Historian and senior politician Douglas Hurd has seen the Queen at close quarters, as Home Secretary and then on overseas expeditions as Foreign Secretary. Here he considers the life and role of Britain's most greatly admired monarch, who, inheriting a deep sense of duty from her father George VI, has weathered national and family crises, seen the end of an Empire and heard voices raised in favour of the break-up of the United Kingdom.
Hurd creates an arresting portrait of a woman deeply conservative by nature yet possessing a ready acceptance of modern life and the awareness that, for things to stay the same, they must change.
With a preface by HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
He starts with Canning and Castelreagh in post Waterloo Britain; to a generation later, the victory of the interventionist Palmerston over Aberdeen; then to Salisbury (Imperialism) and Grey (European balance of power); and finally to Eden and Bevin who combined to lay the foundations of a post-war compromise.
That delicate balance has served its purpose for over half a century, but as we enter a new era of terrorism and racial conflict, the old questions and divisions are re-surfacing . . .
With the narrative momentum of a gripping thriller, The Shape of Ice demonstrates how ominous events can develop from near-invisibility into momentous crises. Set in the near future, the novel eloquently conveys the stress of life at the top of the political ladder the pressure slowly builds to the point where it distorts judgement and relationships.