New book reveals the Queen’s stoicism in recent months: An intimate portrait that tells how she found comfort after Philip’s death as she watched the line of duty and how she dealt with revelations about Andrew
By Rebecca English, Royal Editor of the Daily Mail
published: | Updated:
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A fascinating new royal biography sheds light on Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable stoicism in the final months of her life, and how she didn’t hesitate to banish her son – and found comfort after her husband’s death by watching the line of duty.
Written by author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait – which has been serialized in The Mail +, as well as in Tomorrow’s Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday – is full of fascinating vignettes about our longest-serving but still very enigmatic monarch.Read:Our Yorkshire Farm axed by Channel 5 as new show replaces it
Mr Brandreth, who holds a unique position as a friend and biographer of the royal family, reveals how the Queen told her lady-in-waiting she was determined to keep busy as it helped her get over the loss of Philip in April last year. Her husband is 73 years old.
In the words of the then Duchess of Cornwall — now Queen consort — who also spoke to the author, her mother-in-law was simply “unstoppable.”
The Queen receives Liz Truss in the drawing room at Balmoral Castle on September 6. This is the last portrait of Her Majesty.
The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor in 2013
However, former MP Brandreth wrote that by the fall of last year the Queen had pressed herself so hard that she suffered a “sudden drop in energy” and urged doctors to take it a little easier.
‘I must be sensible,’ she said reluctantly, a rare admission of weakness from a woman for whom duty was paramount, despite the personal cost.Read:Your weekly tarot horoscope from September 25 to October 1 – predictions for all star signs
Among the wealth of cool new details, Brandreth also reveals:
- When Prince Philip retired in 2017, he and the Queen went weeks without seeing each other, although they spoke regularly on the phone. in his own way’;
- However, the couple discovered a new comfort in each other’s company during the lockdown and when it was lifted, they decided to spend more time together, traveling to Scotland and Sandringham, as well as to Windsor;
- The Queen was determined to be with her husband when he died, and had scarcely left his side in the last few weeks of his life, but Philip slipped so fast on April 9 last year that the staff could not wake her in time to see him;
- Despite her great personal grief, she was a great comfort to her family and saw it as her “Christian duty” to carry on as best she could. ‘And life goes on.’ She said ;
- Watching TV, particularly dramas like Line of Duty, helped her “keep her spirits up.” But it sometimes struggled to keep up with the plot – and didn’t like the constant “blinking” of it and other shows;
- Her renewed determination to keep up with royal duties after the loss of her husband was partly due to her unwillingness to give up any form of self-pity. “My husband certainly wouldn’t agree”;
- The Queen was loyal to her staff and they to her. But her closest aide, Angela Kelly, daughter of a dock-worker in Liverpool, was sometimes seen as a “nuisance” by the ladies-in-waiting, who disliked her “easy acquaintance” with the Queen;
- The Queen’s first three children were born using a now-discredited form of childbirth known as “damasleaf”, during which patients are drugged to put them into a state of amnesia during labor known as “twilight sleep”.
- A lady-in-waiting reveals that the technique, which allows the woman to remain semi-conscious but with little pain or recollection of the experience, left her suffering from “postpartum side effects” with Andrew – and Edward was born naturally;
- The late Queen was a loving mother but willing to make difficult decisions when necessary, none more so about her “favorite child” Andrew;
- Although she retained her ‘confidence’ in her second son, she did not hesitate to strip him of his role after his disastrous Jeffrey Epstein interview in 2019. ”The Queen has taken a firm grip on matters. To use military terms, there were only a few days between the Flash and the Doi. The procedure was called for and I took it,” revealed one of the senior courtiers;
- However, the Queen also deliberately allowed her to be photographed riding with Andrew in Windsor Great Park the next day to relieve him of his royal duties to show her personal support. She was also in favor of him appearing at her side at Philip’s memorial service;
- The Queen has always been reserved and never said too much. When Andrew told his mother the full unfortunate story of his friendship with convicted child sex offender Epstein, she listened carefully and replied with one word. ‘it’s interesting’;
- Even in her 90s, the late Queen surprisingly dabbled with modern technology, using her own mobile phone and messaging her family. But she found the “apps” confusing and would not allow her descendants to bring their devices to the table under any circumstances;
- She had a wonderful sense of humor and comedic timing, and came up with the idea to keep actor Daniel Craig waiting for her while she signed a letter in the James Bond skit for the memorable 2012 Olympics. But she only felt comfortable taking part in such stunts after her mother’s death in 2002 because she felt that she would have considered them “a little undignified,” according to one of her senior aides;
- In the last months of her life, the Queen’s health deteriorated rapidly. “The truth is, Her Majesty the Queen always knew that her remaining time was limited,” Brandreth writes. She reacted to her health problems phlegmatic. “You have accepted this with all the good grace you would expect,” wrote Mr. Brandreth movingly.
- Despite her growing frailty, she mischievously adored participating in June’s Platinum Jubilee sketch, where she was photographed having tea with Paddington Bear at Buckingham Palace and even pulling a marmalade sandwich from her famous handbag. She called it a secret “great fun” and was particularly pleased that “everyone kept the secret” until it was broadcast at the start of the Jubilee Ball. “That was beautiful,” she said.
Written by author and broadcaster Giles Brandreth, Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait – which was serially published in the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday of the day – is filled with fascinating articles about our longest-serving but still very enigmatic monarch.
Mr. Brandith’s Autobiography tells the remarkable story of Elizabeth’s life and reign from a singular perspective, as she was one of the few authors to meet and converse with her, and kept meticulous—and often humorous—contemporary records of their conversations.
He was a confidant of the Duke of Edinburgh and knew the new king and queen well.
Mr Brandreth isn’t afraid to write boldly, revealing the Queen’s personal thoughts on Harry and Meghan’s decision to quit their careers as royals and move to the US, as well as her stunningly practical reaction to the security breach last Christmas at Windsor Castle that saw an arc. Using an intruder who climbs the wall, claiming he wants to kill her.
But he does so with unchecked grace and sensitivity, capturing her infectious sense of humor as well as honoring Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years of public service and fervent devotion to her people and country.
Elizabeth: An intimate selfie posted by Michael Joseph on Dec 8.
Click here to read the first excerpt from Giles Brandreth’s intimate photo of the Queen on The Mail+