Friday, January 20, 2023

Book Review: The Queen: Her Life by Andrew Morton

Pages: 441
Genre: Biography
Pub. Date: November 15, 2022
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "#1 New York Times bestselling biographer Andrew Morton provides the definitive, most comprehensive account of Queen Elizabeth II's legendary reign.  Painfully shy, Elizabeth Windsor’s personality was well suited to her youthful ambition of living quietly in the country, raising a family, and caring for her dogs and horses. But when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated, she became heir to the throne—embarking on a journey that would test her as a woman and queen. Ascending to the throne at only 25, this self-effacing monarch navigated endless setbacks, family conflict, and occasional triumphs throughout her 70 years as the Queen of England. As her mettle was tested, she endeavored to keep the monarchy relevant culturally, socially, and politically, often in the face of resistance from inside the institution itself. And yet the greatest challenges she faced were often inside her own family, forever under intense scrutiny; from rumors about her husband’s infidelity, her sister’s marital breakdown, Princess Diana’s tragic death, to the recent departure of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Now in The Queen, renowned biographer Andrew Morton takes an in-depth look at Britain’s longest reigning monarch, exploring the influence Queen Elizabeth had on both Britain and the rest of the world for much of the last century. From leading a nation struggling to restore itself after the devastation of the second World War to navigating the divisive political landscape of the present day, Queen Elizabeth was a reluctant but resolute queen. This is the story of a woman of unflagging self-discipline who will long be remembered as mother and grandmother to Great Britain, and one of the greatest sovereigns of the modern era."


Andrew Morton, most notably known for his explosive biography written with Diana's cooperation, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, now focuses his latest biography on none other than Queen Elizabeth II and her remarkable 70 year reign. Morton starts with Elizabeth's childhood, her budding romance with Philip, her family dynamic, and her sooner than expected rise to the throne due to her father's illness.  Morton gives us a glimpse of Elizabeth as a young woman and especially focuses on her relationship with her mother and sister, which I found fascinating. Her mother can be overbearing and extremely lavish, which I wasn't aware of know about. Often times, Elizabeth would try to avoid confrontation (now is a great time to take her dogs for a walk, yes?) than actually face her mother or other family members. I think this behavior definitely carried over into motherhood and beyond. As the years progress, Morton takes us through her marriage, her responsibilities as a new sovereign, and how she had initially had difficulty balancing it all. Morton continues highlighting Charles marriage to Diana, the subsequent unraveling of their marriage, Camilla's hold on Charles, and the behind the scenes events at the palace after Diana's untimely death. Lastly, Morton continues on to William, Harry, and the latest events in the Royal Family including Prince Andrew's debacle. All in all, it was a comprehensive, well researched biography that kept me flipping the pages. Although I have read a few biographies on the Queen, I felt Morton provided some insights that other biographies didn't. The Queen: Her Life shouldn't be missed by Royal family lovers! 

It's hard to comment on every aspect of The Queen: Her Life as it was a long biography that spans almost ninety years, but a few things really stuck out for me. The portions focusing on Prince Philip were very well done and I always appreciate all he did for Queen Elizabeth. Playing a supporting role isn't always easy, but he did it very well and for many years. Also, the section regarding Elizabeth and her part with the ATS during WIII was very interesting and provided some details I wasn't aware of. I also found the section focusing on Charles and his upbringing very telling. It definitely shed some light as to his behavior and actions later on in life as well as the current rocky relationship with Harry. The section focusing on Diana's death and how the Palace reacted was also very insightful. There were a lot of blunders that went on behind the scenes and it was interesting to see how the Queen went on to correct them or minimize the damage. I think ultimately all of the Queen's struggles humanizes her and makes her relatable as a mother, a wife, and admirably, a woman with extreme dedication to her country. 

Despite her many successes over the years and her great working relationships with many a prime minister, her family had many difficulties over the years. Morton takes us through each scandal in The Queen: Her Life and how the Queen reacted. Readers can't help but feel for all the drama she had to endure through the years. Could you imagine dedicating your life to service and always trying to do the right thing, but your family around you are behaving like imbeciles half the time and constantly bringing all the drama to your doorstep. It had to be trying. Also, I read The Queen: Her Life before I listened to Prince Harry's Spare and it definitely gave me another perspective to some of the scenes he laid out in his memoir.

One thing is for sure, I have always respected, admired, and been a fan of Queen Elizabeth II and after reading The Queen: Her Life, it has given me even more of an appreciation of her 70 years of service. Fans of the Royal Family will definitely want to add this memorable biography to their collection.

So, are you a Royal watcher? Is The Queen: Her Life on your TBR list? Are you a fan of Morton's previous biographies? Let me know in the comments below.



  1. The Queen was quite an amazing woman - think of all she had seen and done! I've read one biography of her but I'd love to read more.

    1. Completely agree! I was in awe. I hope you get to read another bio of hers soon. Thanks for visiting!


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