Monarchy in Britain is a mindset – sociological and emotional – seldom scrutinised save by diehard supporters or detractors.
Matthew Dennison's new biography of Elizabeth II offers to evaluate a magisterial reign now spanning seven decades and the Queen’s record as practitioner of monarchy. The person of the monarch is the closest an ethnically and culturally diverse society comes to a visible representative of past, present and future, although population changes since 1945 have made it impossible for Elizabeth II convincingly to embody the wide-ranging outlooks and aspirations of a muddled demographic. Instead she is understood as the champion of a handful of ‘British’ values endorsed – if no longer practised – by the bulk of the nation: service, duty, steadfastness, charity, stoicism: a visible definition of an aspect of ‘Britishness’.
About the Author
Matthew Dennison is the author of seven critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, including ‘Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West’, a Book of the Year in The Times, Spectator, Independent and Observer. His most recent book is the much-praised ‘Eternal Boy’, a life of Kenneth Grahame.