Inside The World of Elizabeth II
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 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. As Hardman discovers, she has quietly rewritten the entire royal job description – without us even noticing. Staff who would once have lived an existence straight out of Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey now have free use of the Queen's swimming pool, a round-the-clock counsellor and even her ponies. It's a close-knit world. And Hardman finds out what happens to those who cross her – even if they happen to be monarchs themselves . . . 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.
"Simply magnificent. This gripping, fascinating and authoritative tour de force - covering the Queen herself, the power and the celebrity of Britain's royalty with equal panache - gleams with a unique combination of insider anecdotes, deep knowledge, personal experience and superb storytelling by Britain's outstanding royal observer." - Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of JERUSALEM
"At long last we have the definitive portrait of Queen Elizabeth II's world today. Robert Hardman knows the true story and tells it superbly." - Andrew Roberts
"A gripping authoritative tour de force" - Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of JERUSALEM
"Hardman’s Our Queen is the closest thing to an official jubilee portrait. It is thoroughly researched." - Times Literary Supplement
Robert Hardman is one of Britain's best-known observers of the monarchy. He has covered royal life for more than twenty years, both as a Fleet Street royal correspondent and as the writer of several internationally acclaimed royal documentaries. He interviewed the Prince of Wales for his famous BBC One birthday film Charles at 60, and toured Windsor with Prince Philip for the much-loved BBC One series, The Queen's Castle. He is the writer of both the series and the book, Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work, which has been screened worldwide.
Hardman has reported on royalty from every continent and more than fifty nations. His dispatches have spanned every aspect of the royal story - from the Queen's 'annus horribilis' to the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In addition to the British Royal Family, his royal interviewees have included the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the King and Queen of Norway and the Queen of Denmark.
After Cambridge University, Hardman joined the Daily Telegraph for which he also covered politics and sport and edited the Peterborough column. Since 2001, he has written the How I See It column for the Daily Mail. Married with two children, he lives in London. Our Queen, published in 2011, was a bestseller.