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Young Elizabeth: The Making of our Queen

Kate Williams

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Biography: royalty, Prose: non-fiction

The story of how Elizabeth II became queen.

This is the story of how Elizabeth became Queen. We can hardly imagine a Britain without Elizabeth II on the throne. It seems to be the job she was born for. And yet, for much of her early life, the young princess did not know the role that her future would hold. She was our accidental Queen.

As a young girl, Elizabeth was among the guests in Westminster Abbey watching her father being crowned, making her the only monarch to have attended a parent's coronation. Kate Williams explores the sheltered upbringing of the young princess, with a gentle father and domineering mother, her complicated relationship with her sister, Princess Margaret, and her dependence on her nanny, Marion 'Crawfie' Crawford. She details the profound and devastating impact of the abdication crisis, when, at the impressionable age of eleven, Elizabeth found her position changed overnight: no longer a minor princess she was now heiress to the throne.

Elizabeth's determination to share in the struggles of her people marked her out from a young age. Her father initially refused to let her volunteer as a nurse during the Blitz, but relented when she was eighteen and allowed her to work as a mechanic and truck driver for the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was her forward-thinking approach that ensured that her coronation was televised, against the advice of politicians at the time. Kate Williams reveals how the 25-year-old young Queen carved out a lasting role for herself amid the changes of the twentieth century. Her monarchy would be a very different one to that of her parents and grandparents. And its continuing popularity in the twenty-first century owes much to the intelligence and elusive personality of this remarkable woman.

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Kate Williams

Kate Williams is an author, social historian and broadcaster. The Storms of War, her first novel in the De Witt trilogy, was widely acclaimed, reviewed as 'spellbinding, gripping and beautiful'. She has always wanted to travel in time and wrote her first novel when she was seven (The Adventures of Maria) - it was rather short.

Kate loves delving into archives, collections, diaries and letters. She has a DPhil from Oxford and is the author of the novel The Pleasures of Men and four historical biographies of Emma Hamilton, Queen Victoria, Elizabeth II and Empress Josephine - which is being made into a major TV series.

She is Professor of Public History at the University of Reading.

Kate is CNN's historian and royal expert, covers royal and national events on the BBC and other channels and regularly appears on other TV programmes, including BBC Breakfast, Restoration Home and The Great British Bake Off, discussing social and royal history, general politics and culture. She also loves quiz shows and is a regular on The Quizeum.

She is the resident historian on Frank Skinner's BBC Radio 4 panel show The Rest is History, and writes features, reviews and comment pieces for various newspapers and magazines, including the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent and Observer.

Kate lives in London.

Find out more at www.kate-williams.com and follow her on Twitter @KateWilliamsme

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