epershand: A picture of a castle with an arrow next to it. (Castle)
epershand ([personal profile] epershand) wrote2012-06-16 01:54 pm

You keep using the word "progressive." I... do not think it means what you think it means.

The terrible-amazing-terrible tell-all biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother I've been nibbling away at for the last month or so has just outdone itself.

Yet Edward VIII's beliefs and style were far more in keeping with those of our age. Had he been given a fair chance, the British Empire might not have gone into the terminal decline it did as soon as his brother succeeded him. For the fact is, King George VI oversaw the immediate and precipitate decline of the British Empire's fortunes. He oversaw the beginning of the dismantling of the Empire, which continued under his daughter, and might well have been averted had a more progressive king been on the throne. And a progressive king with an American queen might well have been just the antidote to much of the the antipathy which saw nationalists like Gandhi and Jinnah prevail.

- Lady Colin Campbell. The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. p 356, Nook edition.

(Every time people ask me the title of the book I'm reading, I'm like "uh, something involving the words 'Elizabeth' and 'Queen Mother' repeated a lot of times? I can't remember the order?" If it were up to me the title would be A Very Catty History of the Twentieth Century, By A Determined Partisan of Edward VIII.)

I am just enjoying this book SO MUCH, in, ironically, very much the same way I enjoyed the V&A museum. I'm so used to the historical accounts I read, however biased they are, spend a lot of time appearing to be neutral and objective. It's oddly refreshing to see something so coldly pleased with its own biases that it wears them on its sleeve.

(I'm also in the middle of listening to the audio books of Jo Walton's Small Change Trilogy, which I last read a few years go. I am really excited that I got to the Abdication Crisis in this book right as I got to the Edward VIII bits of Half a Crown. But ACCORDING TO LADY COLIN CAMPBELL that whole "Nazi sympathies" thing was just a nasty rumor Elizabeth started. *nodnod*)
wrabbit: (alice: skinned knees)

[personal profile] wrabbit 2012-06-17 02:26 am (UTC)(link)
That sounds entertaining. Is she really saying that India and Pakistan would not have been partitioned (or made independent?) had Edward been king?
starlady: (revisionist historian)

[personal profile] starlady 2012-06-17 06:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Ahahahahaha oh my god what an idiot.
wordweaverlynn: (Default)

[personal profile] wordweaverlynn 2012-06-17 11:08 pm (UTC)(link)
The shame of the cities!
eccentric_hat: (Default)

[personal profile] eccentric_hat 2012-06-19 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
Well, first, this is hilarious and amazing, obviously. In addition, I'm really confused why an Edward VIII partisan would decide to write a Queen Mother biography. Has she already written her Edward VIII book? Did the Queen Mother strike her as a more popular subject? Or is this the kind of tell-all that delights in being on the opposite side of things from the book's subject?

I'm slowly working my way through a book that dates the start of the empire's decline to Yorktown, and describes the empire as self-consciously moribund all the way through the nineteenth century. Which, frankly, strikes me as the more interesting story.
eccentric_hat: (Default)

[personal profile] eccentric_hat 2012-06-19 08:53 pm (UTC)(link)
That does sound interesting! Twentieth-century monarchy really is such an interesting beast. Did you know, at one point after World War I, Finland actually invited a German prince (one of Victoria's grandsons-in-law, if I recall correctly) to be their king. They were all excited about being independent from Russia and there were still enough monarchists around who thought the best way to declare and secure their nationhood was with a king. I'm not entirely clear on what happened at that point, but politics intervened and they ended up with a republic instead. But still--imagine wanting to set up a new monarchy in 1918!
Edited 2012-06-19 22:06 (UTC)


(Anonymous) 2013-05-21 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Thinnkig like that is really impressive