Next year will be a major celebratory time in Great Britain. On February 6, 2012, the Queen will have sat upon the throne for 60 years, surpassed in that capacity only by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. To be published in January, a new biography, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, by Sally Bedell Smith (Random), brings the Queen’s story up to the present, including her grandson Prince William’s wedding and her triumphant state visit to Ireland. This book, of course, is not the official, definitive biography; that will have to come later. After the Queen’s demise (in Tudor times, I’d be sent to the Tower for even writing such words!), the Palace will appoint an official biographer, who will have access to her personal papers, including the diary she has kept since childhood.
Making good companion reading will be a new biography (being published in November) of the Queen’s consort, Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II, by Philip Eade (Holt). This insightful treatment covers Philip’s years as a handsome but homeless prince of the Greek royal house, his 1947 marriage to the then-princess Elizabeth, and bringing his story up to the death of George VI and the Queen’s succession to the throne.
Settle in, my little possums (quoting Dame Edna Everage), and spoil yourself with some good royalty reading.