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January 17, 2017

Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 11.26.41 AMYoung Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen

By: Kate Williams


There are countless biographies about Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family, not to mention a very popular Netflix show, The Crown.  As an Anglophile, I assumed there wasn’t much more to learn about the Queen.  Fortunately, Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen by Kate Williams proved me wrong!

Williams draws the reader in by providing background on the House of Windsor.  The biography starts with Elizabeth’s parents and grandparent’s courtships, plus her uncle, Edward VIII, and his abdication of the throne to marry Wallis Simpson.  This is the decision that shook up the House of Windsor and catapulted Elizabeth to heir apparent.

As the title suggests, the book follows Elizabeth from infancy through her coronation.  Stories of Elizabeth’s childhood and relationship with her family, especially her sister Margaret, are center stage.  She grew up in a loving and close-knit household, which was unheard of at the time for British royals.  The London Blitzes of WWII changed things for the Windsors, and Elizabeth became more involved in public appearance and the war effort.

Fans of The Crown can see the early years of Prince Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage.  This book provides more background into how they met and eventually married.  There is a glimpse into her life as a young mother, too.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth review of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, I’d recommend any of the titles below.  This book is narrative nonfiction with just over 300 pages and a lighter writing style.   Williams is a historian, often reporting on the Windsors for the BBC and BBC Radio.  It’s clear that she’s devoted to the Windsors – and the facts.  I listened to the audio book through Overdrive, which Williams narrates.   I highly recommend the audio version.

Looking to learn more about Queen Elizabeth and the Windsors?  Check out these titles:  Her Majesty by Robert Hardman, Prince Philip by Philip Eade, Game of Crowns by Christopher Andersen, and The Real Elizabeth by Andrew Marr.

If you enjoyed Young Elizabeth and would like to read more of Williams’ royal biographies, I recommend Becoming Queen Victoria.

Review By:  Kirsten Edwards