Thursday, July 25, 2013

Her Majesty - Robert Hardman

Those of you uninterested in the happenings of royalty should skip this post.  Actually, you should probably have skipped the Internet this week.  In case you missed it (seriously, how could you?), the royal baby entered the world on Monday.

Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge now sits third in line for the throne.  This is the first time in decades that this many generations have been lined up.  That fact is due primarily to the title subject of this book.

In a bit of fortuitous timing, I completed Robert Hardman's biography of Queen Elizabeth II on the royal birthday.  (Ok, I'll admit, I pushed myself through the last few pages just so I could revel in the connection.)  If you have been around the blog since the early days, you know of my adoration for all things royal.  I even read an unauthorized biography of Will & Kate's love story back in 2011.  For me, it's an indulgence verging on obsession - and I'm ok with that.  So I spent a good part of Monday and Tuesday watching a live feed of hospital doors.  Who cares?  So did a whole bunch of other people.

At least I also invested time in understanding why the monarchy remains an important part of British government.

Hardman offers an overview of the Queen's life and responsibilities apart from scholarly works which have already been written.  He speaks much more colloquially and informally, though he steers far clear of tabloid-style gossip.  For me, he struck a great balance.  He kept the material interesting and engaging without focusing on the salacious.

Considering my lifelong love of British royal history, I found myself surprised by how much I learned from Her Majesty.  I think this can be racked up as another case of me being unfamiliar with recent history.  Most significantly, Hardman demonstrates the breadth of the Queen's activities, the modern role of the royal family and how it has developed, and the significance of the Commonwealth.

Hardman was granted several key interviews which made the book not only more reputable, but also more enjoyable for us royalists.  Prince Andrew - Duke of York and the Queen's second son - and Prince William - Duke of Cambridge, Queen's grandson, second in line for the throne, and new father - both offered perspective into the Queen's life and work.  From the amount of content from each of them, I guess they only had one meeting each with Hardman.  Still, having the personal, familial touch really did add something to the work.

The release of this book fell in conjunction with the Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years of Queen Elizabeth's reign.  Her time on the throne has encompassed some remarkable changes not only in Britain, but the world.  There have been a few rough patched, but, overall, the Queen has guided the transitions well and remains beloved by millions.  The place of the royal family looks entirely different now than it did at the start of her reign.  And, yet, these changes appear to be for the best.  With the birth of a new prince and the global love for his parents and ancestors, the House of Windsor seems poised to enter a new era with grace and class.

Pages: 384
Date Completed: July 22, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment