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Counting One's Blessings: The Collected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

William Shawcross
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“[The Queen Mother’s letters] do offer a fascinating, provocative first-hand glimpse into another world . . . Perhaps the most endearing side of the collection is the sheer number of earnest thank-you notes, written for everything from gifts to visits, and a great many written to Elizabeth's mother-in-law, Queen Mary, with whom Elizabeth carries on a warm and intimate correspondence. 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

“William Shawcross, a renowned writer and broadcaster who has been given access to nine decades of remarkable correspondence from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, has traced the stories the letters tell . . . From childhood onwards, her words danced on the page, teeming with vitality, ebullience and optimism . . . Her letters showed a relish for language and sparkled with the joy of living.” —The Times of India

“The intriguing new book of letters shows the unlikely evolution of the former Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, a charming, vivacious young woman who was one of the most sought-after debutantes of her day, into a gifted queen who became an enduring symbol of the British monarchy . . . she evolved into a curious, vital young woman who was an avid reader.” —Lorna Koski, Women’s Wear Daily

“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 . . . However fluffy the Queen may have seemed when young, she proved her mettle in 1939–45. Her wartime letters, showing her abnegation, selfless duty and distress, make impressive reading. They reach, at moments, an eloquent intensity . . . These letters exemplify the truth of a remark of Auden’s. ‘Be good and you will be happy is a dangerous inversion,’ the poet wrote. ‘Be happy and you will be good is the truth. Men often speak of their right to happiness. In fact, it is their only duty.’ The Queen saw happiness as a duty—not an entitlement—because it was her route to good works.” —Richard Davenport-Hines, The Times Literary Supplement

“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, The Literary Review


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.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 5079 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 688 Seiten
  • Verlag: Macmillan; Auflage: Unabridged (11. Oktober 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B009AVQ82O
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #496.220 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Historische Briefe-Sammlung - einzigartiges Dokument 21. Oktober 2015
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Ich habe mich schon immer für Queen Mum interessiert. Nicht weil ich mich besonders für Adlige und Königshäuser erwärmen kann, aber diese Frau ist etwas Besonderes. Nicht umsonst hat Hitler von ihr gesagt, sie sei "die gefährlichste Frau Europas".

In der Tat war Queen Mum auf die Deutschen alles andere als gut zu sprechen. Wohl hauptsächlich, weil einer ihrer Brüder im ersten Weltkrieg gefallen ist. Aber sicher auch aufgrund der Bombardements der Deutschen im Zweiten Weltkrieg.

Ihre Briefe sind ein historisches Dokument, von William Shawcross, der auch ihre offizielle Biographie verfasst hat, mit großer Sorgfalt zusammengestellt. Natürlich ist das keine Literatur für Jedermann - zu speziell. Aber für diejenigen, die sich für die jüngere englische Geschichte interessieren, bieten sie viele erleuchtende Einblicke in das Leben einer Frau, welche wie vielleicht keine andere die Geschicke ihre Landes in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts - und ein bisschen auch noch danach - bestimmt hat.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  27 Rezensionen
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A long, long life, in letters 15. Dezember 2012
Von SciFi Lover - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This book contains many letters to Elizabeth's family and friends, written over almost all of the twentieth century. Elizabeth, the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, lived through the two world wars, and she played a major role in England's courageous response to Hitler's 1939 declaration of war as the consort of King George VI.

Many of these letters are thank-you notes, and the reader could not find better models for such letters. Perhaps Elizabeth overused the words heavenly and angelic, but her warmth and enthusiasm for gifts and entertainments come through.

The royal family's joys and sorrows are shared in the letters to family members. Political events are a frequent theme, too, with discussions of growing relationships with Churchill and others. She also describes the exhausting days on tour in faraway places as the royals endure heat and humidity to see their subjects.

Even if you stop reading after the death of George VI in 1952, this book is a fascinating look at the activities of the royal family and the life of a very popular English queen.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting selection 9. Februar 2013
Von D. Steele - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
While I have enjoyed this collection of letters and I know I don't know how the letters were selected and what letters were still available, and what ones weren't or just didn't exist anymore (plus you can't include them all) I wonder about the letters that seem to be missing. No letters after Churchill's death? No letters about the engagement and wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana? Maybe there weren't any. But the Queen Mother did seem to write so many notes and letters to so many people about so many other events, that it seems odd that events like these weren't written about in letters to someone. But all in all I have enjoyed this book. It did help that I had read his biography of the Queen Mother when it came out so that many of the letters fit into a time line.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A remarkable woman 25. Oktober 2013
Von Mark Hollingsworth - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I read William Shawcross' biography of the Queen Mother in early 2012, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This book added to my knowledge, sympathy and understanding of this most remarkable woman. I am glad I read the biography first, because these letters enable you to not necessarily read the book in chronological order, but you can now revisit areas of the biography and read the detailed correspondence in full that Shawcross used to extract from and create his narrative.

In today's frenetic world with text messaging and e-mail speeding up so much of our communication I spent many enjoyable evenings reading the beautifully crafted letters in this book. Even more intriguing to me was to find that the style and tone, and above all graciousness, of the writing of the Queen Mother never changed over 80 years. She wrote with the same sense of warmth and humour when she was 101, as she had been writing when she was 21!

The Queen Mother never gave an interview to a journalist or the media in her entire life, that is why this book and these letters are so important, because it captures in a way that a journalist could never do the feelings of this most remarkable woman, and her perspective on the history of the 20th century.
6 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen First Review 1. Dezember 2012
Von L.I. LINDA - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
I have read many biographies of Queen Mother Elizabeth. I have visited both Glamis and Balmoral Castles.These selected letters give a true to life portrait of a much beloved Queen.Her personality and dignity breathe all her her words.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Footnotes 25. Februar 2013
Von Suzanne Schramski - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I enjoyed the book very much. The problem I had with the Kindle edition was that the footnotes at the bottom of the pages were not there. Those footnotes explained references in the letters, explained who people were that the Queen was referencing in her correspondence, etc. I had to get the book from my public library and reference it as I read along on my kindle, which sort of defeats the purpose of buying the Kindle edition. I would not have purchased the Kindle edition had I known of this omission. I sent a message to Amazon, and what they sent me back was information on how to do Bookmarks (????).
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