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Elizabeth II was not even a teenager when, in 1936, she became "the heiress presumptive" to the throne of Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations; and she was only twenty-five when she ascended to the throne in 1951. Since then, she has ruled with dignity and often tight-lipped circumspection, which this 720-page biography somehow manages to penetrate. Author Sally Bedell Smith has an enviable track record of successfully tackling large-scale projects, having already composed lives of Princess Diana, the Kennedys, and the Clintons. Elizabeth the Queen tracks the private side of a monarch who has been under public scrutiny for more than three quarters of a century.