Queen Elizabeth doesn’t ‘wallow in nostalgia,’ she prefers to live in the present?

There’s a new book out about the Queen called Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II. It was written by Robert Hardman, who gave some advanced excerpts to the Daily Mail earlier this month. Hardman’s book isn’t just about the Queen, obviously, it’s about what’s been happening with the Windsors in recent years. Hardman’s narratives are more from the fussy Buckingham Palace courtiers rather than the Kensington Palace clowns, and it showed in the excerpts. Hardman wrote that the Sussexit reflected poorly on the institution and that “there will have to be some acknowledgement of failings at every level of the institution prior to any sort of resolution. The couple could and should have been a very great asset to the monarchy.” Now Hardman is promoting his book in People Magazine, with an interview about what the Queen is really like:

The Queen likes being Queen. “It’s not just about longevity or clinging on,” the author, who spoke with dozens of friends, palace courtiers and insiders for his new book Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II, tells PEOPLE. “Yes, she’s by far the longest-lived monarch in our history. She remains very much center stage, with an appetite and enthusiasm for the job. She really enjoys what she does.”

The funny Queen: “Those who know her well talk about her sense of humor and how she’s a very upbeat and positive person,” says Hardman. It’s a stark contrast to her dour portrayal on the Netflix hit The Crown, he adds: “A lot of her friends and close staff felt that [The Crown] showed her being miserable all the time. And that’s just not how it is.”

She keeps calm: Despite family heartache, Queen Elizabeth “does personify the cliché ‘Keep calm and carry on.’ Even in the dark days, she is an optimist and soldiers on.”

Another popular misconception? “That she’s largely symbolic and just signs things and goes where she’s told to and smiles,” he says. “When you get behind the scenes of so many of these events, she does keep politicians on their toes.”

The Queen doesn’t wallow or live in the past?? “She lives in the present, reminiscing occasionally, when appropriate, but not as a habit,” one former senior adviser told the author in his new book, out April 5. “It is another key difference between Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria,” the author writes. “The latter loved to wallow in nostalgia, to surround herself with favorites and, in later life, to preserve the past in aspic. The present Queen prefers to move on. Whereas many of her family, including Prince Charles, are romantics at heart, the Queen is a realist.” As one senior adviser told Hardman: “She’s determined to live in the present because she is animated by the electricity of the present.”

She’s the constant in a changing world: “I don’t think people will really realize until she’s gone the extent to which she is just part of the national landscape,” says Hardman. “She is such a reassuring figure. When you have moments of great uncertainty, there’s that sense that the wheels aren’t going to fall off, that the country will still be there tomorrow—as long as there’s still a flag flying above Buckingham Palace.”

[From People]

“The present Queen prefers to move on. Whereas many of her family, including Prince Charles, are romantics at heart, the Queen is a realist.” I disagree? I mean, I think she’s probably a realist – and not an optimist either – but I also think she’s weighed down by history because she embodies history. While she might not reminisce that often or live fully in the past, that’s because she’s never had to. Everything she does is solely focused on preserving this ancient institution as-is, with little to no updates or evolution. While her reign has seen widespread transformations in the UK and abroad, she is not and has never been a transformative leader. She IS the person who is preserved in aspic.

As for the stuff about how the Queen isn’t the person portrayed on The Crown… yeah, I’m sure she laughs more than how she’s portrayed. But if anything, The Crown is a lot kinder to her fundamental nature, her pettiness and her lack of forward-thinking.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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36 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth doesn’t ‘wallow in nostalgia,’ she prefers to live in the present?”

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  1. Kalana says:

    We won’t find out what the Queen is really like until after she passes away. They don’t really want to humanize her. The Crown is very kind to her but it also leaves out her personality beyond liking routine. She’s supposed to be very funny.

    • Trimdownmonarkyisboring says:

      We will realize how important she was after she’s gone only because we’ll be stuck with Charles and Camilla. I mean… yup. And being realists like the queen also means we’ll need to look forward to them being replaced by… willie and Katie in our lifetime. Wow. I believe the queen isnt someone stuck in the past – or she would be going to Philips 1 year memorial. Nope, she prefers not to attend and instead slap him in the face by skipping the event.

    • Blujfly says:

      She is “very funny” the way Margaret was “very good” at singing – not at all, unless you’re a sycophant or on the payroll..

    • teecee says:

      The show also leaves out all her little cruelties and the millions of ways she chose her own comfort or familiarity over justice or fairness. How long ago was it when a courtier brought her the first report of Andrew’s depravity and violence? 40 years ago? More? How many women and girls was she told about? How many times did she see headlines of war in countries where she was the alleged head of state vs how many times did she respond in some meaningful way? How many times has bigotry been carried out in her name while she remained silent?

      (And I bet a lot of her “hilarious” jokes are racist, anyway.)

  2. equality says:

    So her “subjects” with clean water issues, issues paying bills and trouble feeding their children are comforted because there is a “flag flying over the palace” and the Queen is sitting in there with none of these issues? How nice.

    • vs says:

      1000000% agree

      I am surprised this is what all these gossipers choose to focus on…not her work (there is probably none worth talking about!), not the struggles of the population either in the UK or some commonwealth countries…..none; it is more important to talk about how she doesn’t wallow in nostalgia! something is really broken over there……back to worrying about the GOP and their nonsense over here

  3. TigerMcQueen says:

    The woman who keeps Christmas decorations up at Sandringham until early February to mark her father’s passing 70 years ago, who insists working royals have to cling to conservative fashion dictates almost just as old (panty hose, a single! color nail polish), and who continues to hold to outdated ableist ideas about wheelchair use doesn’t live in the past???

    Tell me another one when I’m done laughing.

    • Merricat says:

      Exactly. She is the EMBODIMENT of nostalgia.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Interesting that People magazine skipped over the statement by Hardman with regards to Harry and Meghan. Hardman pointing out how poorly it looks with regards to Harry and Meghan, including this small bit, “The couple could and should have been a very great asset to the monarchy.” In addition to there being needing to be an acknowledgement for prior to resolution.

      How odd that People magazine didn’t include these comments by Hardman!!

  4. Amy Too says:

    “Queen of our times” *black and white photo of the queen from 70 years ago*

    Huh. 🙄

  5. SnarcasmQueen says:

    This is a woman who is still upset that her nazi sympathetic uncle ditched the throne and burdened her father with the crown.

    She’s all nostalgia which is why the Windsor clan is the most regressive, throwback set of royals on the European continent.

    • Couch potato says:

      The nazi uncle started to modernize the monarchy, but when her father took over, her mother made sure to get everything back to the victorian ways. The queen mum fought with Philip when he wanted changes. She’s lived her whole life in a bygon era. I for one think it’s because she has always been told what to do, and her mother and the courtiers want(ed) status quo. She’s a follower, not a leader.

      • Tessa says:

        Even Queen Mary a traditionalist complained about the educations her granddaughters were getting. She disagreed with the Queen about the education Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were getting. Margaret apparently got the worst of it since she complained her big sister got a better education.

  6. Harla says:

    She’s based her entire reign on how her father did things and stale traditions, no room for forward movement here. In this Jubbly year so much is being made about the queen’s “service” to her people but can anyone tell one thing that she’s done that’s actually benefited the people of the UK or Commonwealth?

    • MF says:

      “can anyone tell one thing that she’s done that’s actually benefited the people of the UK or Commonwealth?”

      I’m American so I’m not an expert, but I’ve noticed how none of these biographies or embiggening articles seem to touch on what she’s done to make the world a better place for her subjects. If there were something to say about how she’s served the people, why aren’t they saying it?

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Oh yes, TQ is very forward thinking!! She took matters into her own hands to ensure that the Monarchy was exempt from enforcing equality regarding POC in the workplace. TQ has ensured that when it comes to affect her OR the Monarchy, she is first in line to stipulate that neither are subjected to the same rules as everyone else!!!

      TQ is still walking around with the mindset that she is anointed by God.

      • Margaret says:

        I think that it would be very difficult for Elizabeth Windsor to not have the mindset that follows from believing she is anointed by God. All her life it has been drummed into her that she is special and she believes she was “changed” by the anointing. She is an incurious person who would not question any of this stuff and lives a protected life surrounded by people who believe – or at least give the impression they believe, because they want to keep their jobs and/or privileges – that she is special and above them.

        I am currently re-watching season 1 of “The Crown” and I do not believe it casts the BRF in a favourable light at all. If this treatment is kind to them, the reality must be truly hideous.

      • dc says:

        Also relatively recently, the Queen managed to get her properties in Scotland (Balmoral) exempted from new environmental laws that was enacted. And not long before that, she was publicly supporting Climate Change initiatives at some environmental conference. Pretty much a hypocrite

  7. Amy Bee says:

    “That she’s largely symbolic and just signs things and goes where she’s told to and smiles,”

    This is absolutely true and Hardman is delusional if he believes otherwise.

    • Over it says:

      The fact that she canceled her visit with Harry because she was told to, tells us what you said Amy Bee is correct

    • ABritGuest says:

      Exactly . The funny thing is that delusional left leaning Brits have been crying out for Elizabeth to do more in the face of such a corrupt government. The recent prorogue of parliament is an example of where they hoped she would intervene for the good of the nation 🥴. Her keeping a PM on their toes hasn’t prevented any of the crazy things happening in her country right now.

      I thought it was part of Elizabeth’s appeal that she doesn’t change & is a constant so why is Hardman trying to make her sound like some revolutionary.

      propaganda about Elizabeth is on some North Korea level.

  8. Becks1 says:

    I don’t understand how her life isn’t based on nostalgia. Everything “personal” that we know about her seems based on nostalgia (christmas traditions at Sandringham, summer traditions at Balmoral, etc).

    • Blujfly says:

      Exactly, Becks. The decades-long narrative is that she remains so affected by the “untimely” death of her father from lung cancer due to smoking that all of her decision making and all of her family life revolves around doing exactly as he did and would have in every situation. She refuses to reform the institution and abdicate over a speech she gave at age 21. Her personal quarters, when we see them, are littered with personal effects that are 50, 60, 80 years old. What we do have evidence of, and what they may be trying to say, is that she does not want to be reminded of her age, and has not accepted her age. Her rejection of that older person award that when it was awarded to Philip he accepted with good humor said it all.

  9. molly says:

    Nostalgia and tradition and consistency and predictability is the whole POINT of a monarchy.

    Who’s going to be the monarch in 10 years, 50 years, 75 years? We already know! We’ve already met them! That’s how this whole thing works!

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @molly – You hit the nail on the head without even swinging a hammer. You are 100% correct with the “That’s how this whole thing works!” statement.

  10. SarahCS says:

    The only way I can reconcile that statement in any way is that she chooses not to reflect or learn from anything that has happened. Just maintain the same routines and live in the now.

  11. Eurydice says:

    I seem to be disagreeing a lot today. The monarchy has definitely transformed along with the times – it’s transformed from ruling an empire, in Victoria’s time, to basically being the curator of a giant national museum of history and culture. The Queen couldn’t be a transformational person even if she wanted to be.

    But, let’s say that she could. The thing about living in the present is that this isn’t where futurists live; futurists live in the future. It’s ok to be a realist and a pragmatist, not nostalgic and all the other ways they describe her, but to think about the future you need imagination and a willingness to take risk. This isn’t the Queen’s personality or what the people want from her. The most imaginative and risky thing I’ve seen from her is allowing Harry to marry Meghan. That would have been positively transformative in a small way if she wasn’t a pragmatist and realist living in the present. But the pressures from those who are more important than Harry (because, let’s face it, Charles, William and the BM are more important to the monarchy than are Harry and Meghan) led her to a realist conclusion.

    • dc says:

      Listen, the Queen made decisions, or allowed herself to be bulldozed into making decisions that ruined her sister’s Margaret’s life (by not allowing her to marry her first love, Peter Townsend), and ruined her son Charles’s life by allowing the Queen Mother, Prince Philip & Lord Mountbatten to conspire to marry his first love (Camilla) to another man, because she wasn’t a virgin! So what happened is that Charles married a virgin (Diana), and we know what happened to that fairy tale! And Charles continued his extra-marital affair with his first love throughout his marriage. And he is now married to her, after she divorced her husband.
      So, lousy sister & mother. Made all the wrong decisions, as head of the Royal Family.

    • teecee says:

      Is it really “allowing” if he refusal would have meant him removing himself from the royals which would have painted her as a giant racist? She has been able to escape that label (which she probably deserves, Harry’s Stockholm Syndrome be damned) because she “allowed” something she had no real power to prevent.

      It’s the same with the “world leaders” comments. What she says or thinks actually does not matter. They humor her because she has no real power. If she tried to cut up, they would bring the hammer down and humiliate her, and by extension the UK, so she keeps her trap shut.

  12. Mslove says:

    OMG, please.
    “I don’t think people will really realize until she’s gone the extent to which she is just part of the national landscape,”
    Her family is a burden to the hard working taxpayers who fund this family’s lavish lifestyle. The least she can do is thank them for not locking the whole lot of them up in the tower, because that’s where they belong, IMO.

  13. Tessa says:

    She had those “dynasty” photos with George and left out the other Cambridge child present (Charlotte). The treating of the heir more special is a bad tradition iMO.

  14. LRob says:

    Re the Crown, I agree. That show is so much kinder to the family than the real soap opera of their life seems to be. If I were them, I’d HOPE the public saw them in such a light.

  15. dc says:

    it seems her “present” includes passively accepting that the Home Office can decide NOT to allow Prince Harry to have security when he and his family visit UK, even when he is happy to pay for it. That doesn’t sound like a decent human being, never mind the Head of State who could certainly intervene to allow her grandson & his family to be safe if and when they visit the UK.

    • Jan90067 says:

      If she can still insist they fund that pedo Andrew FULL TIME, they can sure as *(&%^%$ fund Harry and family’s protection the few times they’re there!

  16. Duch says:

    I love how the cover of the book has an advertisement for “The Crown” via the prominent quote. You know the Netflix execs are fine with whatever little extra viewership this throws in their direction.

    • teecee says:

      No, it’s the reverse. The publishers are tying the book to the show in the hopes that Netflix viewers will buy the book. Netflix doesn’t need any help from these small timers.