King Charles may put off late Queen’s biography because of the ‘difficult aspects’ of relationship with his mother – including tension over Diana and Camilla and the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew, claims royal insider
- Royal historians say the biography may not be published in Charles’ lifetime
Royal insiders believe the King may put off Queen Elizabeth II‘s biography over his relationship with Diana, the alleged dislike of Camilla and the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew.
Royal historian Robert Lacey said he wonders whether the biography would be published in King Charles’ lifetime, because it would have to examine the ‘difficult aspects’ of his relationship with his mother.
Other reasons for the possible delay could be the sensitive topics it will likely cover such as the scandal involving Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein, and the turbulent departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Charles will have the final say on the choice of biographer who will have the task of writing about the extraordinary life of the late Queen – some predict a female royal biographer could be chosen for the first time, with historian Jane Ridley emerging as a potential frontrunner.
The chosen candidate is expected to be given access to a range of private papers, letters and journals. The late Queen is known for keeping a diary in which she is said to have spent 15 minutes writing in every evening.
Royal insiders believe the King may put off Queen Elizabeth II’s biography
There is a testimony of a private secretary that the Queen told Charles she wanted ‘nothing to do’ with Camilla
The biographer will have to balance the royal family’s sensitivities and their professional reputation with academics and historians.
Mr Lacey told The Telegraph: ‘The years of real crisis in the Queen’s reign revolved around the breakup of Charles’s marriage to Diana.
‘There is the testimony of a private secretary that the Queen told Charles she wanted ‘nothing to do’ with Camilla – whom she described as ‘that wicked woman’ – and that Prince Charles himself was close to tears over this.’
He added: ‘I can’t see any way that the candid verdicts on Prince Charles among some very senior figures in the palace and No 10 during the monarchy’s dark days of the 1990s can possibly be published during his reign.’
Other sensitive topics which will be difficult for the biographer to skim over are The Duke of Windsor’s involvement with the Nazis and Lord Mountbatten’s sexual preferences.
Andrew Lownie, the royal biographer said: ‘Traditionally the official lives have gone to an established and establishment historian who understands the constraints within which he – until now it has always been a him – must work.
‘I suspect “soundings”, though quite with whom is a mystery, will be taken and there is a good chance that for the first time a female royal biographer will be chosen, certainly for Queen Elizabeth ll.’
In addition to Jane Ridley, other possible historians who could be given the top job are Simon Sebag Montefiore, Lord Roberts of Belgravia and Sir David Cannadine.
The task of presenting a shortlist to the King will now fall to Sir Clive Alderton, his private secretary and Keeper of the Royal Archives.
Other reasons for the possible delay could be the sensitive topics it will likely cover such as the scandal involving Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein
British monarch Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – 2022) (centre) poses with members of the royal family, from left, married couple Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, the Queen, married couple Prince Charles (and future Charles III) (behind the Queen) and Princess Diana of Wales (1961 – 1997) (in red)
Some are suggesting the Queen’s life story could be published in a series of volumes, split into chronological chapters of her life or themes such as the Commonwealth or her love of horse racing.
Two official biographies were commissioned for George V. King George V: A Personal Memoir by John Gore was published in 1941, followed by Sir Harold Nicolson’s George V in 1952.
William Shawcross was announced as the Queen Mother’s official biographer after her death in March 2002.
The biography took him six years to complete and he interviewed both the late Queen and the then Prince Charles.