With Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee in 2012, a lot of books and paraphernalia is sure to be released. Our Queen by Robert Hardman is first out of the gate, and there will likely be masses to follow.
What I found while reading, is that this is an incredibly touching book – funny at times, and sad at other times. And you learn quite a lot from it. (It is packed with trivia.)
Instead of it being a biography of the Queen, Hardman has opted for making a portrait of her, and various aspects of her life. In general, I am a bit so-so to this approach, because it inevitably leads to a lot of jumping back and forth on subjects that might belong together chronologically, though not on subject. But on a certain level, I think it works in this book. (There is still a bit too much jumping back and forth for me, but I can admit that that might be subjective.)
The book has had cooperation from the Dukes of Cambridge and York, which has given certain insights into the more personal side of the Queen. In addition, there has been interviews with Prime Ministers, former and current Private Secretaries and scores of others. Hardman has also utilized source material at Windsor and other previous biographies of the royals.
It is easy to read, and packed with anecdotes that makes it come to life. Some of which, I had never heard of before – such as the time on a tour of Australia, where the Queen and Prince Philip had a huge row – leading to the Queen throwing tennis shoes and other equipment after him as he was escaping through the door – in front of the camera running. The Queen apologized afterwards to the reporters with the words “As you know, it happens in every marriage.”
As a fan of Prince Philip, I am also thrilled that he is getting a proper mention in the book with all his experimenting and solar panels at Sandringham.
Allegedly, the Queen is not a huge fan of technology, whilst Prince Philip is – but if there is something she wants to learn more about when he is around, she tells him to Google it for her.
All in all, it is a good start to the royal biography race of 2012.