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Download The Queen Mother: The Official Biography Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Queen Mother: The Official Biography Audiobook, by William Shawcross Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (586 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Shawcross Narrator: William Shawcross Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN: 9780307576583
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The official and definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: consort of King George VI, mother of Queen Elizabeth II, grandmother of Prince Charles—and the most beloved British monarch of the twentieth century.

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon—the ninth of the Earl of Strathmore’s ten children—was born on August 4, 1900, and, certainly, no one could have imagined that her long life (she died in 2002) would come to reflect a changing nation over the ourse of an entire century. Now, William Shawcross—given unrestricted access to the Queen Mother’s personal papers, letters, and diaries—gives us a portrait of unprecedented vividness and detail. Here is the girl who helped convalescing soldiers during the First World War; the young Duchess of York helping her reluctant husband assume the throne when his brother abdicated; the Queen refusing to take refuge from the bombing of London, risking her own life to instill courage and hope in others who were living through the Blitz; the dowager Queen—the last Edwardian, the charming survivor of a long-lost era—representing her nation at home and abroad; the matriarch of the Royal Family and “the nation’s best-loved grandmother.”

A revelatory royal biography that is, as well, a singular history of Britain in the twentieth century.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Fascinating . . . Anglophiles and lovers of the crown will relish every morsel. USA Today 
  • A totally absorbing and highly readable account of a remarkable life. . . . Shawcross’s book is genuinely revelatory. The Times (London)
  • Remarkable. Los Angeles Times
     
  • Lively and elegantly written. . . . A rich portrait. The Economist
  • Splendid. . . . An entertaining page-turner. . . . This masterly biography reveals a character whose charm was matched by courage, optimism, a strong sense of duty and a liking for fun. . . . A wonderful book, authoritative, frank and entertaining. It sets new standards for royal biography. . . . Anyone who finds royal biographies dull and dutiful is in for a surprise. The Daily Telegraph (London)
  • A portrait of a remarkable life lived in step with a century of sweeping change. Bloomberg News
  • A colossal book about a colossal life, a spectacular journey across the entire 20th Century through the eyes of a thoughtful woman who took the hand of a shy royal understudy and was propelled through modern history. Daily Mail (London)
  • A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Royal Family. . . . Fascinating reading. . . . Shawcross has written a remarkable book. Tucson Citizen
  • [Written] with unprecedented access to the private papers of the queen mother. . . . Her life is seen here as a mirror of the 20th century. New York Post “Required Reading”
  • Shawcross has been given access to the Royal Archives and they have yielded a rich harvest. . . . [There is an] immense amount of new material here. . . . He is to be congratulated for selecting so many juicy tidbits. A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail (London)
  • Engaging. . . . Colorful. . . . Delightful as well as dignified. The Washington Times
  • The correspondence in [The Queen Mother] is illuminating for both royal watchers and historians. . . . Divulges the Queen Mother’s opinions on topics ranging from feminism to homeopathy. The Associated Press
  • Impressively researched. . . . Shawcross avoids the traps [of] hagiography. . . . He succeeds in the difficult task of keeping his subject resolutely centre-stage in an elegant account. The Independent (London)
  • Shawcross’s journalistic skills are evident in the innumerable dabs of pointilliste detail. . . . There are many unexpected vignettes. . . . He serves his subject well. Sunday Telegraph (London)
     
  • Offers new and fascinating insights into the woman behind the pearls and pastel dresses. Mail on Sunday

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer A | 2/20/2014

    " Good for what it was allowed to be. I learned some interesting information. It was written well, I was misty eyed when King George VI died. She lived a long life full of tragedies and happiness. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Phil | 2/19/2014

    " well written but I just did not care for the endless repetitive descriptions of what charities she supported and the endless events surrounding those charities. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Fagan-hos | 2/17/2014

    " Most enjoyable read - too many references but nonetheless revealing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen | 2/17/2014

    " THe first half was really enjoyable, but after King George VI dies, the book becomes more a compilation of her patronage organizations and house party guests. The earlier part of the book gives insight into family relationships by quoting letters from various royals, especially Queen Mary, but as the book goes on the material is thinner. There is no discussion of her relationship with Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, or her grandchildren. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 2/6/2014

    " Wow! 102 years of a fascinating life...if you are interested in the Royal Family, you should enjoy this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cath | 1/23/2014

    " This is a long read - fascinating, particularly the history aspect during the Blitz. Worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phillis | 1/11/2014

    " What an amazing book. I felt as if I lived her whole life as a friend and from day one, August 1900 until her death in March 2002. The author has writtien about the life of a very well loved woman without sugar coating or over dramatizing the Queen Mother's life. The author's insight and research was complete and non-biased and made for a very entertaining history of this most loved person. For questions on why she did or didn't do certain things was explained by way of learning the how and why of Elizabeth, the person. I am looking forward to reading William Shawcross' book of Queen Elizabeth II. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marti Lewis | 1/7/2014

    " Just downloaded from NYPL -- to start reading soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cece | 12/16/2013

    " Certainly the definitive life of the Queen Mother. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 djgalvan | 12/1/2013

    " Likeable. An amazing woman, mainly because of her lifespan. And now I understand the royal family of Britain and how it works much better. The book was a tad stuffy, and obviously restrained, but since this was an approved biography, how could it be otherwise? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 11/23/2013

    " Loved this biography!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 8/15/2013

    " Long (1,000+ pages); a lot of peerage that is not very meaningful to American readers, but some very interesting insight into the life of Royals and especially England in World War II. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 BarbG Gudgeon | 4/23/2013

    " Really enjoyed this biography. I've never read any thing by this author. Shawcross really does his research well. The book has interesting insights and some very good photographs as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 7/8/2012

    " Very thorough "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 5/29/2012

    " I really liked it. Yes, the author obviously painted a very rosy, reverential picture, but I thought it was a fascinating look of history. Good read to me. Only problem was the big is friggin' huge and a pain (physically) to hold and read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlene | 3/22/2012

    " Wading my way through this...huge book, but nicely detailed....her actions in Britain throughout WWII are amazing....posted her as one of my "Amazing Women" on Pinterest "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Hyde | 10/7/2011

    " Just plain wore me out: the weight of it, the reading, the family. Done for now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 4/25/2011

    " Really enjoyed this biography. I've never read any thing by this author. Shawcross really does his research well. The book has interesting insights and some very good photographs as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marti | 3/26/2011

    " Just downloaded from NYPL -- to start reading soon. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 3/22/2011

    " AMAZING! One of thebest bios ever! Amazing woman, amazing life great audio narration "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/23/2011

    " loving it! The Queen Mum rules "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 2/17/2011

    " Lots of history packed into this biography. I liked the way the author used the personal letters to add a real voice to this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 1/19/2011

    " If you have time to read 942 pages this is an interesting tale of the 20th century and the unique role played by The Queen Mother. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristina | 1/19/2011

    " I FINALLY finished this massive book (around 1,000 pages). Unfortunately, I cannot recommend it. It was too dry with too much detail. Since it was an official biography, it made the Queen Mother out to be a saint which is just no fun. Frankly, I skimmed most of it and I am just glad it's over. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 12/21/2010

    " You will need upper body strength and many days to read this heavy book, but for the most part it is worth it. As it is an official biography, it tells more than most would want to know about the lady's public activities. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Phil | 10/2/2010

    " well written but I just did not care for the endless repetitive descriptions of what charities she supported and the endless events surrounding those charities. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 9/16/2010

    " Kind of boring. Too long and cumbersome. I couldn't get into it. Nothing new that I haven't read before. "

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