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Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen


Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen

With more than 63 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II secured the title as the longest reigning British monarch in September 2015, breaking the record formerly held by her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria. For most folks, she is the face of Britain. Known for her colorful ensembles that include matching shoes, hats and handbags, Queen Elizabeth is much more than a figurehead for the royal family. She is a woman who exudes dignity, strength, grace and intelligence as she continues to lead her kingdom into the future as she rapidly approaches 90.

Born in 1926 to the second son of King George V, Albert, Duke of York, and his wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Elizabeth was never intended to be queen. Only when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson and her father became King Edward VI did it look as if Elizabeth might ascend to the throne one day. Even then, had her parents produced a son, Elizabeth would have taken a backseat to a younger brother's claim to rule. As fate would have it, Elizabeth and her younger sister, Margaret, were destined to be the only two children in their small but happy family.

"Kate Williams has penned a biography that draws us in and makes us feel as though we're intimately acquainted with a woman who is recognized by millions but truly known by just a few."

A golden-haired, rosy-cheeked cherub, young Princess Elizabeth grew up basking in the glow of her adoring grandparents and besotted parents. When Princess Margaret was born in 1930, Elizabeth suddenly had a little sister and playmate on hand around the clock. The family, who often merrily referred to themselves as “we four,” lived an idyllic life in the early days with no notion that the winds of change were blowing.

When their father ascended to the throne in 1936, life changed for Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. A move from their cozy home at 145 Piccadilly to the considerably larger Buckingham Palace was just one of many adjustments the girls had to make. Seeing less of their parents was another. Still, left in each other's company, they made the best of the changes that were thrust upon them.

By 1939, England was immersed in World War II. Instead of sending the children out of the country the way so many elite families did, the King and Queen kept their daughters firmly ensconced within the kingdom. The majority of the war years saw the family together living in Windsor Castle in spite of the constant threat from German bombs.

Before the war was over, Elizabeth's future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, had caught her eye and captured her heart. Even though the two wouldn't marry until 1947, Elizabeth knew what she wanted long before.

When her father's health declined in 1951, Elizabeth found herself assuming a greater role when it came to official duties. The King's health deteriorated even further in 1952, leading up to his death early in the year. Suddenly, at age 25, Elizabeth ascended to the throne, a massive responsibility for someone so young.

YOUNG ELIZABETH takes us from the years before Elizabeth's birth up through 1955 to provide us with a true picture of her early years and the events that transpired to create an inspiring woman who has devoted her life to crown and country. Author Kate Williams has penned a biography that draws us in and makes us feel as though we're intimately acquainted with a woman who is recognized by millions but truly known by just a few.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on November 20, 2015

Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen
by Kate Williams

  • Publication Date: December 6, 2016
  • Genres: Biography, History, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • ISBN-10: 1681772531
  • ISBN-13: 9781681772530