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For so many generations, there has been one constant public figure who has stood the test of time and weathered some of history’s most important moments. For 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has been an icon, sovereign, and the matriarch of the House of Windsor, leading the monarchy through decades of change and the ebbs and flows of popularity. The queen has led such a rich life: full of triumph, heartache, and a resolute disposition at every turn. It’s no wonder there have been so many books written about her and the royal family, and we’ve rounded up some of the very best to mark Her Royal Majesty’s passing on September 8, 2022.
With unprecedented access to royal records, personnel of the palace, and so much more, the authors of these biographies offer unique perspectives on Queen Elizabeth II you won’t find anywhere else. Some follow the queen’s reign from the very beginning following the shocking death of her father, while others chart her overseas tours, family drama, and more. Still more look at the queen’s relationship with key members of her family, like Andrew Morton’s Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters. Then there are long-spanning biographies like Queen of Our Times, which take readers from Queen Elizabeth’s life as a princess to the next chapter in the monarchy’s ever-evolving legacy.
There’s so much still to uncover about this global icon, and we hope that, for royal family fans old and new, these biographies will start to fill your bookshelf with everything you need to know about Queen Elizabeth II — long may she reign.
A version of this story was originally published in June 2022.
‘Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch’ by Sally Bedell Smith
Sally Bedell Smith’s New York Times bestseller, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, is an absolute essential for any longtime royal fan and novice royal House of Windsor historian. Bedell Smith’s biography of the long-reigning monarch takes readers all the way back to when a young Elizabeth learned she was the “heiress presumptive,” through her coronation, milestones in her reign, and so much more. From daily routines to the relationships in Queen Elizabeth II’s inner circle, this book offers the highlights of the sovereign’s decades on the throne and more.
‘Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II’ by Robert Hardman
Noted royal biographer Robert Hardman chronicles the entirety of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and beyond in his 2022 biography Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II. Everything from overseas tours to royal dinners, family struggles, and more comes under Hardman’s critical, well-researched eye. With access to records, palace personnel, and more, Hardman paints a full picture of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign — and where the monarchy goes from here.
‘The Queen: The Life and Times of Elizabeth II’ by Catherine Ryan
In our lifetime, we’ll likely never see another monarch quite like Queen Elizabeth II, and that’s the exact sentiment Catherine Ryan focuses on in The Queen: The Life and Times of Elizabeth II. From her uncle’s abdication of the throne to her foray into the spotlight and more, Ryan’s biography chronicles the highs and lows of Queen Elizabeth II’s life — both public and private. The biography includes chapters on her time as a girl, navigating royal life, and the difficult time immediately following the death of Princess Diana.
‘The Last Queen: Elizabeth II’s Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor’ by Clive Irving
Clive Irving’s The Last Queen: Elizabeth II’s Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor takes an incredibly unique approach to the royal biography form. Using the lens of an investigative journalist, Irving unpacks the highs and lows of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, and how the queen has led the House of Windsor through decades of change.
‘The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: The Poise, Grace, and Quiet Strength Behind the Crown’ by Dudley Delffs
Dudley Delffs’ The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: The Poise, Grace, and Quiet Strength Behind the Crown takes readers behind the veil of the long-reigning monarch. Delffs’ biography explores Queen Elizabeth II’s faith, and how the monarch has led the United Kingdom for 70 years. It’s an intimate portrait of the sovereign.
‘Queen of the World: Elizabeth II: Sovereign and Stateswoman’ by Robert Hardman
Another biography by Robert Hardman, Queen of the World: Elizabeth II: Sovereign and Stateswoman, takes a step back and looks at the reign of Queen Elizabeth II on a global level. Hardman’s unprecedented access to royal archives gives readers a full picture of how the monarch has ruled the United Kingdom for so many decades, and the icon’s impact on the world.
‘Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters’ by Andrew Morton
Famed royal biographer Andrew Morton gives us a wholly different chapter of Queen Elizabeth II’s life in Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters. Morton’s book chronicles the sisters’ relationship through the years, from their time as little princesses to Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne and the moments that defined their bond. This biography gives readers a completely different side of Queen Elizabeth — that of a sister.
‘Queen Elizabeth II: A Glorious 70 Years’ by Alison James
Alison James’ Queen Elizabeth II: A Glorious 70 Years takes readers on a visual journey through the life of the long-reigning monarch. Photographs and portraits detail specific moments from the queen’s life and highlight special occasions that left an indelible impact on thenation. It’s the perfect new biography to add to you bookshelf to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.
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