A peek into the life of British royalty

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

BOOK REVIEW: Our Queen
By Robert Hardman (Arrow, RRP $30)

It's been a big year for the Queen.  A huge party marked her 86th birthday in April and at a time in her life when most of us would be looking forward to a cup of tea and a nice lie down, and Queen Elizabeth is still busily attending public functions, giving speeches and generally being regal.

Aside from turning 86, she also had a diamond jubilee and all its associated kerfuffle and the London Olympics to celebrate this year, so it's been an even more hectic time than normal for the octogenarian monarch and her 91-year-old husband.

Robert Hardman has written a book profiling a queen who has travelled further than all her predecessors put together, met more historic figures than anyone alive - from Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela to Charles de Gaulle and Barack Obama - and who is no closer to thinking about retirement than she was on the day she came to the throne in 1952.

The author has access behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace for two years while researching for this book and before that he had two decades of expertise in all things royal. It includes interviews with members of the royal family, prime ministers, foreign leaders and past and present members of the royal household.

All of that detail comes together to tell the story of a monarch who has embraced change and technology as much as she has embraced the throne.

Hardman also had the opportunity to interview Prince William, who offered many insights into the monarchy and how his grandmother has led it.

Whether or not you are a fan of the royal doesn't matter, this is a fascinating read.

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