The Last Queen : Elizabeth II's Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor Clive Irving

I found Clive Irving's account of his time working at several English newspapers, his friendship with Lord Snowden and what he writes about Rupert Murdoch more interesting than his analysis of the Royal family. It struck me that I would find an autobiography more enjoyable reading. He provides a detailed look at the Queen's efforts to remain free of scandal, in spite of the family crashing down all around her over the years, but there isn't that much that is new in this book to people who have read a lot about the subject. He writes about the usual scandals, such as Edward VIII's links with the Nazis, Aberfan, Blunt and Princess Diana. Harbouring Blunt who was a traitor is really unforgivable, but I doubt that it would turn anyone into a republican.

I felt that although clever, this book is a bit nasty and condescending, especially about the Queen. For example, he doubts that the Queen has the 'intellectual curiosity' to discuss 'her ideas about the national purpose'.He has a singularly low opinion of all of them. He even thinks that Prince Charles's architectural 'atavism' may apparently even suggest a 'clinical disorder' - a rather long stretch I think! Lord Snowden definitely comes out the best, in spite of his lack of morals, because he had taste and culture and did much for the disabled. He was also somewhat egalitarian. Princess Margaret gets a blast, of course, for throwing her talents away, but he appears to criticise her dislike of living in a cottage which Snowden loved. She disliked it partly because it lacked central heating!

Whether you agree with Irving's opinions or not probably depends on whether you are a monarchist or a supporter of a republic. I am extremely doubtful that Elizabeth II will be the last queen, but it is a good title for a book.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.


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