When I had the opportunity to read the biography of George VI and Elizabeth by Sally Bedell Smith, I was excited to learn about Great Brittan’s history during a pivotal time in the world. I believe there is no better way to learn history than through biographies. I absolutely loved this book! It was great!
So many factors made this book great. First and foremost, Prince Albert, who was later crowned King George VI and his wife Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, who became Queen Elizabeth. Later, and for many years, she was known as the Queen Mum. One can’t help but see God’s divine hand of providence in raising up these two and preparing them for leadership during a critical time when evil threatened to overtake the world. Though they were royalty, they also seemed to be well-grounded, genuine, decent, honest, and caring people.
It was interesting to learn of Elizabeth’s reluctance to marry Prince Albert, thought she cared deeply for him. They seemed like the perfect match and I cannot quite imagine Albert growing into the man who would be king apart from his relationship with Elizabeth. Perhaps the weight of the monarchy weighed heavy on her and she knew the high cost she would pay.
Having previously read a biography on Prince David, King Edward the VIII, the abdicating king, I found myself grateful that King George VI was his successor. You cannot help but see God’s merciful hand in removing the morally depraved, hedonistic, self-absorbed man who sided with the Nazis. Can you imagine how WWII might have ended with Edward VIII as king? King George VI was the right man at a pivotal time in history.
King George VI was a reserved, wise, and learned man. He became a great leader with his strong, wise, committed wife, Queen Elizabeth, by his side.
I also found interesting the early life of Princess Elizabeth, future Queen Elizabeth II. From a very young age, she raised, educated and well equipped to step into the role as Queen of England at a very young age.
Another fascinating aspect of this biography were the relationships forged between King George and Queen Elizabeth with various leaders, like Churchill, Roosevelt, and others. Also interesting were the various family ties with European royal families.
The life of royalty and aristocracy was so very different than the average citizen. I appreciated the humility and willingness of the King and Queen to be with their people especially during the brutal suffering the English endured during WWII.
Author Sally Bedell Smith did a tremendous amount of research and had access to a large volume of records to write the biography of George VI and Elizabeth. She did a great job combining all the information she had, but kept it personable and relatable. The people, King George, Queen Elizabeth and their family and friends did not get lost in the facts and information about their lives and times in which they lived. It truly was The Marriage That Saved the Monarchy.
As a side note, it is interesting to see what’s happening in the modern-day monarchy and how some of the family patterns, both good and bad, are being repeated.
I loved reading George VI and Elizabeth by author Sally Bedell Smith. It was fascinating and a tremendous book that I did not want to put down. It was one of the best biographies I have ever read. I highly recommend this book. If you like history, WWII, learning about the royal family, or biographies be sure to read this book. It is a long book, but well worth your time and effort.
I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of George VI and Elizabeth – The Marriage That Saved the Monarchy by Sally Bedell Smith. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.