THE QUEEN'S SECRET - Karen Harper
A Novel of England's World War II Queen
England - 1939 to 1945
To Hitler, she was "the most dangerous woman in Europe", but to Lillibet and Margot, she was Mummy. And to the people of Britain, she was Queen Elizabeth, wife to King George VI. It was a mere two years into her husband's reign after his older brother, the Prince of Wales, "David" to his family, and, for a short time, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne for love. Now, however, the winds of war were upon them, and Elizabeth would find herself reluctantly thrust into the spotlight.
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was the youngest daughter of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She and her younger brother, David, grew up at Glamis Castle in Scotland. It was a large, happy family, and Elizabeth adored her older siblings and her parents. They mingled with royals, and early on Elizabeth had a crush on the Prince of Wales and had dreams of marrying him. But his eyes were on others, many others, and his younger brother, Bertie, started courting Elizabeth. After turning down his proposal twice, she was finally convinced by his mother to marry him. At the time, they were the Duke and Duchess of York. But their world, and that of their two daughters, was turned upside down when Edward VIII chose Wallis Simpson over the throne.
Not a shrinking violet, Elizabeth was the strength behind the throne. Bertie leaned on her and once England went to war with Germany, she was a vital and inspiring link to the public, and, once Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, Elizabeth was included in many war meetings. Meanwhile, she saw to her daughters' needs, tried to show strength and perseverance to the people of London during the Blitz, while bolstering her husband's reign.
But, behind the strong facade, Elizabeth had many secrets she kept hidden from her husband, her family, and, most importantly, the British public. She thoroughly despised her brother-in-law, and especially "that woman" who forced Elizabeth's husband to take on a task he was ill prepared for. With Churchill as an ally, she was able to convince her husband to prevent his brother from returning to England during the war. Bertie was used to consulting with his wife before making difficult decisions.
THE QUEEN'S SECRET is a book of fiction, so some of the rather shocking revelations may raise a few eyebrows. The story is narrated by Elizabeth and her thoughts and feelings are realistic and, at times, very emotional. She was a force to be reckoned with and this book gives us a brief look at the war years. Well researched and beautifully written, I highly recommend THE QUEEN'S SECRET.