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Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years until her death at the age of 96, dedicating her life to serving her country and the Commonwealth.
Following her death, many of us are mourning the monarch who had been a consistent figure in our lives, with hundreds of thousands leaving floral tributes outside the royal residencies, as well as sharing stories or memories with loved ones.
Queen Elizabeth II indeed lived an extraordinary life, becoming Britain's longest serving monarch in history under extraordinary circumstances.
She was the princess who was never destined to be our monarch, but the abdication of her uncle and her father's early death changed the course of her destiny. Elizabeth went on to become Queen with a stoic sense of duty that would symbolise her reign.
Much has been written about Her Majesty over the years, from her relatively carefree childhood, to her Coronation and the later years of turmoil surrounding the Royal Family.
As many of us come together to celebrate her life, we've rounded up some of the best and more insightful books about Queen Elizabeth II.
The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II by Karen Dolby | £6.83 (Was £9.99)
When thinking of the Queen, our first image is one of dignity and authority. She was the very definition of majesty: the British monarch, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and the head of the Commonwealth. But as anyone who knew her will tell you, in person she also had a wicked sense of humour.
Revealing a side of the Queen's personality that the public rarely saw, this joyous book is a celebration of royal humour.
Queen of our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II by Robert Hardman | £10 (Was £20)
With original insights from those who knew her best, interviews with world leaders and access to unseen papers, bestselling author Robert Hardman explores the full, astonishing life of our longest reigning monarch in this compelling, authoritative and intimate biography.
Elizabeth II was not born to be Queen. Yet from her accession as a young mother-of-two in 1952 to the Covid-19 pandemic, she proved an astute and quietly determined figure, leading her family and her people through over 70 years of unprecedented social change.
She faced constitutional crises, confronted threats against her life, rescued the Commonwealth, saw her prime ministers come and go, charmed world leaders and steered her family through a lifetime in the public eye.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Celebration: 70 Years: 1952-2022 by Brian Hoey | £7.99 (Was £9.99)
When she succeeded her father, King George VI, on 6th February 1952, Elizabeth was only 25 years old. Married for just five years with two young children, her life changed irrevocably. The responsibilities of monarchy have always taken precedence over all else.This book celebrates the highlights and challenges of the Queen’s reign over the past seven decades.
The Queen by Andrew Morton | £13.50 (Was £20)
Only 25 when she became Queen after the premature death of her father, King George Vl, Elizabeth was the longest reigning British monarch.
In this entertaining and insightful biography, award-winning writer Andrew Morton, author of Diana, Her True Story and Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters, takes you behind the scenes to uncover the woman and her world.
The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly | £12.50 (Was £25)
When Angela Kelly and the Queen came together, laughter would echo through the corridors of Buckingham Palace.
Kelly worked with the Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for 28 years, initially as Her Majesty’s Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shared a uniquely close working relationship with the Queen.
Her Majesty has personally given Kelly her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Kelly’s own private collection – and personal anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it was like to work closely with the Queen, to curate her wardrobe and discover a lasting connection along the way.
The Queen by Matthew Dennison | £15.99 (Was £25)
In this recent biography Matthew Dennison traces the Queen's life and reign across an era of unprecedented and often seismic social change.
The Queen charts the joys and triumphs as well as the disappointments of a remarkable royal life; it also assesses the achievement of a woman regarded as the champion of a handful of traditionally 'British' values: service, duty, steadfastness, charity and stoicism.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip enjoyed 73 years of happy married life together – the longest marriage of any royal British couple in history. But how did they meet? What did their families think of their burgeoning relationship? What obstacles did the young couple face before and after their marriage? And how did a childhood friendship grow into the love story of the century?
The Queen: 70 Chapters in the Life of Elizabeth II by Ian Lloyd | £13.09 (Was £15.99)
Royal biographer Ian Lloyd reveals the person behind the legend in over 70 themed chapters. Drawing on interviews with relatives, friends and courtiers, he explores the Queen's relationship with seven generations of the royal family, from the children of Queen Victoria to Elizabeth’s own great-grandchildren.
Lloyd also sheds light on some lesser-known aspects of her Majesty's character, such as her gift for mimicry. In addition, we see her encounters with A-listers, from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna, and her adept handling of several of the twentieth century’s most difficult leaders.
Above all, Lloyd examines how the Queen stayed true to the promise she made to the nation at the age of 21, "that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service".
A light-hearted look at royal life during the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II's reign and the final days of Churchill’s prime ministership – a fascinating exploration of how two people from different generations became such good friends.
Watch: Remembering the late HM Queen Elizabeth II