Cheers, humour, Harry: five points from Brandreth’s biography of Queen | Queen Elizabeth II

Stfound the Duke of York’s account of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein ‘intriguing’, worried the Duke of Sussex might be a little ‘in love’ with Meghan, and found some solace in gritty police drama Line of Duty after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

A new biography of Queen Elizabeth II by author, broadcaster and royal friend Gyles Brandreth also says she accepted her health woes before her death “with all the good grace you’d expect.”

Since Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait is expected to be published shortly, here are five key takeaways from published excerpts from the book.

About the Sussexes

Delighted to welcome Meghan to her family, “the only worry the Queen let slip in the early days of the Sussexes’ wedding was asking a friend if Harry was ‘perhaps a little too much in love'” , according to Brandreth. She liked Meghan and told her: “You can continue to be an actress if you want, after all it is your profession”. She was more concerned for Harry’s well-being than “this TV nonsense,” as she related to Oprah Winfrey’s interview and the Sussexes’ Netflix deal, she claimed. When Andrew “was complaining about Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey on US television in 2020, the Queen graciously replied: ‘Sarah she hasn’t [Andrew’s ex-wife] do something like that?’” he wrote.

About the Duke of York

Andrew told his mother the whole story of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. “The first time you gave her the full account of the entire sad saga, she listened intently. Then the Queen, who never said more than necessary, replied with one word: ‘Intriguing,’” wrote Brandreth. She kept her “confidence” in Andrew, but didn’t hesitate to strip him of his role after the disastrous Newsnight interview in 2019. She let herself be photographed riding with Andrew in Windsor Great Park the day after she relieved him of his royal duties to show his personal support, and was in favor of her appearing by her side at Philip’s funeral service.

Philip grieved

Watching TV dramas like Line of Duty helped her “keep her spirits up”. But she struggled to keep up with the storyline at times and didn’t like the constant “bubbling” about it and other shows. Her landlord, Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, told Brandreth: ‘My main job with HM was to keep her spirits up – so I watched Line of Duty with her – I’m ‘The Explainer’. It’s really fun.” He told Brandreth that he struggled at times to understand the plots and dialogues of the crime drama. “It keeps me in touch, when I can understand what is being said. There is a lot of muttering on television now. it’s my hearing,” she told him.

His humour

He really could sing When I’m Cleaning Windows in George Formby’s authentic Lancashire accent, and do an “amazingly accurate vocal reproduction of the Concorde coming in to land on Windsor Castle”. It was also “the queen’s idea to keep [James] Bond waited a moment as she signed a letter before turning to say, “Good evening, Mr. Bond,” in the 2012 Olympic Games skit. But she only felt comfortable taking part in such stunts after her mother’s death in 2002. “Simply because she would have thought her mother would not approve – that would be a bit undignified,” a former senior courtier told the author.

His health

His attitude in the face of health problems was: “I have to be reasonable.” Her reaction to her health problems was that “she accepted this with all the good grace you would expect,” wrote Brandreth. She said: ‘I had heard that the Queen had a form of myeloma – cancer of the bone marrow – which would explain her tiredness and weight loss and those ‘mobility problems’ we were often told about during the last year of her life. The most common symptom of myeloma is bone pain, especially in the pelvis and lower back, and multiple myeloma is a disease that often affects older adults.” The cause of death – as with Prince Philip – was given simply as old age.

Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait is published by Michael Joseph on December 8

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