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Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen: A Book Review

Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen
Author: Kate Williams
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography
Publisher: Pegasus 
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 282
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: A lively and poignant biography of the young princess who, at the impressionable age of eleven, found that she was now heiress to the throne, by the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Queen Victoria.

     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.

     My Review: Young Elizabeth and the Making of the Queen chronicles the early life of Queen Elizabeth II. In this biography, Queen Elizabeth was never meant to be a queen. However, due to the scandal of Edward VIII and his abdication, this paved the way for her ascension to the British throne. While Elizabeth was not wholly prepared for her role as queen, she played the role successfully. In over half a century, Queen Elizabeth’s role and image has remained constant.

      Queen Elizabeth’s childhood was idyllic.  Her father and mother did not provide their children with a good education because they loathed it when they were children. When Edward VIII gave up his throne. Elizabeth and Margaret knew that their lives had changed dramatically. They were in the spotlight, and Elizabeth had a duty as queen. This book  describes how Elizabeth was the poster girl, especially in WWII, and how she had to play her part. She is portrayed as a woman who is pressured to play her role well. She is very charming and photogenic. However, this biography does not cover up Elizabeth’s faults. She can be temperamental, stubborn, and unforgiving. Still, Elizabeth is a fascinating and complex woman. 

     Overall, this biography shows that behind that glamorous facade of being a queen, in actuality the role can be very lonely. This biography is very comprehensive to the average reader. While there are no new facts surrounding Elizabeth’s young life, I thought it was interesting how Elizabeth is portrayed. Elizabeth is a smart and pragmatic young woman. She learns  from tragedies in her life, especially the death of her father, about what it means to be queen. There were some chapters that I thought were irrelevant to this biography. I thought Princess Margaret’s and Peter Townsend’s romance and Princess Diana’s death should have been left out. Still, I recommend this biography to those who do not know much about Queen Elizabeth’s early life or those who want to read a different portrayal of Queen Elizabeth.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Here is a video of the author discussing her book: Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen:

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