Elizabeth The Queen by Sally Bedell Smith

65%

24 Critic Reviews

. . .the queen’s passion for her dogs and horses gets more ink than daughters-in-law Camilla and Sophie, and the monarch remains distant, her thoughts and feelings ultimately unknowable.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

“An excellent, all-embracing new biography.”—The New York Times
 
From the moment of her ascension to the throne at age twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled admiration and 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 extraordinary detail the public and private lives of one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women. In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. And we gain insight into the Queen’s daily routines, 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.
 
Scrupulously researched and compulsively readable, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of the lively, brilliant, and steadfast woman we’ve known only from a distance, and a captivating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.

With a new afterword by the author.
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“[An] imposing, yet nimbly written, biography [that] dwarfs the field . . . a most satisfying and enjoyable read, one to be savored at length.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 

About Sally Bedell Smith

See more books from this Author
Sally Bedell Smith is the author of bestselling biographies of William S. Paley; Pamela Harriman; Diana, Princess of Wales; John and Jacqueline Kennedy; and Bill and Hillary Clinton. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1996, she previously worked at Time and The New York Times, where she was a cultural news reporter. She is the mother of three children and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Stephen G. Smith.
 
Published January 10, 2012 by Random House. 688 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jan 29 2012
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Critic reviews for Elizabeth The Queen
All: 24 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 11

Kirkus

Excellent
Jan 01 2012

A microscopically detailed portrait of the reigning Queen of England.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Alan Riding on Jan 27 2012

Smith might have added depth by examining why republicanism has never taken root in Britain, why the British people feel so attached to the crown. . .

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Jan 20 2012

. . . Smith pulls fascinating details into her portrait of Elizabeth, shining a beam onto underlighted corners of the monarch’s experience.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
Dec 19 2011

. . .the queen’s passion for her dogs and horses gets more ink than daughters-in-law Camilla and Sophie, and the monarch remains distant, her thoughts and feelings ultimately unknowable.

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Washington Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Mark Kellner on Jan 30 2012

. . .filled with insightful anecdotes and asides, framed in language that is delightful as it is instructive.

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National Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Shinan Govani on Jan 18 2012

Both exhaustive and dizzying, the book goes deep into Elizabeth World and the age that she’s helped define.

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Globe and Mail

Excellent
May 25 2012

Out of the armada of books celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this may be the one royal-watchers find most compelling.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Patt Morrison on Jan 09 2012

One frustration in Smith's book is the scantiness of attribution within the chapters themselves.

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The Economist

Below average
Jan 28 2012

Smith. . .offers her readers the illusion of knowing the queen as a friend. . .before sprinkling her account with minute indiscretions from other people who have met her.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Meryle Secrest on Jan 27 2012

For the most part, Smith takes on the role of royal apologist. . .

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Oregon Live

Below average
Reviewed by Marc Mohan on Feb 04 2012

. . .the entire book feels as if it could have been authorized by its subject, and you don't have to be a voyeur to want more than that out of a book like this.

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The Daily Beast

Excellent
Reviewed by Marcus Wilford on Jan 16 2012

. . .a lighter, more gossipy tale of palace life.

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BookPage

Excellent
Reviewed by Anne Bartlett

. . .Smith convincingly describes a remarkable woman. . .

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by WBarksdale Maynard on Jan 08 2012

. . .enlivened with countless anecdotes that show Elizabeth’s human side, and, at the same time, how fond most everyone is of her. . .

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Independent.ie

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Joseph on May 27 2012

. . .a worthy addition to the shelves of royal watchers everywhere.

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Newsday

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Weinman on Jan 19 2012

The book is strongest when depicting Elizabeth's early years as queen. . .

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Mail Online

Below average
Reviewed by Jane Shilling on Feb 07 2012

. . .it suffers a little from the cautious blandness that characterises so many attempts at Royal biography. . .

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alan Riding on Jan 29 2012

...all this is well-trodden ground. Smith might have added depth by examining why republicanism has never taken root in Britain, why the British people feel so attached to the crown...

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Richmond Times-Dispatch

Excellent
Reviewed by Jay Strafford on Feb 05 2012

. . .a well-rounded and detailed portrait, a serious, occasionally gossipy but never sensationalized one.

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BuffaloNews.com

Below average
Reviewed by Mary Goldman on Jan 06 2012

She has a habit of switching from something juicy to something boring.

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My San Antonio

Below average
Reviewed by Gerard Martinez on Jan 27 2012

This kind of writing belongs in the same category of sleazy tabloid journalism that prowls for opportunity to make quick, easy bucks.

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Bloomberg

Below average
Reviewed by Craig Seligman on Jan 08 2012

. . .prose comes at you like a spray of saliva, its reverence bordering on rapture. . .

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Fredericksburg.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Peggy Carlson

An intriguing aspect of the book concerns the queen’s relationships. . .

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Toronto Sun

Excellent
Reviewed by Nancy Schiefer on Jan 15 2012

It is a portrait with some degree of depth.

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Reader Rating for Elizabeth The Queen
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Karen Eckmann

Karen Eckmann 5 Sep 2013

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