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iowabelle 08-06-2009 09:58 AM

"The Queen Mother: The Official Biography" by William Shawcross (2009)
 
I just read that this bio is due to be released in the UK on September 18. I wonder if there will be any surprises. Of course, I'll be flipping forward to the parts on Wallis Simpson when I get mine.

.
.

Lumutqueen 08-06-2009 10:06 AM

The Queen Mother's private recorded thoughts to be published for first time - Telegraph

An article regarding the book. :flowers:

The Queen Mother: The Official Biography: Amazon.co.uk: William Shawcross: Books

Books: The Queen Mother: The Official Biography (Hardcover) by William Shawcross (Author)

You are able to pre-order it in the UK and America.

I will certainly be buying the book. :flowers:

iowabelle 08-06-2009 01:48 PM

I do hope it's rather more critical than relying on the Queen Mother's interpretation of events. I am curious as to whether there's some information as to whether she had hoped to marry the Prince of Wales (and thus had some ill-feeling toward Wallis as a result) and why there were only two children born of the marriage (okay, maybe a tasteless area but I have an "inquiring mind").

Maura724 08-06-2009 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 976388)
...why there were only two children born of the marriage (okay, maybe a tasteless area but I have an "inquiring mind").

The only thing I've ever read on that subject was that George VI was not all that fertile because he'd had the mumps as a young man, which apparently can interfere.

I think the book sounds very interesting - I can't wait to hear her personal account on things.

auntie 08-06-2009 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 976388)
I do hope it's rather more critical than relying on the Queen Mother's interpretation of events. I am curious as to whether there's some information as to whether she had hoped to marry the Prince of Wales (and thus had some ill-feeling toward Wallis as a result) and why there were only two children born of the marriage (okay, maybe a tasteless area but I have an "inquiring mind").

Yes I tend to agree. It doesn't neccesarily mean it is the truth even if it is the Queen Mum's private recordings, it is her interpretation of the events which surrounded her life, her feelings and opinions

iowabelle 08-06-2009 11:09 PM

I also heard the mumps story and some story about fertility treatments.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Queen Mother was more Machiavellian than she is generally portrayed, but I don't think that's a bad thing. She lived through difficult times and was needed to bolster her husband. She probably would have made a great queen regnant if that had been her fate.

BeatrixFan 08-07-2009 10:40 AM

I'm suprised that the Queen gave interviews about her mother to Shawcross though I can understand the Prince of Wales doing so. Either way, I'm very excited about it - it's bound to be reliable and I'm sure fascinating.

auntie 08-07-2009 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 976514)
I also heard the mumps story and some story about fertility treatments.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Queen Mother was more Machiavellian than she is generally portrayed, but I don't think that's a bad thing. She lived through difficult times and was needed to bolster her husband. She probably would have made a great queen regnant if that had been her fate.

What does "machiavellian" mean?

Lumutqueen 08-07-2009 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by auntie (Post 976732)
What does "machiavellian" mean?

Cunning. And I agree with Iowabelle. She probably was. :flowers:

iowabelle 08-07-2009 03:53 PM

I think it would also be interesting to see what she had to say about the Charles and Diana debacle, and Camilla.

Cunning isn't necessarily a bad quality. I think she was a politician, a person who got things done without giving the impression of having done anything at all... cultivating the persona of the nation's granny gave her a lot of power behind the scenes. She was certainly the power in the family after her husband's death.

Lumutqueen 08-07-2009 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 976838)
I think it would also be interesting to see what she had to say about the Charles and Diana debacle, and Camilla.

Cunning isn't necessarily a bad quality. I think she was a politician, a person who got things done without giving the impression of having done anything at all... cultivating the persona of the nation's granny gave her a lot of power behind the scenes. She was certainly the power in the family after her husband's death.

Yes I've always wondered how QEQM took the whole scandal. Yes cunning in a good way. She was definitely the head of the household after Bertie died. :flowers:

MARG 08-07-2009 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 976388)
I am curious as to whether there's some information as to whether she had hoped to marry the Prince of Wales (and thus had some ill-feeling toward Wallis as a result) . . . . .

Good grief! Wherever did such a notion come from? I would have thought that they were polar opposites. :eek:

iowabelle 08-07-2009 06:30 PM

I have read that before she caught the less desirable Duke of York, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was trying to catch the attention of the PoW. When that didn't work out, she settled but was resentful of the lady who was eventually successful... hence the enmity toward Wallis. IMO that doesn't sound likely but it would be interesting to see if the question was asked of the QM.

EmpressRouge 08-08-2009 12:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 976902)
I have read that before she caught the less desirable Duke of York, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was trying to catch the attention of the PoW. When that didn't work out, she settled but was resentful of the lady who was eventually successful... hence the enmity toward Wallis. IMO that doesn't sound likely but it would be interesting to see if the question was asked of the QM.

I have read this many times. I have also read in more favorable portrayals that she turned down Bertie's earlier proposals because she did not want to live in a fishbowl lifestyle by marrying into the royal family. If that theory were true, then it is very contradictory the idea that she wanted to marry the heir to the throne. Again, I've heard both stories and I guess we'll never really know which one is true.

MARG 08-08-2009 06:26 AM

:previous: I don't know . . . if she was as Machiavelliian as some say I have no doubt she would have nailed that sucker loooooong before Wallis ship had sailed! :lol:

My money is on Bertie and the lifestyle they both obviously enjoyed right up to the abdication. :flowers:

iowabelle 08-08-2009 08:55 AM

I don't believe it either (and I doubt she would admit it if it were true). The Yorks really didn't participate in the splashy 1920s and 1930s society set, although the young Duchess did receive a lot of attention since she was the first young woman to marry into that generation of princes. My guess is she enjoyed the attention and the privilege but wanted to enjoy family life and her own agenda, whatever that was. I'm sure a lot of her energy was devoted to bolstering up her duke.

auntie 08-08-2009 05:26 PM

I think Queen Ingrid of Denmark was also the woman behind the man. She was called Queen of Spin. I have often read that Elizabeth Bowes Lyon wanted to hook the POW, yet she would have had to deal with his weakness for woman, and probably to deal with Wallis as a mistress. She was much happier with having Bertie faithful to her.

Madame Royale 08-09-2009 01:24 AM

This is no biased view, but I think lady royals make better figureheads than those of gentleman. They exude a confident and reassuring presence, I believe. Nurturing, in a way.

I'll certainly read the book.

Sereta 08-13-2009 07:28 PM

I can't wait to read this book. I think it'll be very interesting. There's so much we don't know about the older Royals because they lived in a time when the press wasn't so intrusive and they didn't give interviews.

Madame Royale I agree with you. I think women tend to have stronger characters and stay out of trouble (for the most part). :biggrin:

Elspeth 08-23-2009 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 976312)
I just read that this bio is due to be released in the UK on September 18. I wonder if there will be any surprises. Of course, I'll be flipping forward to the parts on Wallis Simpson when I get mine.


° ° °


.
.

I don't think there's going to be anything about Wallis that isn't the usual party line. The Queen and Charles have read and approved the draft, and they wouldn't be thrilled about anything that doesn't show Mummie as the good guy in every respect.

Thanks for the reminder, though - I need to go and preorder it!

Odette 08-24-2009 03:29 PM

What other books did Mr Shawcross write before this one?

love_cc 09-13-2009 03:32 AM

Letter reveals Queen Mother's rift with Wallis Simpson
Letter reveals Queen Mother's rift with Wallis Simpson - Telegraph

Unseen pictures of Queen Mother unveiled
Unseen pictures of Queen Mother unveiled - Telegraph

Queen Mother Blitz letter: in full
Queen Mother Blitz letter: in full - Telegraph

The Queen Mother reluctant to join Royal Family
The Queen Mother reluctant to join Royal Family - Telegraph

Queen mother's biographer who walked a fine line
Queen mother's biographer who walked a fine line | Mail Online

Skydragon 09-14-2009 12:13 PM

"Waking up this weekend felt a bit like a time warp. Vera Lynn's back on the top of the Hit Parade with We'll Meet Again aged 92. Peter Mandelson is back on the airwaves talking silkily about those wicked Tory cuts – Labour cites "reductions" – at 55. A definite sense of deja entendu there.

Most remarkable of all, that doughty old Chamberlainite appeaser, the Queen Mum, has been dusted off as a war heroine to mark publication of a new biography by William Shawcross. It is proof from beyond the grave of her formidable talent for PR, which subsequently saved the family firm."

Even in death the Queen Mother is still polishing her image | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Skydragon 09-16-2009 05:56 PM

The anguished private thoughts of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother about the abdication crisis, which haunted her for the rest of her life, are disclosed for the first time in her official biography being published tomorrow

Queen Mother's anguished private thoughts on the abdication crisis disclosed for the first time - Telegraph

excerpts:

[Immediately prior to the Abdication] "The then Duchess of York wrote to Queen Mary that she prayed every day for the King to “see reason and not abandon his people”. She added: “I am sure that it would be a great shock to everybody and a horrible position for us naturally.”

In another letter to Queen Mary, she said: “I have great faith in Bertie – he sees very straight and if this terrible responsibility comes to him, he will face it bravely.”

Immediately after the abdication...she wrote a compassionate letter to the former King even though he had ostracised her and her husband. “We are all overcome with misery and can only pray that you will find happiness in your new life,“ she wrote.

[On her becoming Queen]...the former Duchess of York was more calm. She said: “The curious thing is that I am not afraid. Inadequate, but unfrightened.”

[In a letter to Queen Mary after visiting the East End a few hours after Buckingham Palace was hit by a bomb] “I really felt as if I was walking in a dead city, when we walked down a little empty street. All the houses evacuated and yet through the broken windows one saw all the poor little possessions, the photographs, beds, just as they were left. It does affect me seeing this terrible and senseless destruction. I think that really I mind it much more than being bombed myself.”
.

queenofthelight 09-16-2009 10:36 PM

How Princess Margaret burned Diana's letters to Queen Mother | Mail Online (17/09/2009).

The Queen Mother: She loved owls, fairies and the miners. She hated oysters, LibDems and being kissed by a U.S. president. And she lived every day as if it were her last | Mail Online (17/09/2009).:smile:

Skydragon 09-17-2009 04:24 AM

The private thoughts of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, about the break-up of the Prince of Wales's marriage are disclosed for the first time in an authorised biography

Queen Mother's biography discloses thoughts about Prince Charles divorce - Telegraph

Quote:

Queen Elizabeth "utterly abhorred" the way Diana, Princess of Wales decided to "wash dirty linen in public" by covertly giving the author Andrew Morton highly sensitive details about her marital turmoil, which she also discussed in a BBC Panorama programme. She was equally disapproving when the Prince of Wales decided to admit to being unfaithful during a TV interview with Jonathan Dimbleby.

"It's always a mistake to talk about your marriage," Queen Elizabeth said in a tape-recorded interview, which was kept under lock and key in a Royal archive until the biographer William Shawcross was given access to it after being chosen by the Queen to write an account of her mother's life
A NEW official biography of the Queen Mother was condemned as a whitewash yesterday after airbrushing out her views on Princess Diana’s death and other family crises.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/...royal-history-

I think this criticism is unfair, Diana was such a short part of QEQMs life.

principessa 09-17-2009 04:33 AM

Daily Telegraph: "Queen Mother on 'abhorrent' Diana, Princess of Wales":

Queen Mother on 'abhorrent' Diana, Princess of Wales - Telegraph

Iluvbertie 09-17-2009 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeatrixFan (Post 976726)
I'm suprised that the Queen gave interviews about her mother to Shawcross though I can understand the Prince of Wales doing so. Either way, I'm very excited about it - it's bound to be reliable and I'm sure fascinating.

As this is an authorised biography it is far from reliable as their are vested interests in what can be included and what can't be.

A reliable biography of the Queen Mum won't come out for another 50 years or so when all those who knew her personally have passed and historians are truly able to write without the monarch of the day having final approval.

MARG 09-17-2009 08:13 AM

:previous: In a strange sort of way I think this is a reliable biography. That she chose to gloss or rather skate over the failed marriages of he three eldest grandchildren says it all.

She came from an era when writing letters was an art and she was a really good story teller which probably explains the burning of a lot of her private letters by Princess Margaret. It would never have occurred to her that they would be read by strangers or even worse, published!

It also explains her reference to
Quote:

"It's aways a mistake to talk about your marriage,"
and her abhorrance of the way the Wales' chose to
Quote:

"wash dirty linen in public"
Whilst she obviously consented to being interviewed, it is an absolute certainty that she would never ever have discussed what she considered private with anyone.

As to the lack of letters from Princess Diana, I have always wondered whatever happened to Diana's half of the the correspondence between them. That they have never been published in any expose seems to indicate that they really did share a private and intimate relationship. Basically none of our business.

scooter 09-17-2009 01:02 PM

The author also only mentioned Camilla a single time and did not discuss Charles' 30 year affair with her, so I think it's safe to say there is some whitewashing going on. Having lived through the whole Edward/Wallis drama, QEQM must have been concerned about a repeat, when it was clear that Camilla was not a passing fancy. One would think there would be some discussion of that situation. I pre-ordered the book on Amazon and am waiting by the mail box.

Wisteria 09-17-2009 05:10 PM

To parody Hardy when talking to Laurel, Wallis was definitely a different kettle of fish from Camilla who could never be compared to Wallis.

Iluvbertie 09-17-2009 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARG (Post 992731)
:previous: In a strange sort of way I think this is a reliable biography. That she chose to gloss or rather skate over the failed marriages of he three eldest grandchildren says it all.

She came from an era when writing letters was an art and she was a really good story teller which probably explains the burning of a lot of her private letters by Princess Margaret. It would never have occurred to her that they would be read by strangers or even worse, published!

It also explains her reference toand her abhorrance of the way the Wales' chose to

Whilst she obviously consented to being interviewed, it is an absolute certainty that she would never ever have discussed what she considered private with anyone.

As to the lack of letters from Princess Diana, I have always wondered whatever happened to Diana's half of the the correspondence between them. That they have never been published in any expose seems to indicate that they really did share a private and intimate relationship. Basically none of our business.


Your very argument shows why the biography isn't reliable - because of what isn't there.

A reliable source is one which is able to deal with the good and bad, both sides of the story and not leave out bits that don't fit the wishes of the authorising authority.

It might be telling the Queen Mother's version of things, the side of her mother that the Queen wanted told but it can't be reliable because it is authorised and therefore stuff has to be left out or glossed over.

Mermaid1962 09-17-2009 11:34 PM

I tend to agree, Skydragon. Queen Mother lived for over 100 years, many of which were quite dramatic for the lady herself and for her nation. Diana was part of the public world for 17 years, which isn't a lot of time in the scheme of things. The Express seems to be stating things in a way to make maximum impact.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skydragon (Post 992675)
Daily Express | UK News :: Diana axed from royal history

I think this criticism is unfair, Diana was such a short part of QEQMs life.


queenofthelight 09-18-2009 02:42 AM

So what did she really think of Diana? The full, acrimonious story glossed over by the Queen Mother's new biography | Mail Online (18/09/2009).

Iluvbertie 09-18-2009 04:42 AM


I am glad that there isn't a lot on Diana in this biography as it means that it will be concentrating on the important parts of the QMs life.

By the time Diana was on the scene the QM was over 80 and her main contribution to the life of the nation was in the past and that is what the book should be about her life.

Skydragon 09-18-2009 04:59 AM

Trust The Mail! :cool:
Quote:

We learn little of the Queen Mother’s views of the Charles and Diana crisis, which threatened to destabilise the monarchy, and nothing at all of her role in it. Yet by common consent, that role was pivotal
Quote:

One former lady-in-waiting is on record as explaining her impatience with Diana was based on her disappointment that ‘a girl from a good family could have taken on marriage to the heir to the throne without understanding the implications’.
‘I know she’s very young,’ she said, ‘but she ought to have known better.’
Their interpretation of this is -
Quote:

The ‘implications’ that the Queen Mother was referring to involved her old-fashioned view of a traditional aristocratic marital order in which ‘men have affairs, women do not.
:rolleyes:




Warren 09-18-2009 06:25 AM

For those members who can recall the discussion of Princess Margaret's relationship with the Queen Mother, there's a teaser in this quote from The Telegraph:

The 1,096-page biography describes how:
* She had a sometimes difficult relationship with Princess Margaret, who was "not always kind" to her mother.


We await further details with interest! ;)

.

Skydragon 09-18-2009 02:19 PM

The Queen Mother has provoked a royal dust-up from beyond the grave after her biographer accused radio doyenne Jenni Murray of being 'pathetically' critical of the royal figurehead.Author William Shawcross criticised the popular broadcaster during an interview on Radio Four's Woman's Hour yesterday when she questioned him over the former monarch's health and 'profligate' spending habits.

Princejohnny25 09-18-2009 02:45 PM

I was about to go to my local bookshop and buy a copy but I've only just learned it comes out on the 20th of October in the states. I'll just have to keep my checking this forum for the good details.

scooter 09-18-2009 05:52 PM

Prince Johnny, you can pre order it on amazon and it will arrive at your house on day one! :-)

Marsel 09-18-2009 07:46 PM

The Queen Mother was right to criticise Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Quote:

The Queen Mother belonged to a different era - one in which the Royal Family kept their Edwardian private lives distinctly separate from their very public roles. Newspapers, and particularly the ravenous tabloid press of the 1980s, changed all that. But was Prince Charles guilty of sucking up to and encouraging the media? Of course he was, and you can hardly blame him given Diana’s easy manipulation of public opinion. So the Queen Mother’s advice and example was, in retrospect, as wise as you’d expect from a woman that lived to her 102nd year.

Mermaid1962 09-18-2009 09:07 PM

I tend to agree with the Queen Mother, even though I was born 62 years after she was.;)


Quote:

Originally Posted by Marsel (Post 993450)


MARG 09-19-2009 10:49 AM

:previous: I find all the whinging about the lack of chapters covering the disintergation of the marriages of her daughter and three eldest grandchildren utterly repugnant and totally irrelevant.

This is the biography of a woman whose life spanned a century of incredible change . . . . . . from universal sufferage to Millenium Wheels. Official tours took months of sailing on Britannia and then just days of flying and finally just hours in the air. She went from first flight of man to man on the moon, Concords, Shuttle flights and International Space Stations! She lived through two World Wars and and an exceptionally "Cold" war immediately after. She watched the rise and fall of Communism and Fascism.

She met innumerable heads of state and international royalty, met and entertained a long list of British Prime Ministers. She watched with horror and loss during the Irish Troubles and was mercifully spared the horror of home-grown terror cells and Bus and Subway bombings.

This woman met all the truely great movers and shakers of the 20th Century but no, all that pales into insignificance when measured against prurient curiousity about her family's dirty linen! Which to be honest, hardly rates a footnote in history let alone a toe print in her biography. That is her biography, not some sordid little muck-raking rag and, as with her cancer scare, private.

We have all had our pound of flesh. We are not entitled to a drop of blood! :bang:

queenofthelight 09-19-2009 10:58 AM

The Queen Mother? That spiteful old soak dedicated herself to making our lives hell | Mail Online (19/09/2009).

Thomasine 09-19-2009 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by queenofthelight (Post 993625)

They, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, did not need the Queen Mother to make their lives hell. They managed that very well on their own!

:argh:

Odette 09-19-2009 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARG (Post 993624)
:previous: I find all the whinging about the lack of chapters covering the disintergation of the marriages of her daughter and three eldest grandchildren utterly repugnant and totally irrelevant.



We have all had our pound of flesh. We are not entitled to a drop of blood! :bang:

Oh Marg, but it makes such a more amusing reading to read about things we better understand and feel closer to..:flowers:

scooter 09-19-2009 10:07 PM

It's only relevant MARG, in that the same situation, exactly, resulted in Elizabeth Duchess of York becoming Queen. I find it interesting that you dont consider the exact same issue with her grandson, 1st in line to the throne, to be relevant.

Warren 09-20-2009 01:31 AM

:previous:
Not quite exactly. You are overlooking the political situation in 1936. The Prime Minister advised the King that marriage to Mrs Simpson was unacceptable to the government and to the governments of the Dominions. The King was told that he could not have both the throne and Mrs Simpson as his Queen. Charles was given no such ultimatum. Nor did Charles's second marriage threaten to lead to a full-scale constitutional crisis, as did the marriage of the King and Mrs Simpson.

That being said, the Shawcross book does have some glaring gaps in the narrative which is disappointing as I think most of us expected more from an authorised biography.

MARG 09-20-2009 03:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thomasine (Post 99683)
Quote:

Originally Posted by queenofthelight (Post 993625)

They, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, did not need the Queen Mother to make their lives hell. They managed that very well on their own! :argh:

You said it! What a pair of vicious carping wastrels.

Does anyone know if Elizabeth really did love one brother and marry another? Given the evidence of her personal correspondence (which, when she was actually writing them could never have predicted would be published) her letters talked of her reluctance to enter the fringe of Royalty it just doesn't seem credible.

Did they move in the same circle before her marriage? Since the Duke and Duchess of York seemed to be living an almost idyllic life of family and friends I can't see that they would have shared the same circle of intimates?

My own thought is that given the age difference she, like hundreds of others, probably had an adolescent crush on "the dashing Prince of Wales".

Quote:

Originally Posted by scooter (Post 993796)
It's only relevant MARG, in that the same situation, exactly, resulted in Elizabeth Duchess of York becoming Queen. I find it interesting that you dont consider the exact same issue with her grandson, 1st in line to the throne, to be relevant.

. . the exact same issue ? I don't think so!

There is an entire generation between the two Prince's of Wales. I am sure that had Charles not married younger and decided to marry a woman of Camilla's age his family and probably the government would have persuaded him otherwise.

Charles first marriage, as with so many others, failed and a divorce ensued. He does, however have two children and so the sucession is assured. :whistling:

RubyPrincess168 09-20-2009 04:24 AM

The Girl Who Would Be Queen › Vogue's Click to View: The Latest Trends and News in Fashion on Style.com

US Vogue has an excerpt.

Westminster 09-20-2009 04:46 AM

i have a feeling that cookie (QM) was the dominant part in the relationship between her and george vi. i personally don't think its right that one person have to give up everything and 70 years later its no big deal if the prince of wales marries his divorced mistress. i mean its a very long time but Margaret wasn't allowed to marry Townsend because he was divorced, right? i personally never understood why a prince of wales or member of the royal family shouldn't marry a divorced person because good old henry viii. made the same and formed his own church because of that. paradox.

Mermaid1962 09-20-2009 02:56 PM

I'm actually thankful that this biography doesn't dwell a lot on matters that have been under constant discussion for the last 20 years. Not everything is about Charles and Diana and Camilla.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARG (Post 993624)
This woman met all the truely great movers and shakers of the 20th Century but no, all that pales into insignificance when measured against prurient curiousity about her family's dirty linen! Which to be honest, hardly rates a footnote in history let alone a toe print in her biography. That is her biography, not some sordid little muck-raking rag and, as with her cancer scare, private.

We have all had our pound of flesh. We are not entitled to a drop of blood! :bang:


Warren 09-20-2009 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 (Post 994067)
I'm actually thankful that this biography doesn't dwell a lot on matters...

The problem with Shawcross giving so little away about the Queen Mother's attitude to Diana (and Camilla) is that it leaves a vacuum which will be filled by both informed and ignorant speculation as to the reason why. Obviously there would be some confidantes of the QM who know exactly what she thought, and they were probably interviewed by Shawcross as part of his research.

Some will claim the subject has been "whitewashed" to protect Charles. My own view is that it's more likely the decision was made to leave out most of this material in consideration for William and Harry. Reading the gory details of their great-granny's perhaps unflattering opinion of their beloved mother would not be pleasant. It's not very kosher from the historical perspective, but understandable in the circumstances when there are living members of the immediate family who could be deeply affected by what was written.

To ensure that as many parties as possible are protected from this type of situation I believe the personal diaries of Elizabeth II will not be made available for publication until something like fifty years (it could even be more) after her death.

Odette 09-20-2009 05:34 PM

:previous:It makes absolute sense.
After all those "tell all" books and teary interviews with the media, I believe by now we all have a clue as to how the QM felt about a lot of
issues.
There was also the tidbits Sophie shared with the "Arab Sheik" about Charles and Camilla's relationship and time of a possible marriage.:whistling:

Elspeth 09-21-2009 01:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Princejohnny25 (Post 993353)
I was about to go to my local bookshop and buy a copy but I've only just learned it comes out on the 20th of October in the states. I'll just have to keep my checking this forum for the good details.

You can order it from Amazon.co.uk and get it long before the middle of October. My copy is already on the way.

Like iluvbertie, I'm not expecting anything much other than a bit of flesh on the bones of what we already know. As long as the monarch of the day has some say in biographies written with the help of material from the Royal Archives, I think we'll have to wait till the end of Charles's reign, if not William's, before a truly balanced account appears. While the Windsors are far from blameless, the Queen Mother seemed to carry vindictiveness to very unusual extremes in that regard, and I'm fairly sure that this book won't be the one to go into any great details there. Also, my interest in the Queen Mother regarding Charles and Diana isn't about what she thought when the two of them were splitting up, it's her motivation in bringing them together. Again, this probably won't be the book where we see it in any detail, but circumstances suggest rather strongly that the Charles-Diana relationship was in large part the Queen Mother's attempt to maintain significant influence over Charles in the face of Mountbatten's attempt to have Charles marry one of his granddaughters. Going back to the Windsor days, if not before, the Queen Mother didn't have much trust in Mountbatten, and not only did he manage to get his nephew married to one heir to the throne, he made a pretty determined attempt to get a granddaughter married to the next heir. But since the Charles-Diana match was such a high-profile failure (and it was clear from the start that they had precious little in common), I don't think we'll be hearing much about how Grannie was the main reason they got married in the first place.

Maura724 09-21-2009 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Warren (Post 994124)
To ensure that as many parties as possible are protected from this type of situation I believe the personal diaries of Elizabeth II will not be made available for publication until something like fifty years (it could even be more) after her death.

Are there any laws or rules about when diaries have to be released? If not, who makes the decision about when they're released - the royal family themselves?

Warren 09-21-2009 06:46 PM

:previous:
The Queen would entrust her diaries and personal papers to the Librarian of the Royal Library in Windsor Castle (the Librarian is a member of the Royal Household).
Certain documents would be marked "not to be released until..." and those instructions would be followed to the letter.
No doubt the Librarian already has quite a sizeable collection of Elizabeth II's private papers securely stored.

This is why I believe the destruction of Queen Victoria's diaries by Princess Beatrice and the destruction of some of the Queen Mother's correspondence by Princess Margaret was needless historic vandalism. The documents could simply have been placed in the custodianship of the Royal Librarian to ensure they would lie securely for half or a full century before seeing the light of day. Princess Beatrice at least transcribed parts of her mother's diaries but the papers destroyed by Margaret are lost to history forever.

Iluvbertie 09-22-2009 06:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Warren (Post 994590)
:previous:
The Queen would entrust her diaries and personal papers to the Librarian of the Royal Library in Windsor Castle (the Librarian is a member of the Royal Household).
Certain documents would be marked "not to be released until..." and those instructions would be followed to the letter.
No doubt the Librarian already has quite a sizeable collection of Elizabeth II's private papers securely stored.

This is why I believe the destruction of Queen Victoria's diaries by Princess Beatrice and the destruction of some of the Queen Mother's correspondence by Princess Margaret was needless historic vandalism. The documents could simply have been placed in the custodianship of the Royal Librarian to ensure they would lie securely for half or a full century before seeing the light of day. Princess Beatrice at least transcribed parts of her mother's diaries but the papers destroyed by Margaret are lost to history forever.


The person in question can destroy the lot of course. Edward VII instructed that his diaries be destroyed and they were.

iowabelle 09-23-2009 11:28 AM

Perhaps Margaret was concerned that William and Harry would be upset by more revelations. As I know, even when you're an adult, criticism of your parent can be a very painful experience.

I think it's pretty evident what the QM thought, by refusing to have Diana's name mentioned in her presence, even by Lady Fermoy.

Skydragon 09-25-2009 04:20 AM

On 7 July 1959, Isaiah Berlin described a dinner party with Maria Callas and the Queen Mother. "I thought the QM not indeed particularly intelligent nor even terribly nice," he wrote, "but a very strong personality – much stronger than I thought her – and filled with the possibility of unexpected answers."

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, By William Shawcross - Reviews, Books - The Independent

Warren 09-25-2009 04:42 AM

:previous:
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."

Skydragon 09-27-2009 05:49 PM

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

susan alicia 09-27-2009 06:03 PM

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.

iowabelle 09-27-2009 08:04 PM

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.

iowabelle 09-27-2009 08:13 PM

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).

susan alicia 09-28-2009 03:20 AM

no, I would never say that about anybody, I would say very conservative.

iowabelle 09-28-2009 01:58 PM

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.)

Princess Alix 10-08-2009 01:17 PM

How much does it cost?
Thank you

COUNTESS 10-08-2009 08:23 PM

Iowabelle is right on the mark. If you are the one being deferred to, it is good. For the rest it is nonsense.

Hereditary Thane 10-17-2009 01:36 AM

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.

iowabelle 10-27-2009 05:52 PM

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!

scooter 10-28-2009 01:51 PM

My copy came today. Given we've had a death 'in the family' tonight...yes there will be alcohol consumed....

lallettac 12-05-2009 02:23 PM

does anyone know if it has been published in Italy? Or when it will be published?

Rebafan81 01-25-2010 08:58 PM

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?:flowers:

wymanda 01-28-2010 09:27 AM

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!

scooter 01-28-2010 12:53 PM

There were few revelations in the book at all. Did you see that Camilla's name appeared exactly once (as the spouse of APB).

Warren 01-29-2010 05:35 AM

:previous:
You've already raised this point at post #30.

scooter 01-29-2010 08:40 AM

Thank you for pointing that out to me Warren. I did not re read the thread.

muriel 02-01-2010 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rebafan81 (Post 1044453)
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?:flowers:

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.

scooter 02-01-2010 08:30 PM

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.

Ducii 09-07-2010 11:07 AM

I started reading few days ago. It is very interesting, full of informations ...it is written very well, but I read it slowly. I'm not english-native-speaker so 1000 pages is a big amount for me:-D but I'm happy that I could have bought it in shop there not via the internet.

pgm1952 06-29-2011 11:04 PM

The biography was very informative and covered her entire life in great detail, but it was saddly lacking in those touching and funny annecdotes one so often hears associated with that great lady. A good biography should bear some resemblance to the person it is about, both in tone and span of life. There is some of the charm but none of the sparkle that the Queen Mother had in life within this very official biography.

XeniaCasaraghi 07-04-2011 11:21 PM

I was skimming through the book and I didn't find it that interesting or worthwhile. It seems for such a long book and a long life; that the book is quite boring and doesn't give any worthwhile information.

PrincessKaimi 07-06-2011 03:04 PM

Wow, Xenia, I loved it - devoured it actually. I don't know her life well or at all, so I thought there was quite a bit of sparkle - and the biography kept to a path that allowed it to be acceptable to Royal family members (one can't expect a tell-all book to do that).

I thought it was highly interesting. I had no idea the Queen Mother had the role she did in nursing/helping WW1 wounded - or how her family got its reputation for running the kind of hospital/respite that they did.

IloveCP 07-06-2011 04:36 PM

It was kind of a bummer that WWI was annonced on her 14th birthday.Not exactly a fond memory when you look back.And it was also very sad when her brother died in the war.

Elly C 07-08-2011 03:28 PM

I 've just finished reading the biography. I really enjoyed reading about her earlier years, but the chapters devoted to her life as the Queen Mother I found were rather bland - I lost the sense of the woman behind the State visits & many patronages. Like many have already commented in this thread, some of the major upheavals in more recent years are glossed over. I agree with pgm152:previous: it is a "very official biography"

Aliza 07-29-2011 10:01 PM

I hate to say it, but William Shawcross' biography of Queen Elizabeth is absolutely one of the worst I've ever read in that genre. While he provides much information and plenty of detail of a trivial sort - one finishes the very long book with no sense of the person behind the public image.

For example, he spends much time chronicling the intricate and lengthy courtship of the then Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and how she kept refusing his proposals - but he never tells you much about why she hesitated and even more annoyingly says nothing about what made her finally say yes!:bang:

I have seldom been this disappointed in any book and reading is my main indulgence. I am just glad I was able to get it at the library instead of purchasing the heavy volume.

If anyone here has read Hugo Vickers' biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, I would much appreciate an opinion about it. Having read many Vickers' works before, I find it hard to believe it is not more incisive than Shawcross' bland, boring and court circular-like account of one of the most fascinating women of the twentieth century but I'd love some "reviews" before I go to the trouble of ordering it as these books are not easy to purchase where I live! Thank you. :flowers:

Aliza 07-29-2011 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zonk (Post 1275424)
I have never read the Shawcross book but in books that I have read regarding the BRF, they make no mention of an actual proposal just rumours of one.

I just finished reading the Shawcross book and believe me, Zonk - you're not missing anything; it's easily the worst biography I've ever read, not to mention the hardest on the hands with its weight.

By any chance did you read the Vickers' biography of QEQM? I don't want to go through the trouble of ordering it if it's as bland as Shawcross'.

Now back to the thread topic; I was wondering if anyone knows the story behind Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon's childhood nickname of Buffy?

XeniaCasaraghi 08-01-2011 07:14 PM

I'm reading Ann Morrow book on The Queen Mother from the mid 80s. Just started the book and so far it is ok. The 2009 biography I can never get my hands on at a library because it is very popular.
You know I have never heard of anything about Elizabeth's siblings after she got married and then eventually became Queen.

Aliza 08-01-2011 09:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by XeniaCasaraghi (Post 1296196)
I'm reading Ann Morrow book on The Queen Mother from the mid 80s. Just started the book and so far it is ok. The 2009 biography I can never get my hands on at a library because it is very popular.
You know I have never heard of anything about Elizabeth's siblings after she got married and then eventually became Queen.

In the 2009 Shawcross bio, you're not going to find much about her siblings after marriage, either. As I posted on another thread, it is the worst biography I have ever read. An endless recitation of facts but very little about the whys behind the facts. For example, he spends much time on the chronology of the courtship between Bertie and Elizabeth, but never really gets into why she refused him so many times and even more frustratingly - he doesn't give one single word of explanation as to what changed Elizabeth's mind and why she did finally say yes to Bertie's proposal.

I knew very, very little more about QEQM after all of those pages that I didn't know before. As a matter of fact, I think the Morrow book is a better biography, especially when one considers the sources available to Shawcross in the Royal Archives and that he was not given a single restriction as to what he could write.:bang:

If you do read it, I'd be curious to hear your opinion of this book. I don't believe it is just my impression as on Amazon.com the reviews had many of the same complaints that I do - and I didn't read the reviews until after I read the book and formed my opinion. I'm trying to find someone who has read the Vickers book, also published after QEQM's death. It is rather hard to find here, though!

XeniaCasaraghi 08-01-2011 09:28 PM

WoW! The 2009 book is nothing but facts recited? That sux because the book is so HUGE I expected facts along with explanations, opinions, personal POVs etc.
In the Morrow book, I believe the earliest chapter starts off with the author stumbling across Elizabeth II weeding her mothers garden. It is so adorable.
On the previous page an article about TQMs bad points was posted. I just want to say that as a black woman I can't fault Elizabeth for being racist, she was born in 1900 and I really wouldn't expect anything else from someone born at that time. I'm sure there were exceptions to racism and bigotry, but TQM seems to have harbored ideas the same as the majority when it came to minorities.

Aliza 08-01-2011 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by XeniaCasaraghi (Post 1296281)
WoW! The 2009 book is nothing but facts recited? That sux because the book is so HUGE I expected facts along with explanations, opinions, personal POVs etc.
In the Morrow book, I believe the earliest chapter starts off with the author stumbling across Elizabeth II weeding her mothers garden. It is so adorable.

I really enjoyed the Morrow bio, too. To be fair to Shawcross, the letters he includes that were written by the QM as Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon are wonderful reading. It's a good biography up until she meets the Duke of York.

I was also curious to read about QEQM's famous relationship with her brother, David, but other than in childhood, David Bowes Lyon only rates one or two passing mentions after the Royal Wedding!

It is so long and very heavy, so I too expected a wonderful read and great new material. I'm going to try the Vickers book and see if that is any better.

IMHO, the biggest failing is there is just absolutely no indications on what made HM "tick"; nothing about her psyche, no penetrating insights as to HM's character, just very little about the person behind the public face other than endless comments on HM's "style of living" being Edwardian. I didn't need to read a book that long to figure that out!:lol:

I'm just really glad I didn't spend any money on it but waited for it to become available at the library.

IloveCP 08-01-2011 09:59 PM

I think the reason why Shawcross did'nt explain why QM changed her mind about Bertie's proposal and,other things is,there is no record of her personal feelings.Shawcross wanted to keep the book acurate as possible and did not want to disrespect QM by putting his own words.We may never know what her personal feelings are about some things but,we should respect that since we would'nt like it if our lives were exposed to everyone.

XeniaCasaraghi 08-01-2011 10:21 PM

One reason Elizabeth said no to Albert was because she didn't want her life to be exposed to everyone. But 80% of her life was just like that especially when she became Queen of England. I just find it insane to write a 900 page book and provide nothing new about your subject; one job of a historian is to write and review the facts and when there is little to know information about a certain event to provide theories and speculation on what might have or did occur. To review a persons character and use that review to fill in some of the blanks. Usually there is not a definitive answer as to why something happened or why a person behaved in such a way, so the people researching them have to try to figure out the "why"; and from the reviews Shawcross just listed events and didn't tell a story.
I think the reason this official biography is so scarce, according to some, is because the author didn't want to offend the Queen; we will either have to wait a couple of more decades to hear the truth or wait until someone who isn't afraid of pissing off the royals to take a crack at writing a biography.

Erin9 08-01-2011 11:08 PM

It figures this would be my first post. I found this place because of my interest in and respect for George VI after watching The King's Speech. (That being said, as a history major, I've always been interested in how the monarchy shaped history- in particular England and Russia.)

That being said, I flipped through the Shawcross bio at the bookstore the other day and was also struck by his lack of conclusions as to why QEQM said "no" several times and what made her change her mind. That's what I'd been looking for!!lol

Still, I did glean some interesting info, having read through the letters:

** QEQM's family was reticient about her marrying Royalty (I believe her mother, specifically) because of all she'd give up--though her family adored Albert. IIRC, QEQM also addresses the freedoms she was giving up.

** They stayed friends AFTER she said "no"--and she seemed to REALLY want that. Interesting. She wasn't ready to say "yes", but she couldn't let go or really push him to move on either. She let him just keep coming. (And it doesn't seem to me that respect for his status drove that either.)

**This is obvious, but, he just wouldn't give up!! Very persistent young man when it came to knowing what he wanted. He seemed to know they'd make a good match, and all evidence of their life together suggests he was correct.

** There is no evidence at all that the Duke's family pushed her to say "yes". They seemed to stay out of it.

**She had plenty of other wealthy, desirable suitors should she have chosen one of them.

**She constantly speaks of being very "happy" once the decision is made-and admits to being surprised that she'd made it.

Maybe she just had trouble settling down. It certainly seems that she wasn't ready to commit to living such a public life. Also, due to the Duke's shyness, I suspect getting to know him took some time. But, that's conjecture.

I read somewhere that the first time that he proposed to her that he did it via someone else per family tradition, and that was a reason she said no the first time. I don't know if that's "fact", but I know I've read it somewhere. Evidently, later QEQM wrote to a friend of the Duke's thanking him for his advice to propose in person.

While all of this doesn't explain exactly what was going on, it does provide SOME answers as to what the issues were--and what they were not. I doubt we'll ever know it all.

Aliza 08-02-2011 12:44 AM

Welcome to the Royal Forums! I, too found my interest in Royalty emerge from my studies of history.

That said, having read every last word of the Shawcross biography twice :bang: I definitely think Shawcross came to different conclusions from some of yours listed above.

1)Elizabeth Bowes Lyon's mother was actually "for" the match; very much so and even refers to it as a "dream" when corresponding with Mabell, Countess of Airlee. (This surprised me, too.)

2)While they did remain friends after the rejection of his proposals - Elizabeth wrote to the Duke and told him that she should have realised he would see their continuing friendship as encouragement and she didn't want him to be further hurt.

3)I agree that her Mother did not interfere much at all, but my impression is that Elizabeth knew this match would please her parent.

4)You're absolutely correct; Lady Elizabeth had the pick of almost any eligible man in Britain! What a tribute to her charm, beauty of character, and loveliness!

5)I saw how Shawcross discussed her happiness after she changed her mind; my problem is that as he had unrestricted access to the archives - it was important to dig and discover (as much as possible) the REASON Lady Elizabeth changed her mind. (Did you catch the part where Lady E writes in a letter that she doesn't think she is capable of falling in love?) Very interesting stuff that Shawcross could have pursued, IMHO.

6) I think Shawcross did a good job on the point of Lady E's reluctance to lose her more casual and fun-loving lifestyle. If you noticed in my posts about this I have noted the best work Shawcross did was from Lady E's birth up until the engagement and marriage. After that, the public image prevails to an extraordinary degree for an official biography. Even much older authorised biographies such as Harold Nicolson's of George V and Wheeler-Bennet's of George VI were able to penetrate their subjects psyche to a good extent and one feels an understanding of both monarchs upon completing the respective books.

I'll be very curious as to your opinion when you read the whole book, if you decide to pursue it. As noted above, I'm looking to the Vickers' biography to see if there is a more complete portrait of one of the most fascinating women of the last century. I would also recommend the bio by Penelope Mortimer, though it lacks the usual respect one becomes accustomed to in Royal biographies. Mortimer at least asks the hard questions even if her answers don't always seem to ring true to me, but that is a very personal opinion.

Good to see another historian here!:flowers: Do you have any particular interest in other members of the BRF outside of George VI and his Queen Consort?

Aliza 08-02-2011 12:48 AM

For an older biography, but one that "takes the gloves off" a bit, try Penelope Mortimer's bio of QEQM; I believe it was published in 1987 or 1988. If you are interested and have trouble finding it, send me a personal message and I will find my copy so I can give you the exact title. Mortimer certainly wasn't afraid to offend anyone, and even went too far, IMHO - but with all the hagiography surrounding the QM, it's valid to look for a more critical work to balance out the picture.:flowers:

Aliza 08-02-2011 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IloveCP (Post 1296291)
I think the reason why Shawcross did'nt explain why QM changed her mind about Bertie's proposal and,other things is,there is no record of her personal feelings.Shawcross wanted to keep the book acurate as possible and did not want to disrespect QM by putting his own words.We may never know what her personal feelings are about some things but,we should respect that since we would'nt like it if our lives were exposed to everyone.

I certainly would never want an official biographer to put words in his or her subject's mouth but I do think part of good biography is revealing the inner person, as much as possible. IMHO, Shawcross didn't even try. As QEQM was a prolific letter writer and very open in her letters before her engagement - I think he could have done a better job in this department.

Interestingly enough, George VI specifically told his Queen that his diaries, upon his death, were to be relegated to the Royal Archives and NOT made available to historians and biographers. The interesting part is this: In one of the very few times, QEQM disregarded her husband's wishes and allowed his biographer complete access to all of his diary as she felt it was important for the British Public to see the inner man. Therefore, I don't think HM would have had a problem with those parts of her life being exposed since she recognised the importance of portraying the "man behind the King" during the writing of George VI's biography. Of course, that's just my opinion and I could be very wrong!:flowers:

Tsaritsa 08-02-2011 02:10 AM

Aliza, IIRC, Mortimer was the first author to reveal an iron fist beneath the velvet glove-it caused quite a furore when it was first published. To my eternal regret, I gave away several Royal biogs to my local village fete, I hope whoever bought them enjoyed them as much as I.

Aliza 08-02-2011 05:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tsaritsa (Post 1296345)
Aliza, IIRC, Mortimer was the first author to reveal an iron fist beneath the velvet glove-it caused quite a furore when it was first published. To my eternal regret, I gave away several Royal biogs to my local village fete, I hope whoever bought them enjoyed them as much as I.


I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who appreciated Mortimer's work. One has to admit; there have been many sugary skims over the top of QEQM's life in the guise of biography and while I understand the reason for the furore when Mortimer published, though I did not agree with it, there has to be some balance introduced for the sake of historical scholarship if for no other reason.

The lady is dead now and can not be hurt anymore. As Shawcross emphatically states he was given no parameters (in his words, "on the contrary, I was encouraged to write exactly what I wished") and as he had unfettered access to the Royal Archives, there just doesn't seem to be any reason for the type of hagiographical biography he produced!

While I'm waiting for the Vickers' book, I am going to reread Mortimer; maybe between Mortimer and Shawcross I can get more of a sense of who this lady was when the doors closed and she was alone....

Thanks, Tsaritsa, for reminding me of how enjoyable Mortimer's bio truly is.:flowers:


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