The lives of the royal sisters are affectingly revealed in Edwards's ( The DeMilles ) lengthy, crowded biography. Four years the elder, ``Lilibet,'' born in 1921, was studious and responsible even as a child--different from the blithe, entertaining and musically talented Margaret. But the two were, according to the book, loving and mutually supportive. When their uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated, the girls' parents reluctantly assumed the monarchy. Upon the death of their father, George VI, Elizabeth inherited the crown and the sad duty of forbidding Margaret to marry Peter Townsend, evidently the one love of her life. The author quotes from private correspondence and persons involved with the royal family and describes Elizabeth II's wedding and coronation gowns and jewels in nearly numbing detail. Despite the minutiae, the book, ending with the Townsend decision, leaves a lasting impression of the sisters as loyal to each other and their responsibilities. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC alternate; author tour. (Oct.)
There are plenty of biographies of both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, but this joint work covers some new ground. It describes their childhood and young adult years in more detail than previous works and explains the political backgrounds of Elizabeth's marriage and Margaret's ill-fated romance with Peter Townsend. The work is readable, interesting, and well researched; the author is sympathetic but not saccharine. Along with extensive notes and references, the book includes several important speeches and newspaper editorials. The major shortcoming of the book is that it ends in 1956; another volume that covers the years since would be welcome. Photos not seen. For general collections.-- Kath arine Galloway Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.