Clive Irving's new narrative biography The Last Queen probes the question of the British monarchy's longevity. In 2021, the Queen Elizabeth II finally appears to be at ease in the modern world, helped by the new generation of Windsors. But through Irving's unique insight there emerges a more fragile institution, whose extraordinarily dutiful matriarch has managed to persevere with dignity, yet in doing so made a Faustian pact with the media. The Last Queen is not a conventional biography--and the book is therefore not limited by the traditions of that genre. Instead, it follows Elizabeth and her family's struggle to survive in the face of unprecedented changes in our attitudes towards the royal family, with the critical eye of an investigative reporter who is present and involved on a highly personal level.
The pages of The Last Queen sketch out [Queen Elizabeth II's] biography as a series of embarrassments and tragedies. In each pugnacious and incredibly readable chapter, Irving reexamines all the famous crises of Elizabeth’s reign ...
Journalist Irving (Pox Britannica) delivers a clear-eyed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II ... Irving puts his mark on a familiar story with his confident assessments and insider perspective on the British press. Royal watchers will delight in this richly detailed appraisal of the world’s oldest reigning monarch.
Despite the book’s title, Elizabeth II remains 'a benign enigma' throughout this gossipy romp through a history of the British monarchy. Founding editor of Condé Nast Traveler and former managing editor of the Sunday Times, Irving is more revealing about the dramatic changes in British journalism throughout the 20th century ... Drawing on his own experience as an editor, reporter, and confidant of high-placed sources, Irving describes this transformation in sharp detail ... though he is an entertaining storyteller, he offers no special insight into the character of the 'safely conservative and stolid' Elizabeth. A contributor to the BBC documentary Margaret: The Rebel Princess, Irving creates a more animated portrait of the younger sister ... Decent modern British history, with cameos by the queen.