Pan paperback (2 July 2010)
Macmillan; first edition (17 Sep 2009)

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Strathmore, was born on 4 August 1900. It might reasonably have been expected that she would lead a life of ease and privilege but few could have imagined the profound effect she would have on Britain and its people.

Queen Elizabeth's long life spanned the whole of the twentieth century and this official biography tells not only her story but, through it, that of the country she loved so devotedly. She first came to prominence after the announcement of her engagement to Prince Albert and she brought a sense of ease and informality to the Royal Family, both privately and in public. Becoming Queen Consort in 1936, after the crisis of Edward VIII's abdication, she was unstinting in her support of her husband, now King George VI, and would continue to be so throughout the turbulent years ahead. Indeed, during the Second World War, Queen Elizabeth, the King and the Princesses came to embody Britain's resistance against her enemies.

But her greatest challenge was to come. In 1952, George VI died of lung cancer, leaving Queen Elizabeth a widow at only fifty-one. And though her support of him is often noted, his of her is perhaps too often overlooked. She was devastated but, true to her nature, determined to carve out a new role for herself as Queen Mother, which she did – to splendid effect – for the next fifty years.

Drawing on her private correspondence and other hitherto unpublished material from the Royal Archives, William Shawcross vividly reveals the qualities that endeared her to those who knew and loved her personally and to the nation as a whole. Her zest for life, whether on a Royal Tour or at Royal Ascot, her devotion to duty and her love and patronage of the arts are all here but so, too, is a sense of the person beneath the facade: the witty girl who endeared herself to soldiers convalescing at Glamis in the First World War; the assured young Duchess of York; the Queen, at last feeling able to look the East End in the face at the height of the Blitz; the Queen Mother, constant and supportive to both her family and her country throughout her long widowhood.

Published by MacMillan in September 2009.

'Totally absorbing and highly readable'
'A wonderful book...authoritative, frank and entertaining'
'A spectacular 1,096-page journey across the entire twentieth century through the eyes of a thoughtful woman'

Click here to download a list of links to online articles about this book (Microsoft Word document).


website © William Shawcross 2018
design by
aerta 0844 884 1707/ 07976 629435