At 86 years of age, Queen Elizabeth II has only three more years to go before she catches up with Queen Victoria in length of reign. Readers could well imagine what the impact of 60 years on the job, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week might have on a person, even with help. William Kuhn’s Queen Elizabeth is almost One of Us: struggling to deal with changing mores, keep up with technology (her son Andrew sets up Facebook and Twitter accounts for her), and find what comfort she can in her dogs and weekends away.
When she stops at the stables on a cold afternoon to visit her favorite horse, the stable girl presses her hooded sweatshirt on the Queen, who then wanders off the palace grounds and proceeds to make her way to Scotland for a nostalgic visit to the decommissioned Royal Yacht, anchored at Leith. This undemanding but entertaining tale follows the Queen on taxi rides, a long-distance train journey with traveling companions who finally recognize her as Helen Mirren (as in the movie, “The Queen”), and ends with a kind of royal slumber party featuring a mismatched band of would-be rescuers and household staff.
Kuhn’s sovereign is a sympathetic character, who despite impeccable breeding feels warmly toward all her subjects, even a multiply-pierced punk. This book is highly recommended for lovers of all things British and for readers who enjoyed Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, or The Uncommon Reader.