Sarah Bradford Author Biography Essay

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Elizabeth: A Biography of Britain's Queen

Sarah Bradford, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $30 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-14749-5
Extracts from this biography caused a furor in the British press last month, with headlines screaming of the Duke of Edinburgh's alleged infidelities and Princess Margaret's suicide threats. Following at least three major biographies of England's Queen comes Sarah Bradford, Vicountess Bangor in private life, an aristocratic insider. She has already published biographies of George VI, Princess Grace of Monaco and Benjamin Disraeli, among others. On this occasion, claiming access to private papers (which the Palace denies she saw), Bradford has written a quiet, rather sensible biography that is neither antimonarchist nor an apology for the public problems of the Windsors. Despite the headlines, she is actually as interested in the intricacies of the royal finances (known quaintly as the Civil List and the Privy Purse) as she is in the sexual shenanigans of Princesses Margaret, Diana and the Duchess of York. Her portrait of the Queen is of a superb professional. She reports on Her Majesty's hard work, her understanding of political affairs, her attention to detail and her consideration of her staff. She also finds Elizabeth to be a woman of her times and her background, for whom confrontation and emotional display are foreign and whose attempts to preserve the monarchy have, on occasion, had unfortunate results. The great majority of this detailed biography is informative and balanced--a convincing portrait of a traditional and often anachronistic way of life, as well as of a reigning monarch. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-0-14-100655-0
Paperback - 564 pages - 978-1-57322-600-4

Sarah Bradford Biography

Educated at St. Mary’s Convent, Shaftesbury Dorset and Oxford, Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer who has travelled extensively, living in the West Indies, Portugal and Italy. She speaks four languages which have been invaluable in her research for her various books, particularly The Englishman’s Wine, the Story of Port, Portugal and Madeira. She worked in the Manuscript Department of Christie’s London, travelling for the Department and valuing manuscripts from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries, an experience which enabled her to write Cesare Borgia (used by the BBC as the source of their series The Borgias, for which she wrote the novelization) and, most recently, Lucrezia Borgia.

Bradford’s other biographies include Disraeli, named Book of the Year by the New York Times, Princess Grace, written with the cooperation of Prince Rainier and the Kelly family, George VI (published in the United States as The Reluctant King), Splendours and Miseries; The Life of Sacheverell Sitwell, written at the request of the writer’s family who made the archives available to her for the first time, Elizabeth; a Biography of Her Majesty the Queen, America’s Queen; The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Diana.

Bradford lives in London and is married to the 8th Viscount Bangor.

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