Picks and Pans Review: Elizabeth: a Biography of Britain's Queen
by Sarah Bradford
When a dog belonging to one of Queen Elizabeth's private secretaries died some years ago, she wrote the man a four-page letter of condolence; yet when one of the private secretaries died, she could not bring herself to write to his widow. As queen of a people famous for emotional reserve, the frosty Elizabeth may represent the best, and worst, of the British character.
A woman who adheres to duty as a way of life, the monarch has never been comfortable guiding her family. She has worried over the fate of all her kin—especially that of her younger sister, Margaret, and her eldest son, Charles. But from a desire to avoid confrontation, she has let family crises simmer, as she did when her sister wanted to marry the divorced Peter Townsend and her son resumed his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
In this insightful biography, Bradford confirms rumors that Prince Philip has been unfaithful, but never mind that. "On one dreadful occasion," she says, Elizabeth's pack of corgis fought with the corgis owned by the Queen Mother with fatal consequences for one royal canine. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30)
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