ goals are short term and immediate. Why listen to immovable republicans such as Polly Toynbee who demands the monarchy’s abolition and make “Elizabeth the Last” a matter of principle? Down below, both monarchist former Premier Tony Abbott, and strong republican Julia Gillard are united and question the sense of destroying something valuable and of good for the Commonwealth on a whim. When last arrival US President Biden met the Queen he was the 14th US Head of state (or the fifth Pope since Pius XII) she had got to know – a treasured walk for Obama of past experiences for the present and a lasting stable future, something all statesmen only dream about. The very rational Germans indeed have even concocted the novel particular term “die Queen” (with no plural) for this monarch, as something unique to the standard word die Königin, the female royal head of state, and wife of a king.
Much of the stories that the Queen is uneducated, disinterested in art, only interested in dogs and racehorses, is stereotypical, and might have been fashionable at the start of her reign when even the much besotted Churchill considered her an inexperienced “girl”, a “priggish school-girl”, whose speaking manner was according to Lord Altrincham was “a pain in the neck”, but twenty, thirty and more years later, that was entirely was a different person.
She has been described as an “imperial ostrich”, an uncaring mother, and as in Morgan’s The Queen (2006) the cause of a dysfunctional family: with three out of four children with failed marriages, a frustrated navy officer, and two grandsons kept so long at Balmoral away from the crowds. False on all accounts: her true two loves aside for the close feelings for her Welsh corgis and her horses which make her more humane, have been like that of her father, her own family, and the family of nations, the Commonwealth, which is not as Markle has stated, and the US historian, Caroline Elkins, has repeated a rebranded imperialist racist British Empire. Her two families survive despite the crises because, for the author, she is prepared to make “small steps”, and contrary to the journalist view, they are not reactive, but innovative and proactive to changes hurled by radicals in society. Her greatest obstacle for decades was her mother, who saw change like the first private secretary Sir Alan “Tommy” Lascelles, as the road back to 1936, abdication and disaster, but more as Altrincham guessed by some of her immovable, stuffy male staff.
Some difficulties, the Queen wisely imagined with her profound religious faith, would gradually fade from the memory into history, such as that of the heir and his mistress now the Duchess of Cornwall, or less important the second marriage of the Olympian Princess Royal; others the last concerning the negligent favourite Duke of York, Prince Andrew, and his devious associates, and sadly with her grandson Harry and his wife who chose to undertake schemes without first getting the approval of her first, have forced more clean break decisions. The present fear is seeing a spread of statues of the Queen and her ancestor being knocked down as happened in Winnepeg, Canada.
For ex US President George W Bush “she takes her job (and all jobs) seriously. But it seems to me that (behind that cold exterior) she doesn’t take herself too seriously”, so she can truly take a deep breath when real difficulties arise as with the deaths of her mother and sister, Princess Margaret, in 2002, and her dear Philip in April 2021, but particularly during the “annus horribilis” in 1992 when Windsor Castle went up in flames, and if statues must fall, her solution, be strong and let it be.
She is serious in her love for the Commonwealth often at loggerheads with many of the policies of her British Premiers, such as the Europhile Heath, Thatcher and Blair, having visited all but two of the countries – the exception of two new members Rwanda and the Cameroons. Years later they have come to be conscious as Julia Gillard related, that the so-called divisions between the female monarch and a female Prime minister were obviously more due to typical intolerant, greedy misogyny of male newspaper editors, pressing for a “catfight” headline, something which the Commonwealth must be constantly aware to avoid. They in turn, however, from Mandela have shown more than a respect, an admiration for this old monarch, but gladly in 2018 fully approved the choice of her son as her successor.
In times of emergencies and happy moments she has always been dependable to be present, to say the right words and put on a professional show as at the start of the London Olympics of 2012, after the tragedies of the London bombings in 2005, and to appear via zoom conferencing with the coming of the pandemic and lockdown after February 2020 when people seemed lost in fear by their politicians, no longer understanding what was happening, and what best should be done. Stability, like her families, has been the well-tried and successful noble answer.
Elizabeth, Lilibet to those nearest to her, has total loyalty to the country and to her family, showing profound solidarity towards her son’s religious views on defending all faiths in Britain and making them her own. She even sees the concern for nature in our planet first expressed by her husband, readily accepted by her son in the 1980s, and more recently, even by his son William, the Duke of Cambridge.
So, as “our granny queen” for children’s writer Sir Michael Morpurgo, she is now very content, happy and relaxed, as her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria was, to stand aside for she has laid the solid foundation for the next three sovereigns, demonstrating a steady development in style from her philatelist grandfather, George V, she called “Grandpa England”, through the war years of his son, her loving father George VI, to her much misunderstood and maligned son Charles III, possibly on towards his successors William V, and George VII to end of the century. What more can a proud mother, grand mother and great-grandmother wish? Which is not a bad legacy for someone thought to be dumb; who had never gone to school; and accused of bringing up a dysfunctional family.
One name, naturally, will always be overlooked, but should any unexpected disasters materialize the past with the uncrowned king will not be repeated due to the constitutional changes with the abolition of male primogeniture, and the future sovereigns no longer required to be believers of the Protestant faith.
There is also the likelihood of a new growing closeness and understanding in future with Harry and the granting of his son, Archie, and daughter, Lilibet, both the HRH insignia as well as a welcomed title, if that is still desired, as is possible with the current rules which are still much unknown to the very unprepared Harry, much less understood by his foreign distrusting wife with a precise political agenda. The heir, unlike the present sovereign, has had plenty of time to learn and successfully follow the life of his former wayward ancestor, Edward VII, after many years of waiting. He will be fortunate to have good stand-bys in his authoritative, no-nonsense sister, Princess Anne, and his calm youngest brother, Edward, the current Duke of Edinburgh, formerly the Duke of Wessex. Most of all, unlike his great uncle, David, the Duke of Windsor, he will have the steadfast support of his own loving Queen and consort too, which his mother, Queen Elizabeth, now truly desires, and wishes all subjects to know and to be whole heartedly accepted for the future.
Robert Hardman’s Queen of Our Times easily presents any interested readers with the needed answers in a simplified fashion. It gives new life to all members of Windsor family, and hopefully gives British monarchists and republicans alike a new vision of a prepared future which many nations with remaining monarchs across the continent, as well as large and small nations across the Atlantic carefully watch both with concern, and a little envy. Britain can become great again with its proven Elizabethan “soft power”, and with that tolerance and understanding Premier Johnson hopes it will bring a new fine age for all.
It is all thanks to Our Queen. God save her successors, and all her Commonwealth subjects!
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Thank you and well done