For his latest book on the monarchy, Daily Mail journalist Hardman has drawn on interviews, confidential conversations, official and unofficial biographies, declassified Cabinet papers, and unpublished diaries, all of which give his account authority and heft. Elizabeth, who will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee on Feb. 6, 2022, has faced daunting political, economic, and family crises during her seven decades in power, including her sister’s romance with a married man; the assassination of Prince Philip’s uncle Lord Mountbatten; the Suez Canal conflict; disagreements with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; her children’s divorces; the deaths of Diana and Prince Philip; unrest in some parts of the realm; cultural upheaval in response to British colonialism; anti-monarchists; and, most recently, the decision of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to withdraw from their royal obligations. No monarch, Hardman writes, “has weathered more change, both within and without the institution, than Elizabeth II. She has done so by avoiding grand, overarching masterplans and targets, by sticking to her strategy of ‘small steps.’ ” With unwavering admiration, the author portrays Elizabeth as a head of state who exemplifies “the prudent application of soft power” and who “genuinely likes being Queen.” He praises her restraint, which he believes comes from innate modesty and which often masks deep feelings. Even as a teenager in war-torn Britain, “Elizabeth was dutiful, reserved, reluctant to be the centre of attention, reticent with emotions and opinions.” In 1966, when she was criticized for not rushing to the scene of a devastating colliery accident in Wales, Hardman explains that she was afraid of publicly displaying overwhelming sorrow. More than his previous books, this one is structured as a detailed chronology, following Elizabeth on diplomatic voyages throughout the world and dutifully reporting on interactions domestic and foreign. He debunks critics and especially delights in exposing fictions perpetrated by The Crown.