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The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hardcover – April 24, 2012

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The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother + The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir + Behind Palace Doors: My Service As the Queen Mother's Equerry
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250018978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250018977
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Some Palace watchers note that Lady Colin Campbell has an impressive roster of well-placed contacts and credit her with writing the most believable Diana biography."
--People Magazine on Diana in Private

About the Author

LADY COLIN CAMPBELL, who is connected to the royal family through mutual ancestors and marriage, is the author of the New York Times bestseller Diana in Private--which was the first book to reveal the truth behind the "fairytale" marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales--as well as The Royal Marriages: What Really Goes on in the Private World of the Queen and Her Family, and The Real Diana.

More About the Author

Lady Colin Campbell is a highly successful and prolific author of several books, including London and New York Times bestsellers, and has been a prominent and often controversial figure in royal and social circles for many years. She perhaps is best known for her international bestselling book Diana in Private, 1992, and her subsequent extended and revelatory biography of the Princess of Wales, The Real Diana published in 2004. She has written books on the Royal Family, been a long term columnist and appeared numerous times on TV and Radio as an experienced Royal Insider and expert on the British aristocracy. In 1997 she published her autobiography, A Life Worth Living, which was serialised in The Daily Mail. Born in St Andrew, Jamaica, she was educated there and in New York, where she lived for seven years. She is connected to British royalty through common ancestors and marriage. She has two sons and lives in London.

Customer Reviews

I read half of the book and skimmed through the rest.
Sweet Lady
I am not saying that the queen mum was a saint, but she deserved a biography that certainly is more balanced than this hatchet job, however entertaining.
G. Maisano
I think the author has done her research and has written a very interesting book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By MickiRae on May 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I'll give the author this - she delivers an interesting read and keeps the narrative going. But she loses all credibility with me because the book, nearly from its first page, comes across as nothing more than an axe to grind against a notable figure. At first, I thought it was to sell the book - write something controversial against a "beloved" figure will always sell - but the more I read, the more it comes across as really just petty, vengeful, I-never-liked-her-and-I'm-going-to-make-my-case-for-why-not crap.

I went into this fully prepared to learn some things about the Queen Mother that were unflattering and human and true. In fact, I want a biography to be unvarnished and as honest as possible. But the author spends so much time attributing petty, selfish or mean motives to every. single. thing. that Elizabeth Lyon Bowes ever did, said, wrote or showed up at, that frankly it's impossible to see any honesty in it at all. The author spends more than a few words taking potshots at what she sees as the airbrushed truth of The Queen Mother's authorized biographies - well, dear author, you come across as equally biased, just in the opposite direction. All you succeeded in doing was making me distrust any "fact" you presented.

Worth reading? Maybe. There are some interesting details and tidbits and historical sidenotes I'd not read before. But if you're looking for an actual honest biography of a much beloved (but certainly human and therefore flawed) public figure, I don't think this is it.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer from Queens on May 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a good read (I was expecting the outrageous premises from the early reviews), a time passer and I think OK for Summer vacation reading. Many of the stories told were very hard to believe and based mostly on hearsay gossip or what some relative or friend of Lady Campbell told her. There were some parts that rang true, like the Queen Mum's over coddling of her grandson Prince Charles which had some unfortunate ramifications; her coldness to her daughter Princess Margaret and her backing of Lord Snowdon during the divorce proceedings of her daughter; the short changing of giving her daughters an education; and her antipathy towards Prince Philip, Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana. Lady Campbell was spot on about these and other details about the Queen Mum.Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Caringer on November 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like to read at least 2 and often more books about a person, because each writer will come up with his or her own theses and then choose facts to support those. So, naturally, I chose to read this book after reading Shawcross's official Queen Mother biography, because I wanted to get a different viewpoint. What I got, instead, was annoyed. Consistently. Hey, folks, I don't CARE about the Queen Mum, but I know vindictiveness when I see it. This author, if you want to call her that, works herself into an angry lather time and time again in the book as she tries to explain how absolutely vile the Queen Mother was. Sources? Very few. The author's former mother-in-law appears again and again, and it's obvious that she has some ax to grind. But that is never explained. Another frequent "source" (often through secondhand quotes from -- again -- the author's mother-in-law) is David, the former King Edward VIII, who-- history has shown--DID have an ax to grind. The first part of the book is rather interesting, but it quickly sinks into unsupported, gossipy opinions regarding the Queen Mother's motivations. Had such information on her motivations been substantiated, it would have made for enlightening reading. But that was not the case. I suppose I read too many biographies by true historians, so I wasn't expecting something this nasty and unprofessional. Gossipy opinion without foundation isn't exactly what I was looking for. The only one who ended up looking bad by the end of the book was the author. My, my....... What on earth did the Queen Mother ever do to you or your family, Ms.Campbell, to prompt you to write this? Perhaps it's just a case of jealousy.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tom F on June 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ordinarily I'd stay away from anything with Lady Colin Campbell's name on it but after reading other scrubbed up, official biographies about Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, I gave it a shot. Campbell writes very well in a conversational style. She has certainly researched her subject in detail, and is very consistent and fair. I the reader have the responsibility to take what's presented or leave it. After reading a number of works relating how sweet, how wonderful, how kind, how salt of the earth the Queen Mum was, it didn't jive with many published inconsistencies of her personality and the steadfast image being pushed out there, her known nasty remarks, vengefulness, profligate lifestyle, and ossified attitudes. I like biography, not propaganda.

Although I learned a lot of tidbits about various royals, I don't buy Campbell's attempt to scrub up Edward and Wallis's reputations. ER VIII may have been jockeyed off the throne but he and his girlfriend certainly helped. And if the abdication happened in the plausible way Campbell related, none of the principals - royals, courtiers, politicians - conducted themselves well, excepting the very brave, steadfast George VI.

Campbell at least offers a view held by many who would know, that Elizabeth's steel beneath the marshmellow was real, not always admirable, and corrosive. And it rings true. Mixed with her many good traits and her ability to inspire, which the author frequently mentions, I have a more realistic portrait of who she was - good and bad. That's the essense of biography.

If you buy the official view of this longstanding public figure, spare yourself the "offense." If you want a more complete view of her, consider this book.
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