The Queen & Us

Nigel Nicolson

2012 marks Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of her coronation. In The Queen & Us, first published in 2003, Nigel Nicolson writes about the changes that have taken place in the public's attitude to the royal family during his lifetime, and their response to those changes.

Now with a new introduction by Charles Anson CVO, Former Press Secretary to The Queen, the book explores questions like What is the Queen like? What does she do? What is the future of the monarchy? In answering these questions, Nicolson draws on his own memories of the royal family, public and private, and on the diaries of his father, Sir Harold Nicolson, who wrote the official biography of George V, and witnessed at first hand the drama of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.


Nigel Nicolson (1917 - 2004) was the younger son of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West and was himself a writer and publisher for more than fifty years. For most of his life he lived at Sissinghurst where his mother made one of the world's most famous gardens.

He wrote several biographies, including Portrait of a Marriage, Alex, The Life of Field Marshall Alexander of Tunis and Mary Curzon (which won the Whitbread Prize), as well as books on politics and the arts. He was Editor of the six volumes of Virginia Woolf's letters. For some years he was a Conservative Member of Parliament, and was co-founder of the publishing firm Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

The Queen & Us, Introduction by Charles Anson

Charles Anson is a former Press Secretary to The Queen. His career began in the British Diplomatic Service, where he was posted to the British Embassy in Washington twice and also to Iran during the Revolution of 1979. Subsequently, he was seconded to Number 10 Downing Street to work in the Prime Minister's Press Office, first for Prime Minister James Callaghan and then for Margaret Thatcher for two years. He now works as an independent strategic communications and public affairs consultant where, amongst other things, he has chaired the regional body, which helped to turn the South Downs as an Area of Outstanding National Beauty into a National Park this year.


"...a unique quality of authenticity...The book has perfect pitch all through and does not need to rely on court gossip or revelations by royal servants for one to know what is going on, since the author himself is part of what is going on, and has been so all his life... author and subject are well matched.' Peregrine Worsthorne."

"Nicolson deftly draws on his own personal encounters with the Royal Family... His elegant essay on the changing nature of the monarchy is full of... thought-provoking asides... [A] stimulating study.' Hugh Massingberd."

"...elegant and engaging... a handy distillation and an essay about a relationship with royalty which is as persistent as it is, on occasion, manifestly absurd.' Ben Pimlott."

"It is rare for hagiographies of the royal family to be written by authors possessed of genuine critical faculties... His sharp intelligence allows this slim volume to rise above the fawning, mawkish sentimentality of the ''Gawd Bless 'er. Ain't She Wonderful?'' tradition... This short book positively crackles with anecdote... [it is] eloquent and entertaining...and in a style that sparkles as radiantly as a debutante's tiara."

"As an overall picture of the Queen in her constitutional and family circumstances, it is excellent... Weidenfeld & Nicolson... are to be congratulated in publishing such a restrained but authoritative work on the Queen's anniversary."

Nigel Nicolson

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