It’s quite rare for me to write about a woman who is still living. However, I got the chance to review Kate Williams book “Young Elizabeth, The Making of the Queen” and I took that chance. “Young Elizabeth” is about the current Queen, Elizabeth II and her youth. I must admit that I did not know much about her youth, aside from the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII.
She was born on 21 April 1926 to the then, Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. As it was widely expected that her uncle, then Prince of Wales, would marry and father children, her birth was not celebrated as that of an heiress. She would pass her early youth in comfort and, as a girl did not have to meet high expectations of education. She was joined by a sister, Margaret, at the age of four. Her life changed in 1936 when her grandfather, George V, died and he was succeeded by his eldest son, now Edward VIII. He had long been in love with American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and he intended to marry her, with of without being King. In the end, to avoid a constitutional crisis, he abdicated in favour of his brother and Elizabeth’s father, who became George VI. Elizabeth was suddenly catapulted to the status of heir presumptive. The Second World War proved to be a gloomy time, as the sister were shut away at Windsor Castle for their protection. It wasn’t until the end of the war that Elizabeth was allowed to become involved.
She fell in love with her future husband even before the war, when she was just 13, and they married on 20 November 1947. Elizabeth was a young bride at just 21. They had four children, Charles (1948), Anne (1950), Andrew (1960) and Edward (1964). She became Queen at the sudden death of her father on 6 February 1952, and she has reigned ever since.
It has been an eventful life, and Kate William’s makes the story come alive. I really enjoyed her vivid writing style and learning more about the young Queen.