HISTORICAL BOOK REVIEW: “Do Let’s Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother” by Gareth Russell

During her lifetime, the Queen Mother was as famous for her clever quips, pointed observations, and dry-as-a-martini delivery style as she was for being a beloved royal. Now, Do Let’s Have Another Drink recounts 101 (one for each year of her remarkable life) amusing and astonishing vignettes from across her long life, including her coming of age during World War I, the abdication of her brother-in-law and her unexpected ascendance to the throne, and her half-century of widowhood as her daughter reigned over the United Kingdom. Featuring new revelations and colorful anecdotes about the woman Cecil Beaton, the high society photographer, once summarised as “a marshmallow made on a welding machine,” Do Let’s Have Another Drink is a delightful celebration of one of the most consistently popular members of the royal family.

via amazon

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Amidst the glut of royal biographies recently released or republished, “Do Let’s Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother” by Gareth Russell has managed to create a book that could spawn a thousand copycats about other famous characters. You don’t need to be a royalist or a monarchist to enjoy this book, it is the perfect story for anyone interested in the history, culture, and traditions of the House of Windsor. I found it to be incredibly insightful, with relevant information on all that has happened within the family throughout The Queen Mother’s life. Anyone who reads it will not only feel like they know her better but will also have a renewed interest in this iconic family.

The format, a life told through 101 anecdotes in chronological order, it’s possible to learn so much about Queen Elizabeth. From a historical perspective, the book is full of great facts about her life and offers insight into her personality. This book shows all the wit, wisdom, and charm I would expect from a royal like the Queen Mother. Rather than being a standard biography heavy on detail, this book offers flashes of the queen’s remarkable life, those she cared for, those she loathed (notably Wallis Simpson, and in later years, Princess Diana), and how she treated those around her. The Queen Mother was not afraid of a drink, and that is immediately obvious throughout the book, and she would think nothing of overruling her guests when they didn’t want a refill.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s life is well-known; her devotion to her husband, her angst at being thrust into the queenship she never expected, her love for her daughters, and her despair at the loss of her husband. This book is fast-paced, and many of the things we know of Elizabeth are quickly left behind, instead given a book showing her life in a more lighthearted way, flashes of her life around people who were treated to time in her company. While Elizabeth endured much in her impressive 101 years, Russell has (mostly) given us Elizabeth’s brighter moments.

Russell is an extraordinary author, and I would read anything he created, and this book is another to add to an essential collection. This book is a little walk through the past, showing a woman born during the rule of Queen Victoria, and living until after the turn of the millennium. An old-world woman living in a new world was always bound to create an interesting lifetime.

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NB: This book is released as “Do Let’s Have Another Drink!: The Dry Wit and Fizzy Life of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother” in the United States.

This review was not given in return for a free book – buy books (or visit libraries) and make sure authors are fairly paid

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