From her childhood to her role as the longest-reigning monarch in Great Britain, there’s still much to learn about Her Majesty the Queen. The day of the queen’s death, Sept. 8, 2022, will live on in the minds of the British people. Her funeral took place at Westminster Abbey on September 19, and a committal service at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle followed. The queen was laid to rest and interred with her husband, Philip, in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.

The death of the queen resonated far beyond the borders of Great Britain—a true testament to her enduring influence on the public consciousness. She was not only a figure beloved for her colorful attire, her love for corgi dogs, and her distinctive sense of humor, but a monarch who stood to represent a significant period of British history: 70 years and 214 days to be exact. Throughout the many changes experienced by the nation—world war, the rise of an increasingly diverse populace, Brexit—Queen Elizabeth was a constant. She met with innumerable politicians and significant figures from nations around the world, yet she always remained an accessible and compassionate figure for her own admiring British public.

With the queen’s death, a wealth of new titles devoted to her life and legacy are hitting the shelves. As the U.K. and nations worldwide grieve a cherished public figure, authors reflect on the end of an era. And when one long chapter ends, another begins as King Charles III takes the throne alongside his second wife, Camilla. What follows is a roundup of recent, forthcoming, and backlist books that honor Queen Elizabeth, as well as other titles that focus on the lives of royal families from the past and look to the future of the monarchy.

A Legendary Lifetime

The Platinum Queen: Over 75 Speeches Given by Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch (Atlantic Books, July)

Jennie Bond and Derek Wyatt

This photograph-filled, 256-page volume, published in honor of her Platinum Jubilee, features every one of Queen Elizabeth’s major speeches. These include all 70 of the Christmas speeches and her address to Congress in 1991—Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to deliver such an address—as well as six additional speeches delivered by the queen over the course of her reign. The Platinum Queen is the first title to present all of Queen Elizabeth II’s speeches in full within a single volume.

Jennie Bond, who writes a moving foreword to the collection, is more than familiar with Queen Elizabeth II and her contributions to the storied history of Britain. A broadcaster, journalist, and BBC royal correspondent, she is also the author of the book Elizabeth: 50 Glorious Years. Coauthor Derek Wyatt was a member of Parliament for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Kent, from 1997 to 2010.

The speeches are organized chronologically from 1952 to 2021 across seven chapters, which represent the seven decades the queen served on the throne. Meanwhile, the many captivating photographs, 130 in total, from childhood until her final days, fully bring Her Majesty to life.

For easy browsing, the book also includes a “speech finder,” which divides the speeches by themes, including “love,” “charity,” and “community,” among others. This allows readers to easily locate and bookmark favorite speeches and inspiring passages.

Each decade is introduced through original essays that place the speeches within the context of unfolding historical events while also providing insights into the many seasons of the queen’s professional and private life. The essays emphasize how the queen displayed resilience and intelligence from her childhood on. Anecdotes include both highly publicized moments as well as those more quietly personal. For example, as Wyatt shared with PW, “[the queen] was schooled at home with a number of well-known tutors. They did their job well. She was not intimidated by her prime ministers and especially enjoyed the weekly visits of Sir Winston Churchill and Harold Wilson.” Her early temperament of ease and gentle self-assuredness would continue throughout her life of service.

The queen was also instrumental in reestablishing the value and significance of the monarchy, and this collection examines this monumental accomplishment. But, above all, the speeches and essays highlight the queen’s unshakable integrity and commitment in the face of an unwavering public gaze. Even when confronted with enormous challenges both within the nation and her own family, she was a beacon of hope and stability. “She kept her word,” Wyatt says. “A rarity in public life. She said she would serve the nation. And she did.”

Whether as a keepsake treasury or a much thumbed-through coffee-table book, readers looking to gain a deeper appreciation of Queen Elizabeth II as an orator—as well as a broader look at British history—will find much to cherish in The Platinum Queen.

Past and Future Legacies

The Queen: The Life and Times of Elizabeth II (Chartwell Books, 2018)

Catherine Ryan

"Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust,” said Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation speech on June 2, 1953. The words echo as a reminder of the queen’s steadfast commitment to the people of the U.K. In a stirring biography of Queen Elizabeth II, Ryan presents a thorough account of her life. Ryan examines the queen’s early childhood years and the unexpected abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII, in 1936, an event that would change the course of her life forever. Readers will learn about Princess Elizabeth’s contributions to the war effort—she served in the armed forces and trained as a mechanic—as well as her changing roles over time. During her decades as queen, she would meet with 15 British prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. This fact, in and of itself, is a striking testament to the history-spanning nature of her reign.

In addition to joyful and inspiring moments from the queen’s life and that of the royal family, Ryan is candid about the challenges and controversy that erupted, most notably, during the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. Ryan addresses the tragic and untimely death of Diana in 1997, followed by Charles’s remarriage to Queen Consort Camilla in 2005, which resulted in substantial backlash from the British public. This was among the darkest periods for the royal family, and all unfolded very much under the gaze of the media.

Turmoil aside, Queen Elizabeth remained ever-present for the citizens of Britain. Ultimately, the compiled speeches and introductory essays paint the queen as a dynamic and singular figure who served as a role model, emblem, and uniting force through times of peace as well as divisiveness and change.

With a beautiful presentation, The Queen offers a fine balance between informative text, historical detail, and anecdotes from the life of Queen Elizabeth II, all set alongside impactful and vibrant photographs. Readers will value Ryan’s thorough and visually striking contribution to the library of Queen Elizabeth titles.

Secret Lives of Royal Women: Fascinating Biographies of Queens, Princesses, Duchesses, and Other Regal Women (Mango Publishing, Sept.)

Marlene Wagman-Geller

Author Marlene Wagman-Geller says the following about Queen Elizabeth II’s life and impact on history: “The tomb of the great English architect, Sir Christopher Wren, bears the inscription, ‘If you seek my monument, look around.’ Similarly, Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy was made manifest by the collective grief that marked the end of her seven-decade reign. Her greatness is encapsulated in the German words that served as her motto, ‘Ich Dien,’ or ‘I serve.’ ”

Wagman-Geller has previously written biographies about powerful and alluring female figures throughout history, including Women Who Launch: The Women Who Shattered Glass Ceilings, and Women of Means: The Fascinating Biographies of Royals, Heiresses, Eccentrics and Other Poor Little Rich Girls. In the aftermath of the queen’s death, she presents a collection of enlightening, informative, painful, and sometimes juicy vignettes relating to a broad range of royal women from history. In addition to the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, subjects include Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Princess Diana; Queen Liliuokalani; Lady Jane Grey; Maharani Gayatri Devi; Queen Narriman; and many others. Readers will not only learn about the lives of these enigmatic figures but also gain a deeper understanding of their respective eras and the regions over which they reigned.

The appeal of royal families is undeniable. And Wagman-Geller understands the curiosity many have about these powerful public figures, particularly those whose lives are so far removed from our own. “The world is hard-wired to [be fascinated by] all matters royal,” Wagman-Geller says. “The crowned heads offer a peephole into a realm far removed from mundane reality.” In this timely and eye-opening volume, the author explores the privileged personal lives, struggles, and accomplishments of those who have served on the throne while also deeply humanizing them in the process. Readers will value the focus on a few lesser-known figures throughout history and gain an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at more familiar and beloved royals.

A Monarch Rises

The King: The Life of Charles III (Gallery Books, Nov.)

Christopher Andersen

As beloved as Queen Elizabeth was—and continues to be—for Britons, King Charles has remained something of an enigma. In The King, a richly detailed biography of Charles, New York Times–bestselling author Christopher Andersen explores the public and private life of the man who has ascended to the throne. Andersen openly addresses Charles’s often difficult childhood as the son of a commanding father with little patience for young Charles’s softer nature and his torment at the hands of bullies. Andersen also discusses Charles’s explosive temper later in life and moments of volatility from his time with Diana.

The book also looks forward, laying out the many obstacles King Charles confronts as he begins his reign. “By far, the biggest challenge King Charles faces is winning the affection of his subjects,” Andersen says. “This is the glue that holds the monarchy together.”

The queen was much more than a public figure; for a great many Britons, she was practically one of the family. The same can’t be said for the newly crowned king. “Charles is going to have to find a way to connect with the man and woman in the street,” Andersen says. “Ironically, William, who inherited his effortless ability to empathize with others from Diana, has much to teach his father.” Another challenge for the king: the task of urging the public toward fully accepting Camilla—who has remained unpopular since marrying Charles after Diana’s death—as his queen. Finally, Charles is faced with the tall order of repairing the strained relationship between William and Harry and rebuilding a sense of harmony and cohesion within the monarchy.

The world has changed significantly over the course of the queen’s service to Britain; King Charles is the one tasked with maintaining a sense of the monarchy’s glory while also establishing a path forward. The key, Andersen believes, is less about restructuring the monarchy and more about projecting warmth and compassion to the public. There are lessons to learn from the past: “If the King intends to build on his mother’s legacy,” Andersen says, “then he must also understand what his first wife and the mother of his children understood—that for all the pomp and pageantry, it’s the human touch that counts.”

Throughout The King, Andersen presents a nuanced portrait of Charles and the royal family as the new era begins to unfold. A must-read for those invested in what comes next for the monarchy.

A Princess Comes of Age

Lilibet the Brave: The Unusual Childhood of an Unlikely Queen (End Game Press, Dec.)

Katy Rose

This beautifully illustrated picture book for young readers explores the early life of Queen Elizabeth (“Lilibet”) and the historical events that would help to shape her in adulthood. Despite extraordinary circumstances—most notably, Lilibet’s father becoming King George VI in 1936 and Lilibet learning she was the heir presumptive—the princess serves as a relatable and empathetic figure throughout Rose’s text.

Lilibet’s early years weren’t always full of privilege. As Rose conveys in Lilibet the Brave, WWII upended life for a great many, including the princess herself. Readers will learn how she rose to the challenge of comforting and supporting the British people during this deeply challenging period in world history. Rose says that “the silver lining from the war years came in the form of friendships. She was thrown together with children from all walks of life there on the grounds of Windsor.” Rose portrays how the war would provide Lilibet with a broader understanding of the people in her country. “That, along with the very real dangers and fears of war, brought a young, sheltered princess face-to-face with reality,” Rose says. These early experiences would profoundly influence her later service as queen.

In addition to the intimate storytelling and warm illustrations featured throughout Lilibet the Brave, backmatter provides more insights into the queen’s life and England’s past—which need not feel distant to readers. For those facing uncertainty and change, Lilibet serves as an example of courage and kindness. “History is a brilliant teacher, and knowledge and humility come from recognizing that our own problems are not new, but we can learn from others who have walked not perfectly, but faithfully before us,” Rose says. “I hope history comes to life through Lilibet’s story.” For Queen Elizabeth II, it was sometimes her simple actions that had the greatest influence—and it’s a message that resonates throughout Lilibet the Brave.

“Lilibet’s story encourages us to serve others by doing the small things we can, right where we are,” Rose says. “Some of the most world-changing acts of love are quiet and unseen. And in living with this outward posture, may we experience the unique kind of bravery that is formed through reaching out to help, even when it’s hard.”

Little People, Big Dreams: Queen Elizabeth (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, Sept.)

Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illus. by Melissa Lee Johnson

This addition to the long-running Little People, Big Dreams series of illustrated biographies for kids focuses on the life of the queen, from her childhood in Windsor through her many years of serving the people of England. Sánchez Vegara shares with readers how, as a child, Lilibet wanted to live on a farm and care for dogs and horses—but life took her in a surprising direction when she became heiress to the throne. Becoming the queen would mean enormous responsibility and required Lilibet to fully reimagine her future self. As Sánchez Vegara shares with readers, Lilibet rose to the occasion, eventually becoming an inspiration to the British people. She did this all while remaining true to herself and continuing to pursue her own hobbies and interests.

With gentle, simple prose, Sánchez Vegara shares key moments and accomplishments in Lilibet’s life, including her serving as an ambulance driver, marrying Prince Philip, and being crowned Queen of the United Kingdom in 1952. Gracefully blending pictures with prose, illustrator Melissa Lee Johnson’s artwork is charming and expressive. The images capture the personality and spirit of Queen Elizabeth, and dog lovers will adore the images of the queen’s numerous corgis. Backmatter shares extra facts about Queen Elizabeth, photographs, and a timeline of events from the queen’s life. Beyond providing valuable biographical information, Sánchez Vegara hopes readers will take away a broader message from the book. “Sometimes life unfolds in unexpected ways, and the big question is what can we do with that? How can you make a difference when new responsibilities are given to you?” Sánchez Vegara says. “Queen Elizabeth found ways to be true to herself while taking on her duties and responsibilities as the Queen.”

For readers hoping for more titles about the royal family, two additional Little People, Big Dreams books, King Charles and Princess Diana, will be published in 2023.