Counting One's Blessings
One of the revelations of William Shawcross's official biography of the Queen Mother was her private correspondence. Indeed the Sunday Times described her letters as 'wonderful ... brimful of liveliness and irreverence, steeliness and sweetness.'
Queen Elizabeth was a prolific correspondent from her earliest childhood and her letters offer readers a vivid insight into the person behind the public face. They reveal - in her own words - the little girl writing to her family; the young woman who, eventually, accepted Prince Albert's proposal; the Duchess of York, embracing the public role demanded of her, on royal tours both at home and abroad. They reveal, too, her shock when she and her husband realized that he would become King, the dreadful toll exacted by the Second World War, culminating in the King's tragically early death, and her determination to find a role for herself during her long widowhood. Full of wit, acute observation and a deeply held sense of duty, Queen Elizabeth's letters offer a chronicle not only of her long life, but of the twentieth century.
With correspondents ranging from Kenneth Clark to Osbert Sitwell, as well as her parents-in-law, daughters and eldest grandson, the Queen Mother's selected letters - collated by her official biographer, William Shawcross - are seldom dull . . . [Counting One's Blessings] provides a study of maturing character against the background of great events
The Times Literary Supplement
A fascinating, provocative first-hand glimpse into another world . . . Elizabeth clearly delights in her friends, and is charmingly quick to offer assistance, take an interest in others' lives, and have a laugh at her own expense . . . Read [Counting One's Blessings] for the sheer entertainment value
Heather Horn, The Atlantic
One of the most appealing aspects of the Queen Mother was her zest for life to the end - her passion for the arts, horse racing, foreign travel and whizzing round the country in helicopters. She cared nothing about money; even the Queen complained wryly about her extravagance. 'There's something about her that's kept very young, ' Ted Hughes wrote . . . [Counting One's Blessings is] expertly edited and introduced by William Shawcross
Sarah Bradford, Literary Review