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The Final Curtsey

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
This is the intimate and revealing autobiography of Margaret Rhodes, the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and the niece of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Margaret Rhodes was born into the Scottish aristocracy, into a now almost vanished world of privilege. Royalty often came to stay and her house was run in the style of Downton Abbey. Her aunt was Queen Elizabeth the ...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published July 21st 2011 by Umbria Press
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In a world dominated by news stories of unhappiness, conflict, strife and brutality; this autobiography shines through. No saccharin sentimentality, no angst, no ‘what-if’; this memoir is an absolute gem; a book that recalls, with a deeply genuine thankfulness, an unusual life lived through interesting times.

There are, too, some fascinating personal insights into the humanity of Royal life’ such as Queen Elizabeth (Queen consort of King George VI) practicing her handling skills shooting rats wit
...more
Vicki
Jun 11, 2012 Vicki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: factual
A short book which is a joy to read as the author's character shines through, as does the happiness of her life. One lovely thing about the book is the lack of bitchiness, and the respect that she has for others. I tire of books that read like a gossip column, and this book is quite frankly charming. It may not be great literature but it is a reflection on a life well lived.
Chase Insteadman Mountbatten
"[...] I loved the fact that the mountain had been given by Queen Victoria to Prince Friedrich of Prussia when he married her daughter, Vicky, the Princess Royal, in 1858. As a result the mountain became part of German Tanganyika and the mapmakers had to draw a little bubble in the straight line of the frontier between British Kenia and Tanganyika. The imperial couple reigned briefly as German Emperor and Empress; Fritz, as he was known, being seriously ill and dying just three months after his ...more
Kealani
Feb 08, 2015 Kealani rated it it was amazing
WITHOUT PARALLEL !!!

Margaret Rhodes amazes with warm, personal, revealing anecdotes of her Aunt, Queen Elizabeth, and her cousin Queen Elizabeth II. With depth that only comes from family, Margaret shares experiences from her days as playmate to the Princesses of York, the awe of participating in the Queen's wedding, and her days as Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen Mum. Who else could share correspondence of the Queen at some of the most major milestones in her life? But wait, there's more! Romance,
...more
Lena
Nov 29, 2015 Lena rated it really liked it
Dishy but not bitchy, this is a fascinating look into a disappearing lifestyle. I enjoyed the author's matter-of-fact approach to writing about (and experiencing) some very dramatic and noteworthy occasions. It's like listening to your rather daring and very well-connected great aunt's reminisces. And if you're at all fascinated by the Royal Family, it's a must read.
Janine
Jun 08, 2013 Janine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming reminiscence of a young Queen Elizabeth by her cousin who grew up with her. The stories of the venerated Queen Mother show her as a fun-loving pixie in her private life and gently spreading 'stardust' in her public life. Margaret Rhodes had an eventful life herself as she relates. Quick read, very enjoyable.
Ronald
Jan 25, 2014 Ronald rated it really liked it
Seems pretty candid... definitely not a tell-all but she doesn't gloss over verything either. An interesting autobiography of an interesting woman who grew up in an amazing time and in an unusual family
Jane
Sep 28, 2016 Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: hist-bio, on-kindle
nice memoir, nothing nasty, unlike other Household books.
Lynda
Mar 11, 2012 Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in the lives of others
Recommended to Lynda by: Review on The Book Depository
Shelves: history, biography
Margaret Rhodes was born in to a somewhat austere country life of the Scottish aristocracy; she was the daughter of a baron & granddaughter of an earl. She was born in 1925 when the large country houses were run like Downton Abbey. She grew up to appreciate and handle outdoor life on large estates, to fish and hunt game, with governesses who taught her history and to speak fluent French. While she was to rue her lack of formal education in later life, she was certainly astute enough to land ...more
Carole
Sep 10, 2016 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quaint but not twee

Perhaps a disappearing world, but one of charm and grace; of tough personalities and an insight into the behind the scenes lives of those both belonging to 'The Firm' and those who serve them. Oh and those corgis!

I enjoyed this book written in a gentle manner, with humour and not letting too many cats out of the bag. What did really surprise me was the, apparently, untrained pack of corgis who are the bane of many lives. Somehow I never imagined the Queen would have dogs that
...more
E.S. Ivy
Oct 16, 2013 E.S. Ivy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: royalty-history
This reads like your grandmother sitting down with you and telling you her memories. There aren't a lot of details about the Queen, but that is most likely out of respect to the fact that she is a close family member. If you read between the lines you see more.

The little details on the day to day life and expectations of nobility are interesting.

Her life wasn't completely safe -- she writes about realizing that even though she was staying with her cousins during WWII she would be left behind in
...more
Simon
Sep 27, 2013 Simon rated it it was ok
If you weren't up to the searing realism and muckraking of the recent authorized biography of the Queen Mother by Shawcross, then this is the read for you. Margaret Rhodes never met anyone who didn't get along, including (much to their mutual surprise, I'm sure) the Duchess of Windsor and her aunt. There are a couple of funny lines in which the authoress reveals (1) her class prejudices and (2) Wodehouse's Aunt Dahlia may have been a documentary. Plus there is a set-piece in which she is trapped ...more
Pablo
Sep 06, 2016 Pablo rated it liked it
The book left me a bit underwhelmed.
Dorian
Jun 08, 2013 Dorian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
Although the blurb calls this book an autobiography, the term "memoir" is in fact far more accurate. The author looks back over her long life and tells little stories about things that happened. Unfortunately, they're mostly not vastly interesting little stories, and while her refusal to speak ill of anyone is no doubt admirable, it also means her reminiscences are somewhat bland.

It's a pleasant enough book, and whiled away an afternoon well enough, but it's nothing special.
Amy Hoodock
Mar 24, 2015 Amy Hoodock rated it liked it
I enjoy reading about the royals and this book was fun for me. The writing is fine, but a little all over the place logically. If you treat it as a series of vignettes with no depth and definitely no scandal, then you will enjoy a quick read. Do not expect major new insights.
Herb
This is actually the book format that I'm reading. I couldn't find a dust jacket cover for the book form.
I liked this book, written by a cousin of the queen. Part personal autobiography and part story of her relationship with the Royal Family.
Rebekka
Jul 20, 2015 Rebekka rated it liked it
This was a quick read, an interesting insight into the Royal Family. She was amazingly devoted to the Queen Mother (Elizabeth I) but her writing lacks something. I would recommend it as a travel book; something you can read in a couple of hours and not really think too much of again.
₵oincidental   Ðandy
This is one of those transitional, 'in-between' quick-read books - the sort that One delves into, in the interim, before deciding on which book to read next. Anecdotally entertaining in parts, but on the saccharine side. Definitely destined for the 'giveaway' pile.
Elizabeth
It was ok. There were some interesting bits, and some not so interesting bits too! I'm pretty sure I would never opt to ignore a dying man in favour of my dinner party guests, but she did and also apparently found the situation funny. I guess the rich really are different.
Leslie Goddard
May 29, 2016 Leslie Goddard rated it liked it
Pleasant, easy to read. Most of the good anecdotes have been mined by biographers of the Queen and are already well-known
Samantha
A lovely read giving vignettes of life as a cousin to the Queen. I enjoyed reading the author's descriptions of her life, travels, and family.
Lisa of Hopewell
Aug 30, 2011 Lisa of Hopewell rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
Overall--disappointing. Here's a link to my full review. http://hopewellmomschoolreborn.blogsp...
Katie
Nov 07, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
Such a nice book, it gave a lovely insight into the life of Margaret Rhodes, the Royal Family and the British Empire.
Patti
Patti rated it liked it
Mar 12, 2012
Lucy Fagan
Lucy Fagan rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2016
Erin
Erin rated it it was ok
Apr 15, 2015
Rhino
Rhino rated it liked it
May 26, 2013
Aimee
Aimee rated it really liked it
Aug 10, 2012
Paul Elwell
Paul Elwell rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2016
Lisa
Lisa rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2011
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