Customer Reviews for

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Most approachable Royal bio I've read

Let me preface all of my remarks with this...I love the Royal Family. I'll read just about anything that comes my way about them, except for the tabloids.

That being said, I've read many books that were intellectually satisfying. I've read some terribly dry things. ...
Let me preface all of my remarks with this...I love the Royal Family. I'll read just about anything that comes my way about them, except for the tabloids.

That being said, I've read many books that were intellectually satisfying. I've read some terribly dry things. I've read tomes that were pedantic. And I've read books that were fluffy in their treatment.

And then there's Elizabeth the Queen. This is, by far, the most approachable and interesting biography of the Queen I've read. Sally Bedell Smith has written a very REAL and honest story of the Queen and her family. It is interesting and warm, not cold and plodding. I found myself hurrying home and through work and chores to settle in with this book. (I don't say that often at all.)

It is, in fact, reflective of her changed public image--from a stodgy and stand-offish monarch, to the warm and loving "grandmother" image she has grown into in the last 15 years. Definitely one I will recommend and purchase for my library.

posted by MeanOldLibraryTeacher on February 16, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

Currently reading this flattering portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II

I must say that this is a very informative book on the Queen, a much better portrayal than the author chose to give to Princess Diana.

I almost did not buy this one out of respect to Princess Diana, due to the hatchett job and armchair psycology the author chose to ...
I must say that this is a very informative book on the Queen, a much better portrayal than the author chose to give to Princess Diana.

I almost did not buy this one out of respect to Princess Diana, due to the hatchett job and armchair psycology the author chose to use to "diagnose" the late Princess. However, this one is not a surprise at all. The Queen seems at face value to be a very dedicated, hard working and genuine lady, taking her duties and responsibilites very seriously.

If only Ms. Smith had give Princess Diana the respect that she certainly deserved. So many charities, so many good works that she never wanted any recognition for. Being the superb role model for her boys that she was, they have, in turn, become the charming, responsible and altruistic men that I'm sure she would be so proud they turned out to be.

Great book on the Queen, but shame on you, Ms. Bedell Smith for trashing Princess Diana. Bi-polar? When did you get your medical degree?

posted by maccalover on January 17, 2012

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Currently reading this flattering portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II

    I must say that this is a very informative book on the Queen, a much better portrayal than the author chose to give to Princess Diana.

    I almost did not buy this one out of respect to Princess Diana, due to the hatchett job and armchair psycology the author chose to use to "diagnose" the late Princess. However, this one is not a surprise at all. The Queen seems at face value to be a very dedicated, hard working and genuine lady, taking her duties and responsibilites very seriously.

    If only Ms. Smith had give Princess Diana the respect that she certainly deserved. So many charities, so many good works that she never wanted any recognition for. Being the superb role model for her boys that she was, they have, in turn, become the charming, responsible and altruistic men that I'm sure she would be so proud they turned out to be.

    Great book on the Queen, but shame on you, Ms. Bedell Smith for trashing Princess Diana. Bi-polar? When did you get your medical degree?

    16 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2012

    Most approachable Royal bio I've read

    Let me preface all of my remarks with this...I love the Royal Family. I'll read just about anything that comes my way about them, except for the tabloids.

    That being said, I've read many books that were intellectually satisfying. I've read some terribly dry things. I've read tomes that were pedantic. And I've read books that were fluffy in their treatment.

    And then there's Elizabeth the Queen. This is, by far, the most approachable and interesting biography of the Queen I've read. Sally Bedell Smith has written a very REAL and honest story of the Queen and her family. It is interesting and warm, not cold and plodding. I found myself hurrying home and through work and chores to settle in with this book. (I don't say that often at all.)

    It is, in fact, reflective of her changed public image--from a stodgy and stand-offish monarch, to the warm and loving "grandmother" image she has grown into in the last 15 years. Definitely one I will recommend and purchase for my library.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Don't miss it!

    This was a beautifully done portrait of the Queen, one that offers rare insight into a famously private woman--something of who she is as daughter, wife, mother, grandmother. For me, it was wonderful to find even more to admire about her!

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2012

    Average

    I have debated whether to give it two or three stars. I enjoyed it for the most part but I have a few issues:
    1. I felt the beginning and middle was much more interesting than the last part. This one dragged but felt rushed at the same time.
    2. Enough with the horses! I had to skip page after page of raising and racing horses descriptions. I understand it is an essential part of the Queen's life but I don't need to know how a stallion mounts a mare.
    3. This is my biggest one. The portrayal felt extremely sympathetic. Obviously the writing is slanted. Now I am an avid biography reader and I believe authors have to respect their research subject but this was too much. Basically any bad that ever happened during her reign was not her fault. This is evident, for example, when describing her mothering skills with Prince Charles. And it is painfully overwhelming in the chapters concerning Princess Diana who is dismissed as unbalanced and trying to bring down the monarchy. And guess what? The Queen had nothing to do with anything that befell Diana or the couple.Prince Charles was appartently seduced by this troubled girl who acted one way before the wedding and another after. Everyone tried to help but Diana set out to destroy everyone. Then Prince Charles finally married the love of his life. Oh, and he didn't cheat first.
    So in the end, I would have appreciated more objective criticism but in the whole it was informative. The first half of the book is definitely better.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    The Queen Shines

    A wonderful quick read for those who are interested by the British Royal Family. A wonderful look through the eyes of outsiders and insiders into the life of Elizabeth and the daily workings of the Palace for more than 60 years.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Great book

    Wonderful book. Big fan of the royal family anyway.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Insightful and Entertaining

    I've read most of the major, modern biographies of Her Majesty and this is one of the best, if only because it does not become a biography-by-proxy of Diana, Princess of Wales 3/4s of the way through. Smith deals with this troubling time in the period of the monarchy, and Her Majesty's life, without having to bow and scrape at the altar of the woman who nearly singlehandedly destroyed the monarchy as British modern biographers seem want to do.

    Nor does Smith's portrayal gloss over Charles' infidelities. But it, rather importantly, deals with Her Majesty's reactions to the crises. The book neither supports nor attacks either of the Waleses, and it similarly does not take sides in some of the other controversies of Elizabeth II's reign: the Margaret/Townsend tragedy, the Margaret/Snowdon/Roddy business, the Andrew/Sarah problems, etc. It discusses them, lays out the facts, explains the Queen's reactions and feelings on the matter according to Smith's sources, and moves on.

    Particularly fascinating was the book's discussion of Her Majesty's relationships to her Prime Ministers. It dispels much of the rumors about her dislike for certain ones and reveals what most of us probably already suspected: Her Majesty is an incredibly smart woman, empathetic but reserved, who can get along with almost anyone. Moreover, Smith pays particular attention to the seriousness with which Her Majesty view's her role in the Commonwealth, which is quite fascinating.

    All-in-all, this is a must-read for those seeking insights into Elizabeth the Queen.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Good but not Kitty Kelly

    This book is good, but not personal enough. However it is very respectful of the Queen and I liked that, although it has too much history that I already knew and not enough human interest stories..

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Good read!

    Took this on vacation and it helped with the long hours in the airport. Both the beginning and the end felt rushed. The middle was well written but only a few nuggets of reflection on decades old events. If you are a fan of "The Firm", you should enjoy.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Oh my...

    I have just began reading this book for my honors english class. I am in ninth grade and i am only on page 16 and i love it to bits already! Great nonfiction novel. Read it! You will love it.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Elizabeth a definite thumbs up

    Good read for those of us long entranced by the royal family. The Queen is portrayed in a very human light. You really get s feel for just how complex her job is!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    This is a slanted historical biography of Queen Elizabeth II to

    This is a slanted historical biography of Queen Elizabeth II to portray her in the best possible light and sugarcoat her failures. Major events are marginalized as well as the troubles with the monarchy well before Diana sought to ruin the royals (Bedell Smith's interpretation). This is not an academic exercise of historical biography, however if you want a vanilla-coated view of the Queen and protocol...Bedell Smith enjoys mocking those who break protocol. This is the book for you.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2012

    From before she took the throne through the craziness of her chi

    From before she took the throne through the craziness of her children and to the present day, this book takes you behind the scenes of both the political and personal life of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. There are many reasons why I picked up this book, but with the royal wedding this past spring I, among others, has a renewed sense of curiosity towards the royal family and its inner workings.

    Queen Elizabeth II is destined for the throne as an heir to the throne and no male sibling, little did she know that she would be taking her place in history at the young age of 25. Newly married and still trying to find her place in the family, she takes the central role to a very large empire. She has endured many years as the centerpiece and has had to endure a lot of scrutiny and tragedy. The one piece of history that I was unaware of was the horrible year she had in 1992 with three of her children separating and divorcing, she had a year full of turmoil.

    A great book for anyone who has any interest in the life of a royal. But beware this book is a chunkster and is definitely detailed, so for those faint of heart, this one may not be the read for you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    It's a history lesson with a slant

    I wonder how the book would read if the Queen were not alive when it was written? The book was very slanted to a perfect Queen Elizabeth II. It was a tribute that is well deserved, but, as a book to inform the reader, it has no substance. Just one sided praise.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Aynonymous

    Well written book

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Great Book

    Well written , good info,loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2012

    Read only for the sake of history...or if you are royalty

    Very extensive and detailed. However, the author ADORES the queen and her family. The queen would be God's daughter if He had one. She nor her family do no wrong. If you presume they do, it just looks that way. They have a reason for everything. But no excuse for how they treated Diana, dead or alive.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Dreadful

    I ALWAYS finish a book I start, but this was so boring I had to stop less than halfway through.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2012

    Good book, but author belittles some important topics!

    I enjoyed reading this biography. The Queen is an amazing woman. I have issue with some of the topics that I thought the author made light of. A perfect example is the Princess of Wales,
    Diana. The author depicts her as a troubled, self-centered person. She was nineteen when she married the prince! She should have considered this fact when persecuting her in this book.
    There are other issues which the author did not properly address . Read for yourself and you will see. I would recommend this book for fans of the monarchy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Highly recommend

    This is a very interesting and heartfelt read. When Elizabeth became queen, England was still recovering from the horrors of WW!!. In her mid 20's at the time the book takes us through the events and changes that have occured through all the massive changes occuring in the last half of the 20th century
    including the Roval's family struggles and the changes in the British Empire.

    Now in the 2nd decade of the 21's century Elizabeth has managed to stay abrest of the changes.

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