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 of 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'.
'An engrossing tale of a mother and daughter who were also a queen and her subject' Good Book Guide.
'Emotionally sympathetic and beautifully written, its detail meticulous ... A confident and disarmingly impressive debut' Daily Telegraph.
'Readable and empathetic biography' Independent.