Opening with the royal tour of 1939, during which Canadians first felt her personal magnetism, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother 1900 - 2002 describes Elizabeth’s background and development, relating how she made a marriage that brought her to the centre stage of public life. It traces her tender support of her shy husband, a reluctant king, shows how she began her Commonwealth role, and recalls her shock at the sudden and unexpected call to wear the Crown.
Faced with the never-ending duties of a queen, Elizabeth proved capable of providing inspired leadership for a society faced with the stark prospect of destruction in a war to save the world. On the premature death of her beloved husband she became Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, a role that has shaped nearly half her life, and one in which Canada has always played an important part. The authors analyze Her Majesty’s successes and failures, both public and private, against the background of a century of violent disruption, material achievement, and incredible change.
As the greatest heiress in Europe, she was in turn Queen of France and Queen of England; among her sons were Richard the Lionheart and King John. A magnificent independent ruler in her own right, she lost her power when she married Louis VII of France. She received neither influence nor fame by her second marriage to King Henry II, who jailed her for fifteen years for conspiring and supporting their son’s claim to the throne. Her husband was succeeded by their son, King Richard the Lionheart, who immediately released his mother from prison. Eleanor then acted as Regent while Richard launched the Third Crusade.
Her loveliness and glamour, her throwing-off of the constraints that shackled women of the twelfth century, and her very real gifts as a politician and ruler make Eleanor’s story one of the most colorful of the High Middle Ages.