As a child, “Lilibet,” as she was called, became the “heiress presumptive” to the British throne when her uncle abdicated. As a teenager she was photographed repairing Army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on VE Day. Since ascending to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of worldwide fascination and scrutiny. Sally Bedell Smith’s lecture will examine both the personal and public aspects of her remarkable sixty-year reign, revealing not only her resolve and her commitment to duty, but her oft-overlooked sense of humor and lively personality.
One of today’s most popular and respected biographers, Sally Bedell Smith began her writing career at Time magazine, where she was a reporter/researcher from 1973-1977. She then joined TV Guide as a staff writer, contributing feature articles and a weekly column. In 1982, she became a cultural-news reporter at the The New York Times, a position she held until 1985. Since 1996 she has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. An extraordinarily prolific writer, Ms. Smith has authored major biographies of six people: William Paley, Pamela Churchill Harriman, Princess Diana, Jack and Jackie Kennedy, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Queen Elizabeth II. Regarding the latter, one reviewer commented that “many authors have written about Elizabeth II, but none of them can match the literary style, wit, or insightful commentary of Sally Bedell Smith.”