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-   -   "The Queen Mother: The Official Biography" by William Shawcross (2009) (http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f61/the-queen-mother-the-official-biography-by-william-shawcross-2009-a-23906.html)

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


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