The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II

Ben Pimlott, Author
Ben Pimlott, Author John Wiley & Sons $30 (668p) ISBN 978-0-471-19431-6
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-471-28330-0
Paperback - 440 pages - 978-0-00-734849-7
Paperback - 408 pages - 978-0-00-734848-0
Hardcover - 650 pages - 978-0-00-638319-2
Hardcover - 650 pages - 978-0-00-711436-8
Paperback - 794 pages - 978-0-00-747662-6
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Pimlott (Harold Wilson) speculates that the 71-year-old Elizabeth II could become the last British sovereign. He views the queen as bringing nothing to her role but continuity. Despite political and societal upheaval since she ascended the throne in 1952, she has opted, in his view, for cautious passivity, permitting the monarchy to become, at best, a bore and, at worst, a perch for celebrity royals who inspire unflattering media coverage. Pimlott sees squandered opportunities for meaningful metamorphosis of the throne in the failures of the queen to exploit her limited powers but unlimited mystique, but he concedes her dedication to duty as she perceives it in a period of imperial decline. Although his research comes up with nothing strikingly new, Pimlott colorfully describes here the fading of the fantasy that once sustained the ceremonial monarchy. He is less compelling when he lavishes pages on political minutiae meant for his British audience but likely to make Americans yawn. Illustrations. (Sept.)
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