After decades of service and years of watching her family’s troubles splashed across the tabloids, Britain’s Queen is beginning to feel her age. She needs some proper cheering up. An unexpected opportunity offers her relief: an impromptu visit to a place that holds happy memories—the former royal yacht, Britannia, now moored near Edinburgh. Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace into the freedom of a rainy London day and heads for King’s Cross to catch a train to Scotland. But a characterful cast of royal attendants has discovered her missing. In uneasy alliance a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that supplies Her Majesty’s cheese set out to find her and bring her back before her absence becomes a national scandal.
MRS QUEEN TAKES THE TRAIN offers a fresh new look at a seemingly arcane institution and a woman who wonders if she, too, has become a relic of the past. It's about British social, political, and generational rivalries—between upstairs and downstairs, the monarchy and the government, the old and the young. The story tweaks the pomp of the British monarchy, going beneath its rigid formality to reveal the human heart of the woman at its center.
I am a biographer, historian, and the author, most recently, of READING JACKIE, a look at the personality of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis through the books she chose to edit at Viking and Doubleday. My three previous books are: DEMOCRATIC ROYALISM about the transformation of the British monarchy in the 50 years before the First World War; HENRY AND MARY PONSONBY, a double biography of two funny people at the court of Queen Victoria; and THE POLITICS OF PLEASURE, a life of Britain’s most royalist Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. I live in Boston, Massachusetts, and for parts of the year in London. MRS QUEEN is my first novel.