Her public and private worlds, the life and times of Elizabeth II and her family. Fifty years ago in February 1952, while in Kenya on the beginning of a world tour, Princess Elizabeth ascended to the British Throne on the death of her father, King George VI, who the day before had stood on the tarmac at London's Heathrow airport waving her farewell. She returned to London as Queen to be met at the foot of the aircraft steps by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Monarchy is the brilliantly constructed oral biography of the life of Elizabeth II and her fifty-year rule as the second-longest-reigning British sovereign in history. This candid look at the enduring monarch has been compiled from interviews that paint a rich picture of the private and the public life of the Queen. With access to over one hundred friends and associates of the Royal Family, the authors have woven their in-depth conversations into a fascinating, comprehensive personal profile that brings vividly to life the various strands of Queen Elizabeth's life. We follow the story from her birth in an elegant townhouse in London's Piccadilly, through the trauma of the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII, and her realization that she was the heir to the Throne. During the London blitz the Royal Family stayed in London, an action that was loved by Britons, and after the war her almost fairytale marriage to Prince Philip followed by her Coronation in 1953 in Westminster Abbey. This early life is brought vividly to life by insiders like Lady Pamela Hicks, Lady Elizabeth Longford, Michael Parker, Earl of Harewood, Philip Ziegler, and others. The years of her reign, beset by political turmoil in her beloved Commonwealth of Nations and problems nearer to home in her family, are treated sensitively. A portrait emerges of a woman whose understanding of political reality and foreign and domestic policy is wide and deep. She has been served by nine Prime Ministers from Winston Churchill to Tony Blair (who, it is certain, has both given her advice and received it in return). The Monarchy also sheds light new light on Queen Elizabeth's often strained and fractious relationships with her children and their spouses, including, of course, the Prince Charles/Princess Diana/Camilla Parker Bowles drama that riveted the world. Drawing on the knowledge and observations of a wide range of people, courtiers, journalists, heads of state, politicians, and close friends, this book is an intimate and meaningful tour of a remarkable life. It is also a forthright portrait of an amazing woman: the Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth II, a figure who has captured the hearts and imagination of millions.