British journalist Robert Hardman, author of Her Majesty, is also mighty fond of the queen, and he tries hard to keep attention away from any failures by Her Royal Highness or her family. There’s even an item in the index for “Royal family: alleged dysfunctionality,” leading to a page where Hardman airily dismisses the d-word as “lazy media shorthand.”
To borrow a phrase from a British scandal: He would say that, wouldn’t he? Hardman’s overly sympathetic and often dull book paints the royal family in a glowing light, reflecting an attitude that presumably convinced several members of the royal clan to give him interviews in which they say little of interest.
Hardman does, however, quote the queen’s son Prince Andrew as actually saying something revealing: “we’re not that different to anybody else. It’s just a slightly different reality.” (Talk about someone who lives in a different world!)
In all the hundreds of pages in these books, many queenly questions remain unanswered.
What does she say to prime ministers during those private chats? It appears that she acts as a confidential sounding board, but we don’t know for sure. What did she really think of Princess Diana? And what on earth does she carry in her famous purses? (Stories differ.)
We may never gain a great understanding of the queen until after her death, when her lifelong diaries will be released. But it seems likely that her natural reserve will keep her most-private thoughts out of the history books.
Even so, we still can hope to discover that this onetime princess, whose life has hardly been a fairy tale, has managed to live happily ever after.