Elizabeth the Queen

The Life of a Modern Monarch

In this magisterial new biography, New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith brings to life one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women: Queen Elizabeth II.

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 Lilibet as 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.

Compulsively readable and scrupulously researched, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of a woman we’ve known only from a distance, illuminating the lively personality, sense of humor, and canny intelligence with which she meets the most demanding work and family obligations. It is also a fascinating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.

In this magisterial new biography, New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith brings to life one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women: Queen Elizabeth II.

Critical Praise for Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

“A respectful, engrossing and perceptive portrayal” Publisher’s Weekly

“This is a biography that avoids none of the difficult questions. Sally Bedell Smith asks them in a way no one else has dared.”-Nancy Milford

“Elizabeth the Queen shows the woman as well as the monarch, and helps us to understand how Elizabeth has become a key figure in the history of our times.”-Margaret MacMillan

“Elizabeth the Queen is an engaging, insightful, and altogether entertaining journey through the life and trials of the world’s most beloved monarch. By the end of Sally Bedell Smith’s winning book, I felt as if I had a new friend in Buckingham Palace.”-Tom Brokaw

“A compelling, deeply human portrait of the remarkable Elizabeth II. This is a biography not to be missed.”-Lynne Olson

The Wisdom of Queens

Queen Elizabeth portrait, Princess Kate portrait
From left: Dorothy Wilding, Camera Press/Retna;
(Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth, AFP/Getty Images)

Time Magazine
For 60 years, Elizabeth II has been a model of propriety and duty. Sally Bedell Smith suggests five things Kate can learn from her.

Love and Majesty

Queen Elizabeth portrait, Princess Kate portrait
PERFECT COUPLE Philip and Elizabeth on their honeymoon, at Broadlands, the Mountbatten estate in Hampshire, November 1947.
(Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images; Digital colorization by Lorna Clark.)

Vanity Fair
It was, in 1947, that rarest of unions: a royal love match. But though the dashing Prince Philip of Greece and the 21-year-old heiress to Britain’s throne were clearly besotted as they began a life and family together, trouble lay ahead as “Lilibet” became “Her Majesty” and the new Duke of Edinburgh chafed at his consort role. In Vanity Fair, Sally Bedell Smith describes the dynastic struggle that rocked Queen Elizabeth II’s marriage and the difficult choices she was forced to make.

Her Majesty’s A-Team

Queen Elizabeth II with Lord Charteris
Lord Charteris pictured with Queen Elizabeth II to whom he was Private Secretary between 1972 and 1977.
(Photo: PA)

The Telegraph
From the Lord who crafted her speeches to the dresser who told her to avoid green: meet HRH’s most loyal subjects in The Telegraph.