Martin Belcher's Reviews > The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People

The Diamond Queen by Andrew Marr
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's review
Jan 07, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2012
Read from February 25 to March 20, 2012

As part of the celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year (sixty years on the throne), Andrew Marr has written a very good in depth, candid story of Elizabeth’s journey to the throne and the sometimes bumpy ride that has been the wonderful and glorious sixty year reign of our octogenarian Queen.

The book rather than being set chronologically has been cleverly written in themes and this keeps the reader interested. I’m not ashamed to admit I am a passionate monarchist so you wont find any republican sentiments in my review; although I have to say that this book proves that the Queen and the Royal Family costs each British tax payer less per year than a president or prime minister and is very good value for money in terms of the prestige, publicity, good will and trade that the Queen herself and other members of the Royal Family generate for Britain at home and around the world.

Being Andrew Marr, the book does at times concentrate heavily on the Queen’s relationships with her prime ministers from Winston Churchill through to Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and currently David Cameron. Of course as a constitutional monarch, the Queen is strictly forbidden to engage in party political business but as head of state she is in a unique position of reading all state papers and meets the prime minister each Tuesday to talk about parliament and state affairs. The book goes into depth on this subject and it is quite surprising to find out that Queen has more of an impact and takes an active interest in parliamentary business and her prime ministers than we think she does. We sometimes forget that the Queen of the United Kingdom is also the Queen of Australia, New Zealand and Canada and a few other countries, she is also head of the Commonwealth of Nations (a powerful club of ex empire countries).

Overall a very good and entertaining read and a wonderful insight into the Queen’s very busy life and of the person behind the crown, Elizabeth a powerful, graceful old lady, matriarch of the House of Windsor who continues to transform and renew the royal family so that the monarchy is as relevant to 21st century Britain as it was when she took the throne over from her father, King George VI in 1952.

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