There’s a new book out about the Queen called Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II. It was written by Robert Hardman, who gave some advanced excerpts to the Daily Mail earlier this month. Hardman’s book isn’t just about the Queen, obviously, it’s about what’s been happening with the Windsors in recent years. Hardman’s narratives are more from the fussy Buckingham Palace courtiers rather than the Kensington Palace clowns, and it showed in the excerpts. Hardman wrote that the Sussexit reflected poorly on the institution and that “there will have to be some acknowledgement of failings at every level of the institution prior to any sort of resolution. The couple could and should have been a very great asset to the monarchy.” Now Hardman is promoting his book in People Magazine, with an interview about what the Queen is really like:
The Queen likes being Queen. “It’s not just about longevity or clinging on,” the author, who spoke with dozens of friends, palace courtiers and insiders for his new book Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II, tells PEOPLE. “Yes, she’s by far the longest-lived monarch in our history. She remains very much center stage, with an appetite and enthusiasm for the job. She really enjoys what she does.”
The funny Queen: “Those who know her well talk about her sense of humor and how she’s a very upbeat and positive person,” says Hardman. It’s a stark contrast to her dour portrayal on the Netflix hit The Crown, he adds: “A lot of her friends and close staff felt that [The Crown] showed her being miserable all the time. And that’s just not how it is.”
She keeps calm: Despite family heartache, Queen Elizabeth “does personify the cliché ‘Keep calm and carry on.’ Even in the dark days, she is an optimist and soldiers on.”
Another popular misconception? “That she’s largely symbolic and just signs things and goes where she’s told to and smiles,” he says. “When you get behind the scenes of so many of these events, she does keep politicians on their toes.”
The Queen doesn’t wallow or live in the past?? “She lives in the present, reminiscing occasionally, when appropriate, but not as a habit,” one former senior adviser told the author in his new book, out April 5. “It is another key difference between Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria,” the author writes. “The latter loved to wallow in nostalgia, to surround herself with favorites and, in later life, to preserve the past in aspic. The present Queen prefers to move on. Whereas many of her family, including Prince Charles, are romantics at heart, the Queen is a realist.” As one senior adviser told Hardman: “She’s determined to live in the present because she is animated by the electricity of the present.”
She’s the constant in a changing world: “I don’t think people will really realize until she’s gone the extent to which she is just part of the national landscape,” says Hardman. “She is such a reassuring figure. When you have moments of great uncertainty, there’s that sense that the wheels aren’t going to fall off, that the country will still be there tomorrow—as long as there’s still a flag flying above Buckingham Palace.”
“The present Queen prefers to move on. Whereas many of her family, including Prince Charles, are romantics at heart, the Queen is a realist.” I disagree? I mean, I think she’s probably a realist – and not an optimist either – but I also think she’s weighed down by history because she embodies history. While she might not reminisce that often or live fully in the past, that’s because she’s never had to. Everything she does is solely focused on preserving this ancient institution as-is, with little to no updates or evolution. While her reign has seen widespread transformations in the UK and abroad, she is not and has never been a transformative leader. She IS the person who is preserved in aspic.
As for the stuff about how the Queen isn’t the person portrayed on The Crown… yeah, I’m sure she laughs more than how she’s portrayed. But if anything, The Crown is a lot kinder to her fundamental nature, her pettiness and her lack of forward-thinking.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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