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  #61  
Old 09-25-2009, 04:42 AM
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some more quotes from the above The Independent review...

"Berlin's appraisal, consigned to a footnote, is untypical of William Shawcross's official biography but overlaps to some extent with the Queen Mother's own self-assessment: "a very ordinary person" and "not as nice as I seem". Shawcross's focus is not so much the Queen Mother's niceness or otherwise – the verdict, repeatedly confirmed by primary sources, is one of potent charm – but her place in British life during her 78 years as a public figure.

...this impressively researched biography demonstrates how the former Elizabeth Bowes Lyon won the public esteem which made her, alongside her husband George VI, a plausible wartime morale-booster, and how she retained the public affection won then through a further six decades.

To the sceptic, smiling royal women are ten-a-penny. But this is an anachronistic dismissal. Before Elizabeth Bowes Lyon married the Duke of York, royal women seldom if ever smiled in public. The Tsarina Alexandra of Russia was known within her family as "Sunny"; her public face was anything but. Elizabeth's redoubtable mother-in-law Queen Mary dazzled with all the jewels of Empire: she saw no reason to light up a gathering by smiling. Elizabeth's willingness to smile for ordinary people – and to do so both naturally and apparently sincerely – represents a minor revolution. It was a symbol of her ability to reach out and forge connections with those she had never met and would never know, part of a broader warmth which she deployed, for example, in the service of Britain's war effort. In Shawcross's reckoning, her radio broadcast to the women of America and conquest by charm of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt contributed to the States' eventual willingness to enter the war.

Official royal biography involves pitfalls. Inherent in the diligent chronicling of daily engagements, foreign tours and posh frocks...is the possibility of hagiography. Shawcross avoids the traps. Undeniably his biography has much of the encomium about it, but occasional flashes of mischief – he describes the Queen Mother's attitude to money as demonstrating "a certain insouciance" – help dispel the sugariness."
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  #62  
Old 09-27-2009, 05:49 PM
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It must be exhausting to be a monarchist, forever finding ways to pretend a family of cold, talentless snobs are better than the rest of us. They have to make gold out of mud. The system of monarchy – selecting a head of state solely because of the womb they passed through, and surrounding them with sycophants from the moment they emerge – produces warped and dim people and demands that we scrape before them. What's a poor monarchist to do? They can only lavish a thick cream of adjectives – "dignity", "charm", "majesty" – over the Windsor family in the hope that some of us are fooled.

Johann Hari: Gin, servants and bloodlines for royalty's Alf Garnett in a tiara - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
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  #63  
Old 09-27-2009, 06:03 PM
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well spending on that level will never happen again.
It does ring true that she was possilbly very conservative, perhaps the whole familiy is (Philip, Harry in nazi uniform at a dress up party come to mind) but most are discreet about it.

I like it that in England such articles can be published, not many countries in the world have such freedom of press.
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  #64  
Old 09-27-2009, 08:04 PM
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susan alicia, when you say "conservative" do you mean sympathetic to Nazism?

I can't see that that would be true of Philip, given his service in World War II (although there's always been talk about his schooling in 1930s Germany and his brothers-in-law). Harry, I would chalk that up more to ignorance and not thinking than a purposeful statement of his politics.

Of course, I don't know for sure.

I could see the Queen Mother being "conservative" in that she had a vested interest in keeping British government the same (and the monarchy stable) and it probably never crossed her mind that colonialism wasn't necessarily good for all the people in the "British" empire. After all, the African colonies and others like Burma and India kept giving her beautiful jewelry for her collection. They must have enjoyed giving "their" queen and empress such trinkets.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:13 PM
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I was rather struck by some criticism of the Queen Mother about the fact that she had nieces, whom she never visited, stuck away in an asylum (and may still have one in a nursing home). Back "in the day" that wasn't uncommon, and family members were often advised to forget these disabled relatives (my grandmother and aunt worked with this group from the 1950s to the 1990s).

Even in America the Kennedys chose to forget Rosemary, until Eunice Kennedy Shriver began working with special children in Special Olympics.

So I don't find this criticism particularly valid, although there was additional talk about her claiming that this didn't run in the Bowes-Lyon family. Given that the nieces had 3 first cousins from their maternal family who were also institutionalized, the QM was probably correct (although it probably wasn't very kind of her to point this out).
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:20 AM
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no, I would never say that about anybody, I would say very conservative.
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  #67  
Old 09-28-2009, 01:58 PM
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So I guess you would use "conservative" to mean dedicated to keeping things the way they are, if not even going backwards. I understand that, and from the Queen Mother's perspective (perhaps even most royals) life was pretty nice when people knew their places and deferred to your every wish. (I think most of us would prefer that, if we were the ones being deferred to.)
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  #68  
Old 10-08-2009, 01:17 PM
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How much does it cost?
Thank you
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  #69  
Old 10-08-2009, 08:23 PM
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Iowabelle is right on the mark. If you are the one being deferred to, it is good. For the rest it is nonsense.
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  #70  
Old 10-17-2009, 01:36 AM
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A biographer worth his salt must put scholarship above sentiment. It is a thankless task I am sure. Of course if you want a Hello style biography then don't visit libraries or bookshops, your local newagent will have lots of glossy glitz on his shelves.
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  #71  
Old 10-27-2009, 05:52 PM
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Reviewed in USA Today today. 'The Queen Mother': Heavy weighs the official biography - USATODAY.com

He describes the book as exhausting and exhaustive, "tedious minutia" and recommends it as fascinating but best consumed with a stiff drink. Which HM would have approved of, of course!
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  #72  
Old 10-28-2009, 01:51 PM
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My copy came today. Given we've had a death 'in the family' tonight...yes there will be alcohol consumed....
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  #73  
Old 12-05-2009, 03:23 PM
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does anyone know if it has been published in Italy? Or when it will be published?
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  #74  
Old 01-25-2010, 09:58 PM
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Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Bio

I just finished reading the 957 pages of the new bio on Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother, it was interesting, especially for me during the war years, no real great surprises.
Has anyone else read it?
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  #75  
Old 01-28-2010, 10:27 AM
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A very interesting read recieved from a good friend for Christmas. It took me a month to read it through but totally rivetting. Thank God there were no needless "revelations" about Diana. We see enough gratuatous pictures of her still!
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  #76  
Old 01-28-2010, 01:53 PM
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There were few revelations in the book at all. Did you see that Camilla's name appeared exactly once (as the spouse of APB).
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  #77  
Old 01-29-2010, 06:35 AM
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You've already raised this point at post #30.
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  #78  
Old 01-29-2010, 09:40 AM
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Thank you for pointing that out to me Warren. I did not re read the thread.
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  #79  
Old 02-01-2010, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebafan81 View Post
I just finished reading the 957 pages of the new bio on Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother, it was interesting, especially for me during the war years, no real great surprises.
Has anyone else read it?
I have, and I think it is a very interesting book. The bit that I enjoyed the most was the period that covered her as Queen Consort.

If one was looking for the tawdry scandals of the 1990s, this was not really the place.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:30 PM
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Frankly, she did not discuss the 'tawdry scandals' of the 1930's that brought her husband to the crown either. Or any major world events. I found this book to be primarily a travel book. As in 'and then Queen Elizabeth travelled to ABC country where the weather was pleasant and she met Lord XYZ wearing a lovely aqua dress'. Just my opinion.
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