It was the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession on Sunday, so this week I thought I’d make recommendsday about books either about or featuring Elizabeth II. Some of these are a little tenuous… but that’s the way I role!
I’m going to start with Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader. In it, the Queen discovers the joys of reading after coming across a mobile library and borrowing a book to be polite. Soon she’s asking guests about their reading matter when they meet her and turning up late for events because she needed to read “just one more page”. It’s only a novella but it’s really very funny.
I haven’t actually read a lot of non-fiction actually about the Queen directly, although I have read various biographies of people whose lives have intersected hers. In fact the only one I could find on my reading lists is by Angela Kelly, who is the Queen’s dresser and I can’t really recommend it because I learned even less from it than is expected – and I didn’t expect much as she is still working for the Queen and the book was approved!
On a slightly surreal note, there’s a bit of Elizabeth in Darling Ma’am – which is a book about Princess Margaret that is described as “a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography” which is about right. In actual fiction, the young Princess Elizabeth makes brief appearances in various books in the Royal Spyness series, as well as in my beloved Gone with the Windsors. Elizabeth and her sister Margaret play larger roles in Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal, but I had so many issues with that I nearly threw it at the wall – only the fact that I was reading it on the iPad stopped me!
Right, thats it – I’m off to try and work out which is the best of the actual biographies of Elizabeth II and dig out the Mountbatten book by the guy who wrote Traitor King for some more Elizabeth adjacent reading. And if anyone has read the new detective novel where the Queen is solving murders, let me know what it’s like in the comments – I keep seeing it but haven’t got around to taking a look yet!
Have a good Wednesday everyone!