One of the most famous people in the world, Queen Elizabeth II has lived in the spotlight for almost her entire life, and earlier this year, marked a remarkable 68 years as England’s monarch. Generations have been fascinated by the trials and tribulations of the Royal Family; multiple books have been written about them and about her and she’s been portrayed on-screen by Helen Mirren and, most recently, by Claire Foy and Olivia Colman in “The Crown.”
Although the pandemic has kept Queen Elizabeth, now 94, out of public view more this year than in the past (she was spotted out for the first time in October and again in November, where she wore a mask ), she continues to fulfill her royal duties, even observing the unveiling of a new portrait via Zoom. /zigman2/quotes/211319643/composite ZM +0.97%
Author Bryan Kozlowski has written a new book, “Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living from Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch,” which examines some of the Queen’s “best practices,” which may or may not include keeping a crossword puzzle in her ever-present purse “for emergencies.”
A lifestyle and British-culture researcher, Kozlowski is the author of “The Jane Austen Diet,” along with three previous books; his work has appeared in Vogue, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
In a recent email interview with Next Avenue, Kozlowski (not a native Brit but a lifelong Anglophile who currently lives in Florida) talked about why Queen Elizabeth is such a fascinating and enduring figure — and how she stays that way.
Next Avenue: What drew you to the Queen as subject matter for a book?
Bryan Kozlowski : I’d say neglect was the mother of invention for this book. As an admirer of the Queen, I became increasingly baffled by the fact that here we have, arguably, the most famous senior in the world — someone who has aged phenomenally well despite decades of untold pressures — and yet there’s never been a project that has taken a serious look into how she has done it. So that’s the project I attempted, and it’s been a true joy.
How is “Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living from Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch” different from the countless other books about the Queen?
It’s the first book to focus on the Queen’s life — and longevity — as a template for us ‘commoners’ to follow on a daily basis. In that way, it doesn’t tell the story of her life chronologically as most biographies do, but approaches her legacy through the smart lifestyle choices and mental habits that have enabled her reign to be so incredibly long and resilient.
The Queen can sometimes come across as untouchably grand in biographies. I wanted to show that hers is a much more grounded and relatable life than you might imagine.
One only needs to note the popularity of the Netflix series, “The Crown,” to see that the Royal Family continues to be a source of fascination. What is it about the Royal Family, and in particular Queen Elizabeth, that is so appealing?
Personally, I think they (the well-behaved ones!) are reflective of a nobility and grace rapidly disappearing from modern culture. The Queen, especially, is a living archive of a generation in England which approached practically every facet of life far differently (and, many would say, far wiser) than we do today: from eating to emoting to calmly dealing with challenges.
Being a time capsule of a more noble generation has always been one of the historic purposes of monarchy, but of course Her Majesty’s example is more massively needed today than ever.
Your book focuses on 23 aspects of the daily life of Queen Elizabeth. Can you offer one or two of the most interesting facts you learned about the following practices ?
Eating and drinking: My favorite royal eating ‘rule’ is the Queen’s lifelong insistence on treating herself, every day, to afternoon tea. She isn’t remotely fussy about food at other meals, but taking time for tea has always been nonnegotiable for her.
Behind this rule is a brilliant understanding of the nature of maintaining willpower — something the Queen is iconically known for.