cover image Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History

Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History

Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald Strober. Pegasus, $35 (576p) ISBN 978-1-63936-191-5

Husband and wife biographers Gerald and Deborah Strober paint a mostly flattering portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in this updated and expanded version of The Monarchy (2002). Weaving together interviews with royal family insiders including Lady Angela Oswald, who served as “woman of the bedchamber” to the Queen Mother, the authors detail Elizabeth’s ascension to throne at age 25 and her dawning realization that “the end of her private life had come.” Interviewees praise Elizabeth’s moral rectitude and attention to protocol while shedding light on her 1947 wedding to naval officer Philip Mountbatten; her relationships with Winston Churchill, Boris Johnson, and other prime ministers; and her “determination and resilience” in the face of Philip’s death in 2021. Controversial subjects, including Elizabeth’s decision not to return to London in the immediate aftermath of Princess Diana’s death in a car crash, and Prince Andrew’s withdrawal from royal duties amid a sex abuse lawsuit, are touched on lightly. While many of the interviewees will be unfamiliar to American readers, their observations are an entertaining mix of respectful and catty. (“What would have been the public’s attitude if she’d looked like the back of a bus?” asks one about the British fascination with Princess Diana.) This comprehensive survey of Elizabeth II’s reign will delight dedicated royal watchers. Illus. (May)