The Real Elizabeth by British journalist Andrew Marr is perceptive, wryly written, and a delight to read. People “often bubble about [the queen's] wit and insight – and then tell you only what they said to her,” Marr writes. “Clever.”
Thankfully, she can’t hide everything. Marr manages to offer a few delicious stories about the queen, like the time Prince Philip scurried out of a chalet doorway, followed by a pair of airborne tennis shoes and a tennis racquet, as a startled documentary film crew watched. The filmmaker, no fool he, wisely exposed the film.
Marr also provides vivid stories about other royal personalities, from the troubled Princess Diana to grumpy ol’ Prince Philip, the fun-loving queen mother, and the regal Queen Mary, Elizabeth’s grandmother, who once disagreed with a book’s description of herself as easily bored: “As a matter of fact,” she sniffed in her own handwriting, “The Queen is never bored.”
Marr’s insight sets him apart, such as when he captures Elizabeth’s poise and “eerie” phrasing during a radio broadcast on her 21st birthday: “[I]t is as if we are witnessing a young woman making herself into some kind of human sacrifice.”