To write Elizabeth - published on the occasion of the Queen's seventieth birthday - Sarah Bradford has spent a decade peering behind the Buckingham Palace facade, drawing on private archives and on her unprecedented access to the royal family to produce a uniquely intimate and revealing biography of Elizabeth from her birth to the present day. ...
To write Elizabeth - published on the occasion of the Queen's seventieth birthday - Sarah Bradford has spent a decade peering behind the Buckingham Palace facade, drawing on private archives and on her unprecedented access to the royal family to produce a uniquely intimate and revealing biography of Elizabeth from her birth to the present day. Bradford has interviewed political figures, courtiers, Palace employees, and friends of the Queen - many of whom have never spoken publicly about her until now - to build up a portrait of Elizabeth as celebrity and symbol of British history, as executive and mother. In the course of her research, Bradford has uncovered extensive new private material about the Windsors, which throws fresh light on the family's many complex relationships and on the major crises in its history, such as the ill-fated affair between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend and the bitter public breakup of the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The British monarchy has undergone great changes since Elizabeth succeeded her father, George VI, in 1952, and the story of Elizabeth and her family is in many ways the story of those changes. Yet Elizabeth is not only a great family saga; it is an in-depth portrayal of a very private woman in her public and private roles. Sarah Bradford answers questions that have long been on royalty-watchers' minds: What is Elizabeth really like? How has she coped with the pressures of being an executive woman and the mother of four children? How rich is she? How does the Palace really operate? Three of her children's marriages have broken down, and there have long been rumors of turbulence in her own marriage. Has Elizabeth failed inher personal life while succeeding in her public role - and has her family's behavior undermined her widely praised performance as Queen, jeopardizing the future of the monarchy itself? In this rich and candid biography, Sarah Bradford answers such questions with unrivaled insight and with a wealth of detail about the lives of Elizabeth and the other Windsors.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-02-26 Extracts from this biography caused a furor in the British press last month, with headlines screaming of the Duke of Edinburgh's alleged infidelities and Princess Margaret's suicide threats. Following at least three major biographies of England's Queen comes Sarah Bradford, Vicountess Bangor in private life, an aristocratic insider. She has already published biographies of George VI, Princess Grace of Monaco and Benjamin Disraeli, among others. On this occasion, claiming access to private papers (which the Palace denies she saw), Bradford has written a quiet, rather sensible biography that is neither antimonarchist nor an apology for the public problems of the Windsors. Despite the headlines, she is actually as interested in the intricacies of the royal finances (known quaintly as the Civil List and the Privy Purse) as she is in the sexual shenanigans of Princesses Margaret, Diana and the Duchess of York. Her portrait of the Queen is of a superb professional. She reports on Her Majesty's hard work, her understanding of political affairs, her attention to detail and her consideration of her staff. She also finds Elizabeth to be a woman of her times and her background, for whom confrontation and emotional display are foreign and whose attempts to preserve the monarchy have, on occasion, had unfortunate results. The great majority of this detailed biography is informative and balanced?a convincing portrait of a traditional and often anachronistic way of life, as well as of a reigning monarch. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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