Our Queen by Robert Hardman
Our Queen by Robert Hardman: reviewPhilip Eade delves into a study of Queen Elizabeth II, which interviews a range of people from Tony Blair to David Cameron, and reveals her sense of the absurd: Our Queen by Robert Hardman.
by Philip Eade
Ahead of those by Andrew Marr, Sarah Bradford and Sally Bedell Smith,Our Queen is the first book to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on February 6 2012, 60 years after the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth learnt in Kenya that her father George VI had died. Six decades on, as Robert Hardman writes, the Queen remains the most popular figure in British public life by some distance
In a reign so far spanning 12 British prime ministers, 12 American presidents and six popes, he calculates that she has travelled farther and met more foreign leaders than all her predecessors put together, and “personally met” getting on for four million people.
Rather than a biography, Hardman has opted for “a portrait of our Queen today”, as he puts it. A reporter on royalty for more than 20 years, Hardman knows his subject intimately and has used his enviable access to produce a richly detailed and thoughtful account. However, his themed structure means the story jumps around a lot, and his closeness to his sources may have diminished his detachment.
Because the Queen rarely reveals her thoughts, moreover, aspects of her character remain opaque. Her cook won’t even let on what her favourite food is – lest she be served nothing else by her hosts. But there is plenty to interest royal watchers.