The Queen At 80. The Biographer's View

Extracts from a selection of biographies of the Queen to mark her 80th birthday on 21st April.


01The Little Princesses20060417

By Marion Crawford, abridged by Doreen Estall and read by Hannah Gordon.

The early years of the Queen's life, as told by her affectionate governess 'Crawfie', in the first royal biography to rock the Palace.

'Lilibet' has to attend the funeral procession for her grandfather George V, and move to Buckingham Palace with its endless corridors when her own father becomes King.

02George Vi20060418

By Sarah Bradford, abridged by Doreen Estall and read by Anne-marie Duff.

Princess Elizabeth meets initial resistance to her choice of husband and becomes Queen at 25 while watching rhino in Kenya.

03Royal: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth20060419

By Robert Lacey, abridged by Doreen Estall, read by Alex Jennings.

The 1960s bring winds of change.

The royal family are the subject of satirical sketches on television and decide to take part in a landmark television documentary.

04The Firm20060420

By Penny Junor, abridged by Miranda Davis, read by Emma Fielding.

The extract from this biography explores the 1980s.

The monarchy is rocked by the divorce of Charles and Diana.

05 LASTThe Queen20060421

By Ben Pimlott, abridged by Miranda Davis, read by Geoffrey Palmer.

There's a change of royal style following the death of Princess Diana, and in a new millennium questions are asked about how to make contemporary sense of the institution of monarchy.