By Dennison, Matthew
Monarchy in Britain is a mindset - sociological and emotional - seldom scrutinised save by diehard supporters or detractors. Matthew Dennison's new biography of Elizabeth II offers to evaluate a magisterial reign now spanning seven decades and the Queen's record as practitioner o...f monarchy. The person of the monarch is the closest an ethnically and culturally diverse society comes to a visible representative of past, present and future, although population changes since 1945 have made it impossible for Elizabeth II convincingly to embody the wide-ranging outlooks and aspirations of a muddled demographic. Instead she is understood as the champion of a handful of 'British' values endorsed - if no longer practised - by the bulk of the nation: service, duty, steadfastness, charity, stoicism: a visible definition of an aspect of 'Britishness'. The Queen is the story of Elizabeth II told in ten parts: Elizabeth of York (the Queen's childhood); A Princess's Fairytale (marriage and early married life); Queen of Hearts (accession and Coronation); Bagehot's Queen (doing the job in the 1950s and 1960s); Vision and Television (tentative modernising in the altered climate of the 1960s, the Royal Family film); Sterling Silver (the Silver Jubilee and consolidation of popular support in the 1970s); Royal Family (marriages of the Queen's children and the family soap opera of the 1980s); Common wealth? (the debates of the 1990s; accessibility and accountability; changes in the wake of the annus horribilis and Diana's death); Golden (rehabilitation of a tarnished crown in the Noughties; triumph of the Golden Jubilee); Gloriana (hagiography in old age; milestones and records).Read more
Matthew Dennison is the author of three critically acclaimed works of non-fiction: 'The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria''s Youngest Daughter', written with the full assistance of the Royal Archives and published in nine UK editions to date, 'Empress of Rome: The Life of Livia', and 'The Twelve Caesars'. Described in The Independent as ''one of those rare marvels, a historical biographer whose work has reached the bestseller lists'', he is also a regular contributor toCountry Life, Telegraph Magazine, The Times and Majesty.
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