Our Queen by Robert Hardman
History has known no monarch like her. She has travelled farther than all her predecessors put together and lived longer than any of them. She has known more historic figures than anyone alive - from Churchill to Mandela, de Gaulle to Obama. Now, the distinguished royal writer Robert Hardman has been granted rare and privileged access to the world of Queen Elizabeth II to produce this enthralling new portrait of one of the most popular public figures on Earth. Only one other monarch - Victoria - has celebrated a diamond jubilee. As our Queen marks sixty years on the throne, Hardman travels with her around the country and the world. He meets Her Majesty's family, her closest advisers and her prime ministers past and present. He follows the devoted team around her, from her Lord Chamberlain to her footmen. Not only has Elizabeth II reigned through Britain's transformation from an imperial power to a multicultural, multimedia nation, but she has steered the Monarchy through more reforms in the last 25 years than in the previous century. Staff who would once have lived an existence straight out of Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey now find themselves working in a surprisingly young and dynamic environment - with some interesting perks. 'So much has changed around the Queen yet she has remained utterly true to herself,' says Hardman. 'There is this timeless quality about her. The more you talk to Her Majesty's family and to her people, the more you look at her life, the more impressive the scale of her achievement becomes.' Our Queen sits at the head of an ancient institution which remains, simultaneously, popular, regal, inclusive and relevant in a twenty-first-century world. It is neither down to luck nor longevity. It is down to the shrewd judgement of a thoroughly modern monarch with no small assistance from the longest-serving consort in history. Here is the inside story.