Monday, September 20, 2010

Queen Elizabeth II: A Photographic Portrait by Philip Ziegler- Book Review

Queen Elizabeth II: A Photographic Portrait just came out in the UK and I pre-ordered it, because that's what obsessed people royal watchers do. These are official, semi-official portraits and a handful of more casual pictures, including some taken by Prince Andrew. The photographs (by great names such as Sir Cecil Beaton, Marcus Adams and also Canadian pop star Bryan Adams) follow Queen Elizabeth from infancy up until last year. They are interesting not just for the magnificent jewels and clothes or the historic moments, but also for the way they work as a collection to reveal the flesh-and-blood side of someone we often see as a cartoon version (or the Spitting Image puppet) of herself.

The text part of the book, written by Philip Ziegler, is a pretty decent abridged biography of the Queen, suitable even for those who have limited interest in the subject (i.e. my husband). The text is super sympathetic to its subject to the point of trying to release Queen Elizabeth from any responsibility to the more questionable decisions from her past, such as pushing Princess Margaret to end her relationship with Peter Townsend. Still, it's interesting, well-written and serves as a good accompaniment to the truly wonderful photos.

Queen Elizabeth II: A Photographic Portrait by Philip Ziegler (£24.50 on can be ordered online directly from the UK. even with shipping and exchange fees it's significantly cheaper than any other option.

Photo of (then) Princess Elizabeth and baby Prince Charles:

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely photograph. I got to hand her flowers when she came to visit Ottawa 1977 and my school was lucky enough to have her visit. She was soft spoken and kind, thanking me and giving me a huge smile. I recall she was wearing lavender head to toe, from her hat to her handbag, and that her face was softly powdered, not a spot of shine anywhere. Funny- violets it what I think of now when I remember it.

    Can you believe during her coronation in 1953 that someone with a 3D camera took footage? There was a very neat documentary on in Canada last night- they were giving away 3D glasses at our Post Offices :)


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