Book Review

‘Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen’ by Kate Williams

yetmoaq kwSTORY: We can hardly imagine a Britain without Elizabeth II on the throne. It seems to be the job she was born for. And yet for much of her early life the young princess did not know the role that her future would hold. She was our accidental Queen.

Elizabeth’s determination to share in the struggles of her people marked her out from a young age. Her father initially refused to let her volunteer as a nurse during the Blitz, but relented when she was 18 and allowed her to work as a mechanic and truck driver for the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was her forward-thinking approach that ensured that her coronation was televised, against the advice of politicians at the time.

Kate Williams reveals how the 25-year-old young queen carved out a lasting role for herself amid the changes of the 20th century. Her monarchy would be a very different one to that of her parents and grandparents, and its continuing popularity in the 21st century owes much to the intelligence and elusive personality of this remarkable woman.

REVIEW: This book starts with the birth and celebration of the young Princess Elizabeth. It discusses the stubbornness of David who enjoys the playboy life and refuses to give up the twice-divorced, Wallis Simpson, which finally results in him abdicating the throne. This leaves Bertie to take over in his place. Bertie has always been a very shy man with a stammer. This makes him terrified of any public speaking. His wife, Elizabeth, is very supportive of him and her vivacious nature makes her a very popular royal.

Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, have led a very private life which consists of the nursery and their governesses. While the public loves them, their parents don’t allow them to be seen very often. It isn’t until Elizabeth is a young teen before she is allowed to have her own suite of rooms. The King is very protective of his girls and he and Elizabeth insist that the girls dress alike even though they are not young children. They enjoy playing in the gardens. Their daily schedule is quite strict, but a huge criticism is that there are not enough hours spent on their education.

When World War II starts, things change that ends up with them experiencing rationing just as others do. The sisters do their part by making things for the soldiers. They even learn how to protect themselves when there is bombing.

We learn about Elizabeth meeting Prince Philip and all about his background. Theirs can be called love at first sight. For Elizabeth, there is no one else. After their marriage, Elizabeth soon gives birth to Prince Charles followed by Princess Anne. It is a number of years before she has their third child.

When Bertie dies, the Princess is on vacation with Philip in a remote part of Africa so it takes some hours before she learns that she is now the Queen of England. The preparation for her coronation is very detailed and it is with great bravery and dignity that she pledges herself to her people.

I have read many books about the royal family and Queen Elizabeth. This one looks at her life from a different angle and is very educational about the history of the family and the daily life of the Queen from the time she was a child until she attained the Throne of England. I never tire of learning more about the Royal Family and highly recommend this book.

Connie for b2b


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