Queen Elizabeth II, who died September 8, 2022, at the age of 96, was the longest-serving monarch in British history. While she was not in direct line for the throne at birth, she became heir apparent at the age of 10 when the abdication of King Edward VIII, her uncle, made her father the monarch. A devotion to service—which began before she ascended the throne—was the hallmark of her reign. As a teenager during WWII, she made radio broadcasts to boost the morale of the British public, and after turning 18, she joined the women’s branch of the British army, where she was trained to become an auto mechanic. In a speech marking her 21st birthday Elizabeth said, “I declare before you that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service, and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
When Elizabeth II traveled the globe, although she did not make political pronouncements, her official presence at events had the force of diplomatic statements. She participated in approximately 300 public events each year. She held weekly meetings with prime ministers, fifteen during the course of her reign, beginning with Winston Churchill and ending with Liz Truss just two days before her death.
There were some light-hearted events, too, like the queen’s tea with Paddington Bear. And she opened the 2012 Olympics with an elaborate video showing her being whisked away to a helicopter by Daniel Craig, portraying James Bond, where a stunt double dressed like Elizabeth parachuted into the opening ceremonies.
Queen Elizabeth II did not cut back on her appearances and duties until her final year, and then only on medical advice. For her Silver Jubilee in 1977, she reflected on her early promise of service: “Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.”
All titles in this minibibliography can be requested from your local cooperating library. The digital talking-book titles can be downloaded through BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users can also download titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. To find your local cooperating library, go to www.loc.gov/nls/braille-audio-reading-materials/find-a-local-library or call toll-free 888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323)
Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth: A Biography of Britain’s Queen
by Sarah Bradford
An in-depth portrait of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. Offers inside views–including scandals–of her parents and other forebears, sister, husband, and four children. Tells how she copes with the pressures of being head of state, wife, and mother in an era of tumultuous political and social change. 1996.
Royal Sisters: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret
by Anne Edwards
This dual biography intertwines the lives of Elizabeth II, who would become queen, and Margaret, who would forever remain in her shadow. Edwards shows how quickly they developed different personalities. Elizabeth became serious and reserved, while Margaret retained her feisty spirit. It also discusses the sisterly loyalty that has sustained them throughout life. 1990.
Queen of the World
by Robert Hardman
A biography of Queen Elizabeth II, monarch of the United Kingdom, that focuses on her active role in international affairs as a diplomat, stateswoman, pioneer, and peace-broker. 2019.
Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II
by Robert Lacey
Overview of the monarchy of Great Britain from Queen Victoria in the nineteenth century to Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. Explores the crown’s uneasy relationship with the press and Elizabeth’s endurance of criticism over the misbehavior of members of her family. 2002.
The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II
by Ben Pimlott
The author describes how Elizabeth II, who was never expected to become queen, was thrust toward the role after her uncle’s abdication as king. Pimlott suggests that through no fault of Elizabeth’s, political and social upheavals and scandals involving her children have come to threaten the existence of the monarchy since she began her reign in 1952. 1997.
Queen and Country: The Fifty-Year Reign of Elizabeth II
by William Shawcross
British historian recounts the life and times of Great Britain’s queen from her 1952 ascent to the throne to her 2002 Golden Jubilee. Describes how Elizabeth II adjusted to modern times the ancient monarchy she inherited, surviving notable challenges, among them the tabloid reports of her family’s affairs. 2002.
Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
by Sally Bedell Smith
Biography of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926) by the author of Diana in Search of Herself (RC 48833). Covers her childhood, coronation, and work ethic. Includes anecdotes about palace intrigues and her relationships with family, friends, and politicians. Concludes with Queen Elizabeth II’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee. Bestseller. 2012.
by Kate Williams
An account of Queen Elizabeth II’s life as a young adult, her public life, her work with the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, and her forward-looking thinking upon rising to the crown. Examines how the young queen carved out a role distinct from that of her parents and grandparents. 2012
Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II
by Philip Eade
Biography of Great Britain’s prince consort Philip (born 1921), the grandson of King George I of Greece. Describes Philip’s childhood in Greece, France, Nazi Germany, and England. Continues through his 1947 marriage to Princess Elizabeth II of England and her 1952 ascension to the throne. 2011.
Philip, the Man Behind the Monarchy
by Unity Hall
Analyzes and documents the difficult life of Prince Philip, husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. Hall views Philip, as an intriguing mix of ambition and dedication who decided early on to marry Elizabeth, thus carving out a career for himself. Hall also asserts that while Elizabeth and Philip are very different personalities, they are, and always have been, devoted to each other. 1987.
King Charles III
by Anthony Holden
Heir to the world’s only surviving major monarchy and to one of the greatest fortunes on earth is viewed as a complex, conservative figure who has become an accomplished ambassador for Britain overseas.
by Sally Bedell Smith
A biography of Prince Charles. Using years of research and hundreds of interviews, the author sheds light on the death of Diana, Charles’s marriage to Camilla, and his preparations to take the throne. Begins with his lonely childhood, follows his years at school, his many pursuits, and his complicated familial relationships. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2017.
Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne
by Christopher P. Andersen
An examination of the lives, loves, and relationships among the women of the early twenty-first century British royal family—Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Kate Middleton. Discusses their backgrounds and both the similarities and differences in the trajectories of their lives. 2016.
Royal Service: My Twelve Years as Valet to Prince Charles
by Stephen P. Barry
The man who traveled around the globe with Prince Charles for twelve years prior to the royal marriage takes readers into Buckingham Palace and reveals what it was really like to be a commoner living and working side-by-side with royalty. His candid memoir details the differences with clarity, humor, and affection. 1983.
Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown
by Anne Glenconner
A memoir from a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, who was a friend of Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth II since childhood. Describes her experiences witnessing landmark moments in royal history and shares intimate stories from her time as Princess Margaret’s closest confidante. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style
by Elizabeth Holmes
Journalist examines the lives and fashion choices of members of the British royal family—Queen Elizabeth II; Princess Diana; Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge; and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex. Holmes analyzes the ways the royals use fashion to convey messages about values, interests, and priorities. 2020.
At Home with the Royal Family
by Paul James and Peter Russell
Russell, a former butler to the royal household, and James, a “veteran chronicler of the members of royalty,” offer details of behind-the-palace-walls life. This is not a sampler of royal gossip, but an informed account of the day-to-day running of the court explained with thorough knowledge and ingratiating humor. 1986.
The Queen & Her Court: A Guide to the British Monarchy Today
by Jerrold M. Packard
A close look at the royal family, their lives, personalities, associates, and residences. Also explains various titles and ranks and what they signify, how to address members of the nobility, and customs surrounding the royal family and the court. 1981.
The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor
by A.N. Wilson
According to Queen Elizabeth II, 1992 was an “annus horribilis.” In that year, the family that was supposed to represent the ideal family of stability, to which the British could look for example, suffered many changes. Wilson looks at the House of Windsor in its crisis by examining the influence of the press, royal marriages, religion, and the Constitution. 1993.