Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait by Jennie Bond

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Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait by Jennie Bond

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Category: Biography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A history of Queen Elizabeth II told mainly in pictures. If you're a dedicated royal watcher not many of the pictures will be new but otherwise it makes a good present or souvenir.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Carlton
ISBN: 978-1847329608

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Jennie Bond was the BBC's Royal Correspondent for fourteen years from 1989 and covered a period of particular turbulence in the Royal family. It might not have been unprecedented but it was the first time that what was happening was so widely reported throughout the world. This book covers a much wider period with the emphasis being on pictures rather than words. It's a heavy, well-produced and lavishly-presented book of the type which would make a good present or souvenir of a visit to the United Kingdom.

The book opens with a helpful family tree, which stretches from Queen Victoria through to the Queen's first great grandchild. There's a short introduction giving the background to the Queen's childhood through to the point where she ascended the throne. The book is then divided into seven chapters followed by a chronology and index. The pictures of the Queen begin with her at one month old, with the Queen Mother and dressed up for her christening and go through to her visit to Australia in 2011.

If you're a dedicated royal watcher you may well find that there are not many new pictures in the book - but after sixty years in the job with every photograph being eagerly sought after there's not going to be a lot that's new. Hatchings, matchings and dispachings are all covered with some particularly telling moments which had certainly slipped my memory. There's the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the centenary of Queen Mary in 1967 when the Duke of Windsor (the former Edward VIII) bows to his sovereign and the Duchess of Windsor looks as though she's wondering how different things might have been. At the Duke's funeral in 1972 there's a picture of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother who are endeavouring to behave correctly to a clearly disorientated Duchess of Windsor. The strain is palpable.

There are happier pictures though. I tend to discount the ones where the Royal family relax en famille with the men dressed in suit, shirt and tie, but I liked the one of the Queen watching her husband push Charles and Anne on a swing. You can see her not quite saying Oh, do be careful! There are, of course all the usual photographs of the Queen greeting the long stream of politicians of every stripe whom she meets on her travels or who pass through the palace. It's noticeable that she looks infinitely happier when she's in the company of animals, lending some credence to the story that the Duke of Edinburgh once commented that she was happiest with beings which farted or chewed cud.

I enjoyed looking through the book. It brought back a lot of memories and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You could shelve this book alongside The Treasures of Queen Elizabeth by Tim Ewart. If you're looking for a less-expensive (or lighter) book then you might enjoy Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times by Sarah Bradford.

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Buy Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait by Jennie Bond at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait by Jennie Bond at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait by Jennie Bond at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait by Jennie Bond at Amazon.com.


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