Queen and Country
In 2002, Queen Elizabeth II becomes only the fifth monarch in British history to reign for 50 years.
To mark this momentous occasion - the Golden Jubilee -William Shawcross has written a revealing and intimate portrait of the Queen, and an absorbing study of the changing face of monarchy and of Britain during the past half-century. This has been a period of unprecedented and often turbulent change. Britain today bears little resemblance to the country the Queen inherited in 1952. Queen and Country looks at how the Queen has adapted to the swirl of events taking place around her. By examining several aspects of her public role - including her relationship with successive prime ministers -William Shawcross shows how the Queen has been a fixed point in the storm. Her stability, calm and good sense have earned her the respect and affection of the nation. In an age when the private lives of the royal family have become the subject of intense media attention and public scrutiny the Queen has remained an elusive, even enigmatic figure. With rare access to senior royals, close friends and colleagues, William Shawcross uncovers the Queen's private passions, and provides a compelling picture of a very human monarch.
Published to coincide with a landmark four-part television series on the BBC, this beautifully illustrated book, complete with more than 100 photographs, is a fitting celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee.
'Shawcross's thesis - that the Queen's unchanging nature has been invaluable in a half century when British society has suffered bewildering changes - is not new, but is well argued and impressively buttressed with sound historical commentary. What is quite new is the generous portrait of an attractive and funny woman.'
Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph
'This engaging documentary, with commentary by William Shawcross, offers up a new and appealing profile of the Queen. It shows a woman who chooses her public persona very carefully, despite the fact it masks a woman of intelligence, humour, wit and diverse interests.'
Tony Johnston, Sunday Herald Sun
'The BBC's four part series on the Queen is a wonderful piece of TV. In fact, we would argue it is one of the best and most revealing documentaries the Beeb has ever commissioned. William Shawcross, who made the series, humanises the Queen in a way we have not seen before.The Queen comes over as a witty, likeable, feisty, intelligent lady who has borne the burden of monarchy with great style. Better still, the Royals emerge as a resilient family with a sense of humour- and a real affection for each other. Shawcrohas not done this through spin. He has done it by allowing the viewer to see the real family.This series will change the way ordinary Brits view the Monarchy for ever. It is a TRIUMPH.'
'Queen and Country (is) a serious historical documentary fronted by a respected journalist - William Shawcross. No BBC series with this kind of accecould be expected to put the boot in, but to what extent should the documentary get down on one knee ? Realising how risky opinion is, the solution of Shawcroand his producer, John Bridcut, is to concentrate on what all good history should attempt : the sharp, small, unexpected detaisl from the past.'
Mark Lawson, Guardian.
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