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The Quest for Queen Mary

Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (86 ratings)

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Summary

The highly acclaimed unexpurgated notes taken by James Pope-Hennessy for his official biography of Queen Mary, the present Queen's grandmother. Published in full for the first time and edited by much-admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers.

When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary's official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, this is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a bygone age. 

Giving much greater insight into Queen Mary than the official version, and including sharply observed encounters with, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester, and a young Queen Elizabeth, The Quest for Queen Mary is set to be a classic of royal publishing.

©2018 Hugo Vickers (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"A scary portrait of put-upon servants and potty aristos...this is arguably the most riotously funny volume published this year." (Max Hastings, Sunday Times)

"One of the funniest, most eccentric books of the year." (Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Lovely and Hilarious

Not what you think. Not like a standard bio. Many narrative based accounts reflecting not only on Mary's life but aristocracy itself. An inside look at what it is to be royal. Their hilarious lack of empathy and compassion for persons and situations and their stoicism when mere mortals might crumble. Fascinating

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

The enjoyment I have with this book.

This book has been researched and is a pleasure to listen to. Thank you I have enjoyed listening.

2 people found this helpful

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Maddening foot notes!

A good book but very annoying having constant interruptions with the historical footnotes, so am returning the book unread.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A sense of past times.

For me the most interesting thing about this recording is that it didn't make me laugh like reading the book did. Something missing and I'm not sure what it was. Can't say or guess how I'd feel about the recording (Or the book) if I'd heard the recording first. Not that the recording is bad, everyone has gone to a great deal of trouble and it's good to have the different voices. That of the Duchess of Windsor especially. Different points are highlighted as a consequence, the Duchess's racism for example. Casual, as were the anti Semitic attitudes of her class and generation during her thirties heyday. Other stars twinkle, Prince Axel of Denmark for example in a way they did not in the book. I did enjoy it though. There is still a strong sense of past times as well as past people. Does seem sad, to me, that the UK Royal Family is still neurotic about their German relations; come to that why are our newspapers and/or satirical magazines so keen to harp on about "phil the greek" or that they are all Krauts and similar pathetic witty remarks. Though the Duchess of Beaufort and the Duke of Gloucester still both shine.

1 person found this helpful

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Sheer brilliance

An absolute joy to listen to. The use of material fabulous and to have a genuine account of our current Monarch and all that have gone before her was delivered excellently, informative and most important at times hilarious.

At some middle chapter I was thinking that I cannot wait to listen to this again!

Highly recommended if you have an interest in the Royal family. Some previous knowledge advised given the amount of people covered.

1 person found this helpful

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Hilariously vivid portraits of many crazy (by their own admission) royals

A book about a book could be perhaps tedious but Hugo Vickers’ editing of a now-unread biography of Queen Mary (by James Pope-Hennessy) is an amusing, and indeed sometimes hilarious, condensation of conversations and interviews with many members of the European and Scandinavian royal families, nearly all descended from Queen Victoria. The gossip, the bitchiness, the scandalous stories, the descriptions of palaces fabulous and in decline, would have definitely amused Queen Victoria. It certainly amused me.

1 person found this helpful

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Dreary

Was looking forward to hearing this book but struggled to stay interested. It feels like a relentless stream of names and titles, all of which blend into each other after a while. Lots of footnotes make the narrative disjointed . Narration is good. Not the ‘funny’ and endearing account that was billed.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-11-18

A real treat for English history afficianados

this is a treasure trove of stories and fun facts about Queen Mary and her, some very odd indeed, contemporaries. if you have read the bio by Anne Edwards you might spot some references. a masterful job has been done of using various voices and techniques.

14 people found this helpful

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  • bigdjunta
  • 11-02-20

Very informative and entertaining

I learned things from this book that I never knew and the story was interesting, colorful, intelligent, and funny. I truly enjoyed it. The narrator was superb.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • CArolyn conroy
  • 20-03-20

The quest for Oueen Mary

Interesting book The funny part the narrator does not know that Baltimore Maryland does not have Southern accents. Made the Ducess sound like Georgia belle. Recommend but stuffy and slightly boring. Carolyn C.

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  • 509Cougs
  • 17-01-20

Quite possibly the best biography ever!

It so refreshing that palace insiders refrained from railing overt the Duke and his curious consort.