A standard interview question is “Who would you like to meet and why?” My answer for years has been Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – she has experienced many changes, both good and bad, and has conducted herself with dignity and aplomb. On 09 September 2015, Queen Elizabeth surpassed the previous record set by Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch with 63 years and 217 days. Like Queen Victoria, she is the only other sovereign to celebrate her 60th Diamond Jubilee. This occurred in 2012 and many books and documentaries were released to celebrate that auspicious occasion.
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (2012) is an hour-long documentary that details everything from the planning stage through to the ceremony. Since it was televised to the nation at that time, it is comprised of landmark footage plus interviews with actual participants.
She is fictionalized in Princess Elizabeth’s Spy (2012) as a 14-year-old girl stashed away for safety, along with her sister, in Windsor Castle during World War II. This book by Susan Elia MacNeal is the second in the Maggie Hope Mystery series. Maggie is not happy to be posted as a tutor/babysitter, but when one of their group dies under mysterious circumstances, they discover a much larger threat. “Lilibet” assists immensely in foiling the plot.
In The Queen and I (1992) by Sue Townsend, Queen Elizabeth’s “annus horribilis” becomes much more awful. Due to a change in government, she and her family are forced to move into a council estate, basically a group of downtrodden duplexes. The story chronicles their attempts to be “ordinary” people with poignancy and humor.
Although Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn was published in 2012, the events in the novel take place “several years ago”. In a fit of nostalgia, the Queen decides to visit her old yacht Britannia, now retired to a berth in Leith, Scotland. When members of staff discover she’s scarpered, they set off to retrieve her before the tabloids discover Queen Elizabeth’s disappearance. It is a character study not only of the Queen but Britons of all sorts.
Lastly, I recommend The Diamond Queen (2012) for an intense, yet intimate, look at Queen Elizabeth’s life. This three-part documentary follows her activities over a year and a half culminating in the 60th Jubilee festivities. It also includes personal interviews with many other members of the royal family.
Like Halley’s Comet, take a moment to savour [sic] this once-in-a-lifetime event!