The best books about Queen Elizabeth to read

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Queen Elizabeth has always made headlines even in books. Whether the royal watchers from around the world wrote about her, the journalists sent to London (Antonio Caprarica, a devoted and very informed fan), or the personal stylist who dressed her for 30 years (Angela Kelly). There are writers who have been inspired by her in their characters between fiction and reality or for romantic love novels. A book about Queen Elizabeth is a guarantee: as long as there are beautiful photos, stolen or from the repertoire, and some juicy news. Which, given the 70-year reign and the royal family that surrounds it, is certainly not difficult to find. We certainly bought a book out of curiosity or to give to friends with a penchant for crowned heads. And if we have already read it, now is the time to take it out of the library and look at it again, like you do with an intimate diary. If we don’t even have one, here are some tips to find the one that interests us most.

The sovereign readerAlan Bennett (Adelphi)

Let’s start with a book in which Elizabeth II it is not an object, do not expect photos, but a subject. That is the protagonist is hernot of the public scene, but of the story. The gimmick of the British author, writer, screenwriter, playwright and actor is remarkable. Imagine Queen Elizabeth, aged 80 or so, stumbling upon a circulating library inside the palace supplying books to a kitchen boy. It’s love at first sight, the queen reads, chooses, inquires. And in the text there are dozens and dozens of books and authors recommended to His Majesty by the attendant, red and lanky, which in the end could be the beginning of the ideal library for us too and that we would like to know if they are part of the royal library. But fiction is fiction. The humor is classic Brit, revisited in modern terms. Lightning speeches, answers, by his majesty, to make you laugh, characters outlined with ferocious irony, the private secretary Sir Kevin Scatchard, worried about the overwhelming passion of the sovereign, no longer knows what to say to her. But Bennett’s Queen herself is a hoot, the description she makes of herself is truth, while how she acts is all the fruit of the author’s overwhelming pen. Including the thriller ending. It is said that Elizabeth herself was amused by it.

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The sovereign reader


€ 8.55

The Queen. Color diary of Queen ElizabethSali Hughes (Vallardi)

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink. There are all the palettes of her majesty’s outfits the Queen Elizabeth. A joyful rainbow of colors and shades, never annoying, never inelegant, always well calibrated within the rigid court ceremonial. Yet so creative. It starts in 1929, when Elisabetta was 3 years old on the cover of Timeto continue to the day of the coronation in 1952, to the marriage with Philip in 1947, a as we have seen it in 70 years of official and private commitments. There is also a separate chapter on the fantasies of her dresses, including Scots, Barbour, and cashmere on summer holidays in Balmoral, including dogs, horses and jeeps. A long fashion show divided by colors, that dissolve in all possible shades, with preference to pastels, or acid yellows and greens, with some concessions to neutral tones. There are her memorable hats coordinated with the dress, even the umbrellas go hand in hand with the color of the outfits, the jewels, the famous brooches. A riot for our eyes, always there to try to find a photo that we had not yet seen. And we always find a new one.


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The Queen. Color diary of Queen Elizabeth. Ediz. illustrated

Elisabetta and the othersEva Grippa (DeAgostini)

The other are the numerous female presences, who have accompanied the longest-lived queen of the last two centuriesindispensable or simply irremovable for reasons of kinship or etiquette. A private and public portrait, the subtitle reads “Ten women to tell the true queen”. It is accompanied by a reinforced gallery of photos and news, which makes it as compelling as a thriller. Of which, now, we know the end. There are ten stories and ten profiles of women who have crossed the path of Lilibet towards the kingdom and beyond: the queen mother, first of all, her sister Margaret, her daughter Anna, the entourage of daughters-in-law not always loved, plus an almost aunt to whom he owes the throne and, he could not miss, the nanny Marion Crawford. In the end, from the chorus of this high-ranking gynoecium, she always emerges as the winner, the queen that the world likes. Juicy stories, told by those who know them and is a royal watcher first out of passion, then for profession, as she herself admits. So she puts her heart and not just her brain into what she writes.


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Elisabetta and the others. Ten women to tell the true queen

The other side of the coin. The Queen, the Dresser and the WardrobeAngela Kelly (HarperCollins)

The book is in English, but it is one of the few authorized and detailed biographies, which circulate on the British sovereign. The 2019 edition has been updated for the platinum jubilee and has a chapter dedicated to how the ruler experienced isolation during the pandemic and how she coped with the death of Prince Philip. The title is more or less: The other side of the coin. The queen, the stylist, the wardrobe. It is therefore hoped that an Italian translation will also arrive soon, because it is quite interestingfrom the point of view of the history of the Windsor, not only for the inevitable gossip also, even if authorized. Angela Kelly was Queen Elizabeth’s private designer for 30 years, she is not just a personal counselor, or a lady-in-waiting sui generis, as in addition to advising the choice of royal clothes for every occasion, Angela also designs them, especially the pastel-colored ones, a passion for these shades that she shares with the sovereign . In her duties there is also that of keeping the jewels and always having brilliant diamonds. And she is his friend, that is how she defines herself. She has been photographed several times with her in public, at fashion shows in London. And, given the queen’s less talkative character, and the court’s confidentiality, if what she says has been scrutinized and authorized, it is very likely to be true. No concession to melancholy for the sad moments of mourning or Covid, or to excessive romanticism. Kelly tells funny anecdotesis she the one who wears the queen’s shoes to the palace to make them more comfortable when she wears them, or all the tricks she devises to have comfortable zips instead of buttons in her dresses, or weights in the windproof hem. And the queen laughing loudly as they spend the afternoons scrolling through the to-do list.

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The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe

Elizabeth the last queenVittorio Sabadin (Utet)

Halfway between biography and historical and social essayVittorio Sabadin, journalist and scholar of British history and traditions, photographed England in 1936 at the moment of the renunciation of the throne of Edward VIII, in favor of his brother George VI, to immediately move the focus on the young Elizabeth, who then has 6 years. There are no gossip or anecdotes, if not those that have gone down in historythe events told in a smooth and captivating way, are updated to 2019, given the advancement of the years of the sovereign’s reign. The book ends with a consideration that is more relevant today than ever: how many years can the British monarchy still last? no one will be like Elizabeth, the last queen. Heavy inheritance for the new King Charles III. The story in the book serves as a basis, so we also follow the TV series better The Crownfor the rest, Elizabeth wrote her story in an admirable way, now let’s see what follows.


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Elizabeth, the last queen. New edition

The Queen’s EmbroiderersJennifer Robson (HarperCollins)

And here we are at the novel, true fiction, which takes its cue from the embroidery of Elizabeth’s wedding dresssewn by the Norman Hartnell fashion house of Mayfair, for the wedding with Prince Philip in November 1947. A model that still arouses admiration today for the elegance and exquisiteness of the embroideries, a riot of pearls and crystals, inspired by the Spring by Botticelli. All made in the UK, sewn in London, woven in Essex, and embroidered by expert hands. The story of the dress is all true, the author has embroidered on the embroiderers, who in fiction are two friends, one English, Ann, the other French, Miriam survivor of the Holocaust. And as they talk about the young woman who will become queen and her handsome prince, in a cold little house on the outskirts of London, they sew the embroideries of the dress that will go down in history and they tell their smaller story of young people who lost everything after the war, but are not afraid to start over.


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The Queen’s embroiderers


The article is in Italian

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