The Queen

The Authors Live at Greenwich Library program enables readers to come hear an author speak about their book, get it signed and indulge their love of books. This January has already been a wonderful start to the year in terms of the diversity and wealth of authors on the program. My two favorites are Jennifer Homans author of “Apollo’s Angels, A History of Ballet” and author Sally Bedell Smith for her book “Elizabeth the Queen, Life of a Modern Monarch.” For more information log onto Greenwichlibrary.org.

Smith is the author of bestselling biographies of William S. Paley; Pamela Harriman; Diana, Princess of Wales; John and Jacqueline Kennedy; and Bill and Hillary Clinton. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1996, she previously worked at Time and The New York Times, where she was a cultural news reporter. The British Royal family has been a constant source of fascination for the media and Smith tries to peel away the layers of tabloid gossip in order to achieve a more authentic view of the Queen. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before-revealed documents, the author reveals the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II.

Elizabeth was not born to be Queen, growing up she believed she was destined to a life of relative anonymity. But her uncle the King abdicated the throne for his love of the infamous Wallis Simpson, were it not for that fateful event she would never have been crowned Queen. Elizabeth’s parents never forgave King Edward for his abdication, they did not want to reign nor did they want all the responsibilities that came along with that. Anybody who has seen the award winning movie “The King’s Speech” will relate.

The years at Windsor were the formative period of Princess Elizabeth’s life, a time when she absorbed the symbolism and traditions of the British monarchy. For her, the presiding genius of the castle was her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, whose principal home it was. Her father and others were even beginning to compare her with Victoria. Pictures were issued of the identically dressed princess wielding rakes while haymaking in Windsor Park, setting an example for an embattled nation during World War II. At Windsor, as at Buckingham Palace, severe measures were taken to live modestly in this wartime era as well as promote the family image.

Whether you are a fan of the British Royals or not the authors live at Greenwich program has an abundance of excellent authors on their roster, I highly recommend checking their website regularly to keep abreast of all the new literary events. A book is more than words on a page. We treasure our books not because of their beautiful bindings but for the hours of enjoyment they provide, long after the physical book is gone the story will continue to live in our minds. All libraries have always been a special refuge for me, they are designed to silence the endless chatter of daily life and allow the imagination to speak.

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