Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life and Reign

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Young Elizabeth
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
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Prince Philip

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.
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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.
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King Charles III

Prince Charles
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.
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Prince Charles
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.
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Other family members

Diana's Boys: William and Harry and the Mother They Loved
by Christopher P. Andersen

Portraits of the princes William and Harry, with and without their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Andersen describes the boys' development from hellions to seemingly well-adjusted adolescents, and the roles of Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, and Camilla Parker Bowles after Diana's death. He also looks at the women in William's life. Bestseller. 2001.
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Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret
by Craig Brown

A portrait of the famous English royal, sister to Queen Elizabeth II, drawn through interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2017.
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by Harry, Prince. Duke of Sussex

"It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is that story at last. Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight. At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love. Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief." -- Provided by publisher.; Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2023.
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Battle of Brothers: William and Harry–The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult
by Robert Lacey

The biographer who wrote Sir Walter Raleigh (DB11467) explores the relationship between Prince William and Prince Harry throughout their childhood and as adults. He reflects on their former closeness and later estrangement, as well as the role that their vastly different futures may have played in their dynamic. 2020.
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Diana, William, and Harry
by James Patterson and Chris Mooney

"From the moments William and Harry are born into the House of Windsor, they become their young mother's whole world. I've got two very healthy, strong boys. I realize how incredibly lucky I am, Diana reminds herself every morning. But even the Princess of Wales questions, Am I a good mother? Diana's faced with a seemingly impossible challenge: one son destined to be King of England and another determined to find his own way. She teaches them to honor royal tradition, even while daring to break it. "Sometimes I'd like a time machine..." Diana says as William and Harry grow up, never imagining they'd have less than a lifetime together. Even after she's gone, her sons follow their mother's lead—and her heart. As the years pass and William and Harry grow into adulthood and form families of their own, they carry on Diana's name, her likeness, and her incomparable spirit." -- Provided by publisher.; Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2022.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Other Side of the Coin
by Angela Kelly

"When Angela Kelly and The Queen are together, laughter echoes through the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Angela has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-five years, initially as Her Majesty's Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty's Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen. In The Other Side of the Coin, The Queen has personally given Angela her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Whether it's preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty's day with a playful joke, Angela's priority is to serve and support. Sharing charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it's like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way. 'The book documents the unique working relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and the woman who has been her Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser for more than two decades: Angela Kelly. It gives a rare insight into the demands of the job of supporting the Monarch, and we gain privileged insight into a successful working relationship, characterized by humor, creativity, hard work, and a mutual commitment to service and duty. Angela is a talented and inspiring woman, who has captured the highlights of her long career with The Queen for us all to share.'" -- Provided by publisher. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
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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.
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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.
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