She has travelled farther than all her predecessors put together and lived longer than any of them. She has known more historic figures than anyone alive - from Churchill to Mandela, de Gaulle to Obama.
Now, the distinguished royal writer Robert Hardman has been granted rare and privileged access to the world of Queen Elizabeth II to produce this enthralling new portrait of one of the most popular public figures on Earth.
Only one other monarch - Victoria - has celebrated a diamond jubilee. As our Queen marks sixty years on the throne, Hardman travels with her around the country and the world. He meets Her Majesty's family, her closest advisers and her prime ministers past and present. He follows the devoted team around her, from her Lord Chamberlain to her footmen.
Not only has Elizabeth II reigned through Britain's transformation from an imperial power to a multicultural, multimedia nation, but she has steered the Monarchy through more reforms in the last 25 years than in the previous century.
Staff who would once have lived an existence straight out of Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey now find themselves working in a surprisingly young and dynamic environment - with some interesting perks.
'So much has changed around the Queen yet she has remained utterly true to herself,' says Hardman. 'There is this timeless quality about her. The more you talk to Her Majesty's family and to her people, the more you look at her life, the more impressive the scale of her achievement becomes.'.
Our Queen sits at the head of an ancient institution which remains, simultaneously, popular, regal, inclusive and relevant in a twenty-first-century world. It is neither down to luck nor longevity. It is down to the shrewd judgement of a thoroughly modern monarch with no small assistance from the longest-serving consort in history.
Here is the inside story.
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Simply magnificent. This gripping, fascinating and authoritative tour de force - covering the Queen herself, the power and the celebrity of Britain's royalty with equal panache - gleams with a unique combination of insider anecdotes, deep knowledge, personal experience and superb storytelling by Britain's outstanding royal observer. -
At long last we have the definitive portrait of Queen Elizabeth II's world today. Robert Hardman knows the true story and tells it superbly. -
As well as the entire senior management of both Buckingham and St James's palaces, Hardman has interviewed David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, former Prime Ministers, the last four Foreign Secretaries and scores of others, so this book abounds with insights. Yet its real value lies in the sheer quality of the writing and the consistently sound judgement that Hardman brings in teasing out the true character of one of the world's most exemplary human beings. - Mail on Sunday
Hardman knows his subject intimately and has used enviable access to produce a richly detailed and thoughtful account - Telegraph
Hardman is the best chronicler of the monarchy writing in the British press today, superbly well informed, witty and wise. - Evening Standard
The most important royal book for years - Daily Mail
Robert Hardman is one of Britain's best-known observers of the monarchy. He has covered royal life for more than twenty years, both as a Fleet Street royal correspondent and as the writer of several internationally acclaimed royal documentaries. He interviewed the Prince of Wales for his famous BBC One birthday film Charles at 60, and toured Windsor with Prince Philip for the much-loved BBC One series, The Queen's Castle. He is the writer of both the series and the book, Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work, which has been screened worldwide.
Hardman has reported on royalty from every continent and more than fifty nations. His dispatches have spanned every aspect of the royal story - from the Queen's 'annus horribilis' to the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In addition to the British Royal Family, his royal interviewees have included the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the King and Queen of Norway and the Queen of Denmark.
After Cambridge University, Hardman joined the Daily Telegraph for which he also covered politics and sport and edited the Peterborough column. Since 2001, he has written the How I See It column for the Daily Mail. Married with two children, he lives in London.