Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor

December 6, 2011 by staff 

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, at 66 the most famous and richest woman in the world, has been having family problems. Recently they have been getting worse—to the delight of writers of books and magazine and newspaper stories who have been earning immense sums of money. One of her daughters-in-law keeps turning up in the tabloids on vacation with men other than her husband, sometimes dressed in nothing above the waist. Her other daughter-in-law, a blonde, lightly educated woman, married at a virginal 20, has apparently lived unhappily for more than a decade with Elizabeth’s eldest son. Their domestic squabble threatens the son’s inheritance of what he has described as “the family firm.” But the headline writers have leapt beyond. Mingling glee with gloom, cackle with shriek, they have predicted the end of the firm itself. This will not happen, of course; the firm has been doing business at the same address for a thousand years and will continue for several lifetimes, at least. But the fuss has heavily underscored a remarkable fact: for 40 years, in good times and bad, Elizabeth Windsor has faithfully performed the role suddenly thrust upon her on February 6, 1952. She has been The Queen.

She is surprisingly short. (Still, at five feet two inches, she is taller than her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who barely reached five feet.) Her hair is gray, although she colors it brown, sometimes achieving a curious effect with parts of her head covered with soft curls in each color. Her bright-blue eyes still attract admiration, but what astonishes everyone she meets is her complexion. Despite lines around the eyes and some in the forehead, it is a cliché English peaches-and-cream.

She carries no money, has no passport, no driver’s license. She wears glasses, not contact lenses; even in her finest robes, wearing the Imperial State Crown for the opening of Parliament, she reaches into her handbag and puts on her glasses to read her speech. Her voice is high and flat, because she is naturally shy, but she has added warmth and banished the shrillness of her younger years. She still offers an almost pained smile in public, which makes her seem distant and unapproachable. Her mother, the 92-year-old Queen Mother, herself robust and outgoing, still chides her daughter, “Smile!”

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