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The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
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The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

3.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  281 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Packed with stunning revelations, this is the inside story of The Queen Mother from the New York Times bestselling author who first revealed the truth about Princess Diana

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother has been called the "most successful queen since Cleopatra." Her personality was so captivating that even her arch-enemy Wallis Simpson wrote about "her legendary charm."
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 680)
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Jul 19, 2013 Dorian rated it did not like it
Shelves: library-books
I gave up on this book about halfway through.

After a while scandal-mongering and muckraking stops being titillating and becomes tedious. The more so as the author has only one string to her bow: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was not sweet and nice and lovely, she says, she was nasty and manipulative and conniving and a hypocrite, and pushed her poor misunderstood brother-in-law off his throne.

Add to this blatant bias a poor command of the English language (confusing ancestors and descendants,
Jul 14, 2012 BonnieL rated it did not like it
This piece of trash deserved 0 stars but I had to settle for the lowest allowed (boo, Goodreads!). This purported biography is the most vicious, hate-filled and poisonous piece of garbage I've ever read. One wonders what the Queen Mother ever did to warrant this attack by an extremely peripheral member of the British aristocracy - a marriage that lasted barely a year to a younger son of the Argyll dukedom doesn't quality anyone as a member of the inner circle of royalty.
Despite the copious footn
Dec 08, 2012 Sabrina rated it it was ok
It pains me to say this, because I really wanted to like this book, but: don't waste your time. What starts out as an interesting biography quickly spirals downward into an attack. I'm not sure what Lady Campbell's problem with the Queen Mother was, but it's clear she can't stand her, and set out to write a book that would smear her reputation--to say the least.
Dec 06, 2012 Annalynn rated it did not like it
I picked this book up at the library excited to read about one of my favorite members of the royal family and instead came home with a venomous book full of hatred. I really don't know what the Windsors did to alienate the author so much, but I was shocked at the attack on the late Queen Mum. Stay away, friends.
Jan 20, 2014 John rated it did not like it
Wow someone really didn't like the Queen Mother. What a nasty piece of "historical research" starting off with the "daughter of a housemaid" lark perpetuating the myth that Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon "settled" for Bertie. So many things are wrong with this book. It is like a witches brew of salacious innuendo wrapped up in "truth." Clearly "Lady" Colin Campbell was channelling Wallis throughout and I couldn't help but feel there was an axe to grind throughout. Would NEVER recommend this book to anyone ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Paula rated it did not like it
I read this book as a result of a very misleading book review. It made it sound like a biography of The Queen Mother. And I suppose technically it is, but in reality it is a horrifying and boring book.

It has way too many family members, royals and friends to keep straight even if you were family or friends. And most of the book seems to be terrible gossipy, possibly true but not really prove-able information. And one-sided--it's a very hostile description of The Queen Mother, from a child right
Rebecca Huston
This biography managed to enrage me as I read it, and I found it to be distasteful in the extreme. The claims made by Lady Colin about the Queen Mother's life aren't just extreme, they're sensationalism of the worst sort, and with every chance, the author tries to depict this woman as greedy, selfish, lying and manipulative, presenting a picture that is very different than the one that is usually shown. Lack of reputable sources, relying mostly on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (of whom it can ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Had always thought of the "Queen Mum" as a nice old slightly dotty English lady -- to read that she was called "the monster of Glamis (her family castle in Scotland)" by the Duke of Windsor was quite a surprise. More info on the Great Abdication than I'd read before - slightly more sympathetic to the Duke now - his dying words were "...the waste, oh the waste...." - he'd been brought up and educated and trained to be king, while his brother Bertie who became king, had not. Lots and lots of name ...more
May 11, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
I recieved a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. I enjoyed the book. I learned a great deal about the ins and outs of the Queen Mother's life. The author does tend to treat gossip as fact. The book could have been edited down about a 100 pages.
Molly Morris Flasche
A little too "dishy" for my taste....the Queen Mum's world, through whispers heard from the friend of a friend.....
Lorina Stephens
Dec 29, 2015 Lorina Stephens rated it did not like it
Campbell has penned a prurient, verbose, self-aggrandizing pseudo-biography worthy of the British scandal sheets. To call this tittle-tattle a biography is to shame every journalist of integrity, for journalism this is not.

This reader, having been subjected to egregious gossip throughout this interminable book, came away no more enlightened as to any of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon's accomplishments or history. Instead, Campbell has delved into her own personal speculation, snobbery and even racism of t
Jun 23, 2012 Leslie rated it liked it
Overall I enjoyed reading this book, and I think I did learn a little bit, but I had a couple major issues with it.

First, the author certainly seems to have had a personal grudge against Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. She rarely has something positive to say, attributing every accomplishment or possible good thing she did to some terrible ulterior motive. She also relies heavily on quotes from people such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and it's common knowledge that they were enemies of
Jul 12, 2013 Beautyalchemist rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: interested in royalty
I am a royal enthusiast so I enjoyed this and I think to enjoy you need to be very into the history of the family. I liked it not just for the background on the Queen Mother and the family, but for the look at the history of the times it presented including the Abdication crisis.

Many have pointed out that it seems the author has an axe to grind with QM and that may be. She denigrates her too often. We get the idea, and read her foibles the first several times she mentioned them, they do not nee
Jul 28, 2014 Monique rated it liked it
I have read the authorized biography of the Queen Mother. It almost made her out to be a saint. This one presents the underbelly of the lady, namely her manipulative and vengeful side buried underneath her never ending smiles.She was definitely the power behind the throne as her husband never made a decision without consulting her and then following her advice.

I also found out that she is not the natural daughter of her mother. Both she and her younger brother were conceived with the cook, Margu
Lady Campbell delights in turning all the reverence toward the Queen Mother on its head. She paints as black a picture of her as other accounts are rosy. It's worth noting that much of what she writes is well known as coming from the "anti QM" camp, particularly the Windsor’s and their following. Lady Campbell does add dirt of her own and, as others have commented, some mistakes as well.

For the feud between the Windsor’s and the consort Queen Elizabeth when George VI was alive and later the Que
Sep 01, 2012 Gaile rated it did not like it
Although I read all the way through, I did not really enjoy it. I have read Lady Colin Campbell's titles before but this one wins the prize for scandal mongering. Evidently Ms Campbell makes it her business to ferret out all the secrets of the rich, famous and titled. This book is a case is he said, she aid, etc. AS she hops from oone dirty secret to another about the Queen Mother Elizabeth, she also goes off on tangents about the lives of other titled people such as Wallis Simpson and so on. I ...more
Connie Fischer
Oct 18, 2012 Connie Fischer rated it really liked it
This book was incredibly detailed about the life of Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. It is chock full of names and dates and descriptions of many royals and others that crossed the path of Elizabeth during her life. It included many things that I had never read before about the Royal Family. Very intriguing. I had read other biographies of The Queen Mother but never one as interesting as this. My only concern was that the author almost seemed to have an ax to grind against her. The cattiness about h ...more
Frances Johnson
Apr 12, 2016 Frances Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I have never liked the Queen Mother, this was a good book. Lady Campbell probably didn't like her either but has attempted, I believe successfully, to tell a well documented story of the much beloved but much flawed Queen. Lady Campbell mixes both written and oral documentation for a more balanced history of the Queen. Because she was Queen, she controled much of what was written about her. This is an attempt to set the record straight by an author who had the connections to get oral ...more
Aug 03, 2013 Ellen rated it it was ok
I wonder how Lady Campbell has escaped being sued. This book is a delicious mix of complete cattiness, self-promotion and maybe some history. She discloses that the beloved Queen Mum was rarely sober, addicted to good food, allergic to sex and a really sneaky old broad. Lady Campbell claims that the current queen was conceived via artificial insemination as was her sister. It appears to be a common thing amongst English royalty and noblemen (although I don't think we have to worry about the new ...more
Dee Dunckley
Jun 03, 2012 Dee Dunckley rated it it was ok
Although the book was written interestingly enough, it was clear from the first chapter that the author had (or was good friends with those who had) strong personal grudges against the subject and this impression only intensified throughout the reading. She also contradicted herself on various points, seemingly to further a particular opinion that she held or to give legitimacy to her interpretation of events. The most annoying part of it all was saved for the very last paragraph, in which, afte ...more
Oct 05, 2012 Ting rated it it was ok
The author paints a picture of the Queen Mum as an ambitious and self-centered social climber and not the sweet and smiling little old lady she seemed to be. Although this may have some truth, I take things with a grain of salt when an author, and a member of the aristocracy, gets her facts wrong. She misinterpreted the protocol for dynastic naming (which is pretty much basic) and claims that Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire had an affair with the future George IV and bore his child.

Other than t
Peggie Ross
Oct 01, 2013 Peggie Ross rated it did not like it
Never have I read a biography where the author so clearly detested the subject. I wondered why she bothered to write the book and then decided it was so she could spew venom at the Queen Mother. I would have stopped reading it but I began to wonder who she was going to cite as her informants after the deaths of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. I agree with the other reviewer that this book deserved zero stars but opted to put in one to make my low opinion visible, rather than have readers think ...more
An interesting read, although once you realize the author sought to reveal the dark side of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the book becomes rather monchromatic. The book appears to be well-documented, and does serve to provide a different perspective on the phenomenal life of this icon of the 20th century. But you don't feel you've actually come to know the subject very much better. The detailed descriptions of titles, peerages, relationships, etc., are enough to make your eyes cross and make you ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Angela rated it it was ok
I should have recognized the words "untold story" in the title meant this biography's target audience were people more interested in reading tabloids than history. Lady Campbell is a good story teller and I was enchanted by the first few chapters. What I found unpardonable was the contrast in detail she went into in covering the abdication crisis while barely touching on what was probably Elizabeth's finest hour, World War II.
Apr 17, 2016 Joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I was hoping to love this book because I was born on the Queen Mother"s celebrated birthday August 4 and named for her I did not. Lady Colin Campbel strikes a repitiious one note that this revered Queen was seriously flawed characterwise. She belabours the fact that Elizabeth was totally self serving and passive aggressive. It never really rises above this appraisal of her character. I was very disappointed in this effort.
Savina King
Feb 24, 2015 Savina King rated it it was amazing
This book was an eye opener. What you can't learn from this book about the way a royal mind works is not worth knowing. Unsuprising therefore that the last chapter is written as a disclaimer, as if Prince Charles has any of his grandmothers blood running in his veins, no-one would want to be on his wrong side. Read the book for yourself and make your mind up!!!.
Apr 22, 2014 Robin rated it did not like it
A (very) mean-spirited attempt to make the Queen Mother appear to be worse than she probably was, and to make David and Wallis appear to be better than they probably were. Without the amateur psychology, gossip, and opinions, this might have been a short magazine article, which might have been better off not having been published.
James Priest
Oct 30, 2015 James Priest rated it really liked it
Overall a good read. I did think some parts were a bit unnecessary and in bad taste. The Author obviously isn't a huge lover of the Queen Mother, but does respect her in other ways. If you enjoy biographies that doesn't shy away from the bad side of the subject at hand then you may well enjoy this book.
May 17, 2013 ladywallingford rated it did not like it
Shelves: scrapped
I had to scrap this book because I couldn't stand the negativity/rudeness of the author towards the late Queen Mother. All she wanted to do was tarnish the Queen Mother's reputation all under the basis of "wanting to portray an accurate and all-encompassing biography of the Queen Mother." Don't read it.
Joanne Siriska
Feb 15, 2016 Joanne Siriska rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, books
Obviously the author holds a grudge against the Queen Mother. I enjoyed the book but was sadly disappointed in finding out this venerable lady, was after all, just human. Personally, I wish I hadn't read it. I liked the Queen Mother up on her pedestal. This book quickly knocks the pedestal from under her.
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Lady Colin Campbell, (née Georgia Arianna Ziadie, known as Georgie, born 17 August 1949), is a British writer, biographer, autobiographer, novelist, and television and radio personality, known for her biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Real Diana, as well as for other books on the Royal Family and wealthy people.

Campbell was born in Jamaica, the child of Michael and Gloria Ziadie. The Ziad
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“cousin and double, who deferred to her in all things, was forced to abdicate. Nicky turned to Georgie for refuge, to which the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky, agreed and” 0 likes
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