Queen has kept the monarchy alive with “mystique” though she initially “lacked confidence”

Royal biographer claims the monarch endured "enormous stress" early in her reign

Queen Elizabeth II visits the Royal British Legion Industries village to celebrate the charity's centenary year on November 06, 2019 in Aylesford, England
(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

The Queen will mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, yet it's been suggested that earlier in her reign, she wasn't quite as self-assured as we might have thought. 

Having overtaken her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria in 2015 as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, it seems that the Queen knows exactly how to guide the Royal Family forwards. However, it might surprise some royal fans to learn that the Queen wasn’t always so self-assured. 

Royal biographer Clive Irving has claimed that the monarch once “lacked confidence” and the first ten years of her reign weren’t nearly as straightforward as some would think. Mr. Irving, who is the author of The Last Queen, has suggested in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, that the beginning of her reign was stressful. 

When asked about whether or not he would have anticipated her successful reign at her coronation, Mr. Iving claimed: “I think very few people would have, and she was very peculiarly lacking in that confidence herself.”

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“The first 10 years of her reign she had to endure enormous stress,” he reportedly went on to explain. “Not only learning how to be the Queen, but also enduring a campaign that [Prince] Philip and Dickie Mountbatten waged to get the family name changed.”

It was previously declared back in 1960 that the Queen’s descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince or Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the name Mountbatten-Windsor. 

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This honors both Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Family name of Windsor and that of Prince Philip - Mountbatten. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie (opens in new tab) bears this surname today.

How has the Queen kept the monarchy alive throughout her reign?

Next year will see the Queen celebrate her Platinum Jubilee and biographer Mr. Irving is understood to have explained how he thinks the Queen has kept the monarchy alive throughout her extraordinary reign. 

He reportedly claimed: “What she had to do was to maintain this strange thing that you have to maintain to keep the monarchy alive, and that’s the mystique of the monarch herself, a kind of unknowability.”

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“Here you have this paradox: One of the most famous people in the world, yet you still know so little about her, and that’s deliberate.”

The Queen has always remained quite private about her personal life throughout her reign. However, this doesn’t seem to have diminished the support of royal fans, who are always eager to catch a glimpse of the monarch at royal engagements.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.