The Treasures of Queen Elizabeth by Tim Ewart

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The Treasures of Queen Elizabeth by Tim Ewart

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Category: Biography
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A lavishly-produced look at the first sixty year's of Queen Elizabeth II's reign with four envelopes of replica memorabilia. A good present or souvenir.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: April 2012
Publisher: Carlton Books
ISBN: 978-1780970066

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Tim Ewart is Royal Correspondent for ITV News, which must be one of the perfect starting points for writing a biography of the Queen as she celebrates her diamond jubilee. She's only the second British monarch to achieve this landmark - the other being Queen Victoria. After sixty years on the throne - and eighty six in public life - there's not much which isn't known about the Queen and few pictures which haven't previously seen the light of day, but Ewart's book is marked out by the inclusion of memorabilia which will have a freshness for many readers.

Books are often called 'lavish' but the adjective is merited in this case. The cover is padded, with the front cover being a picture of the queen in her much younger days. She looks carefree, happy and radiant. The picture has the look of a Cecil Beaton, but I can't find anything in the book to tell me the when and the where. Enclosed in the book are four envelopes of memorabilia - replica documents for the most part - which are removeable. The whole book is enclosed in a substantial slipcase which has the merit of looking good and preventing the memorabilia from slipping out. It's a quality product.

The content is predominantly pictures but with good supporting text. I've seen most, if not all of the pictures before but it's a good selection with coverage throughout the reign of the good times and the bad. It's the memorabilia which lifts this book above the ordinary. Firstly - beware. The envelopes are taped in and even as I first opened the book I could feel a sticky edge, which will attract fluff and will eventually separate if you're not very careful. It would have been better if the envelopes had been sewn into the binding, but this would almost certainly have increased production costs.

The memorabilia itself is interesting, ranging from a facsimile of the Queen's marriage certificate through to her favourite recipe for drop scones via Sir Norman Hartnell's sketch of the Queen's wedding dress and an invitation to a 1982 garden party held at Buckingham Palace. It's all interesting and certainly more than you normally get in a book of this type.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

I've just finished reading Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait by Jennie Bond and you might be wondering which book to go for. If you're a dedicated royal watcher who's seen most of the pictures of the Queen and her family then you'll find something new in the Ewart book. On the other hand, if you're looking for a very good overview of the first sixty years of the Queen's reign then you might prefer the Jennie Bond book which is much heavier on content.

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