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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

In Which I Make a Confession

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Chapters, just by chance, and noticed they were having a Buy 3, Get the 4th Free sale on books.  Luckily, I wasn't busy that day, and I took advantage of Chapters to get 5 free books.  Guess I showed them!

Ever since Prince Phillip actually spoke to me on the Royal Tour of 19xx, I've been a closet royalist, so it wasn't too surprising that among my pile of books was the 6 lb biography of the Queen Mother Elizabeth.  I had been sneaking peaks at it for a couple of weeks, but been reluctant to invest in so much book on so iffy a subject.

Because it's such a heavy tome, I only read it in the living room, if the light is right, so I didn't feel like I'd really made a commitment.   Still, something kept drawing me back, so I made myself a coffee this morning and settled in to think about what I was finding so compelling.

Someone, a Royal Archivist I suppose, keeps every piece of paper ever written by the royals---and that glimpse of intimacy, that vicarious look at what should never have been shared with the world, has been fascinating me.  I can't feel proud of that, but I'm kind of glad nonetheless to have seen the warmth and ordinariness of the notes between the QM and her husband, family and friends.

It isn't really much different from what transpires between people on a daily basis, but it is all written down...archived...available to the world.  And it sort of topsy-turvies the impression of power that goes with royalty---how much more vulnerable could you be than to have public the notes you wrote your daughters on their impending marriages, or the ones to your husband about missing him?

I'm not recommending the book---I'm not recommending the adulation of royalty, but I will finish reading it even while I feel the unfairness of the exposure.

And it doesn't hurt that my upper arms are getting a workout.


  1. I think most of us are interested in the private lives of royalty. I'm not sure why. For sure I wouldn't want to be one of them. It's no fun being watched so least for me, a private person.

  2. It's very strange that we still have royalty in this day and age. And maybe stranger still that we're so fascinated by them. But I admit to sharing the interest, though I'd never have the patience for a book too big to put in my back pocket!

  3. I saw that book advertised while we were in the UK - Gareth bought a copy for his mum (who makes no secret of her love of the Queen and her late mum). I kinda wanted to read it, too...

  4. Perhaps I'll take a look when I'm there Friday. Are there pictures?