Wednesday 6 May 2020

Book Review: Queen Elizabeth II by Rod Green

Last Updated: 16 October 2021

Queen Elizabeth II by Rod Green book cover

AD* | She has reigned for more than a half-century: this is the story of Queen Elizabeth II, the dramatic world events she’s witnessed, and the people she’s encountered.

Throughout her 66-year reign - the longest of any British monarch, and the longest of any current monarch in the world - Queen Elizabeth II has become a symbol of stability in a rapidly changing world. Her life has borne witness to the fluctuating fortunes of the Windsors, from the dramatic abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII, when she was just 10 years old, to the scandal surrounding Princess Margaret’s doomed love affair and the tumultuous relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. 

Rod Green explores the personal and political intrigues that have dogged the House of Windsor, including the Queen’s fascinating relationships with prime ministers from Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden to Margaret Thatcher. Set against the colourful backdrop of key events - such as the Great Smog that brought London to a halt in 1952, the IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten during the Northern Ireland Troubles, the crisis triggered by the death of Princess Diana, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the recent marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, and the changing face of world politics - this is the story not only of the head of a dynasty but also a history of our times.

The history of Britain's monarchy is captivating, and it's a rich tapestry woven with colourful characters, exciting events, and more than its fair share of scandals. From the Tudors to Queen Victoria, each monarch and each period has added to the overall picture of their country's past - yet today, our current monarch has reigned longer than any other British monarch. With such a long life - both on and off the throne - Queen Elizabeth II is a remarkable woman and a truly fascinating head of the royal family.

This book serves as a complete compact guide to the Queen's life and reign, providing concise and clear snippets of information about the key events and other notable individuals she has encountered during her time on the throne. It's detailed without being unnecessarily lengthy, yet it's still highly interesting and engaging to read.

Also featured in the book are concise biographies detailing the lives of some of those closest to the Queen, from members of her immediate family to politicians, prime ministers, and key players from across the world. This helps to give context to some of the events outlined in the book, as well as providing a useful starting point for further reading on these important individuals.

I found the book fascinating and very much enjoyed reading it and learning more about Queen Elizabeth II. The only downside for me - and the reason why I didn't feel able to give the book the full five stars - was that I thought it could have focused a little more on the Queen herself rather than devoting quite so much space to other individuals and events. Of course, these are important and did play a role in the Queen's own life, but I do feel the balance was perhaps a little uneven at times.

Overall, though, this book is a brilliant introduction to the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II and its compact nature makes it ideal for dipping in and out of on the go.

Rating: 4 stars

This compact guide is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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