The Queen’s Secret: A Novel of England’s World War II Queen by Karen Harper

The Queen’s Secret was published in May 2020. If you’re a fan of The Crown, you might be interested in another fictional retelling of a member of the Royal Family.

The Queen’s Secret is about the Queen Mother, also called Elizabeth. The story begins with the Queen’s 100th birthday celebration in the year 2000, and she wistfully looks back on her life. A few events prior to her becoming queen are mentioned, as this is where the reader finds out about one of her “secrets.” Because she has more than one, it turns out. And they are definitely scandalous.


The bulk of the story of The Queen’s Secret takes place during WWII. According to historians, the queen was an important advisor to King George, and that is true in this fictionalized telling of her life. Some of the relationship between the king and queen was completely unbelievable, but I just had to remind myself that this is a work of fiction.

The queen tries to use her influence to make sure the Duke of Windsor, the former Edward XIII, and his American wife, never touch English soil again. This part of the story rings true to everything I’d read about the abdicated king and the queen mum, but in The Queen’s Secret, the reasons why are simply ludicrous salacious rumors. I had read that the Queen Mother refused to speak the Duchess of Windsor’s name, and that is true in this book as well. She is always referred to as “that woman.”

The young Elizabeth (Lillibet) and Margaret (Margot) appear frequently, and none of their behavior seemed out of the norm of other accounts of the women as children. The Queen Mother is not crazy about Elizabeth’s crush on the dashing Prince Phillip, but the king seems to think the two’s correspondence is harmless, so the Queen Mum acquiesces.

Looking at the author’s sources for The Queen’s Secret comes from a National Enquirer-type book that was released after the Queen Mother’s death. And since the “secrets” in this book are real doozies with no corroboration, it is best to read this book with a grain of salt.  I read this as I read a regular fiction book because there are some simply unbelievable claims made by the author throughout the course of her fictionalized telling of the Queen’s story.

The Queen’s Secret would be good for someone not familiar with the Royal Family and enjoys fiction about WWII. If you follow the Royal Family and consider yourself an Anglophile, you might be interested in reading this book,  but you might also be  shocked at the claims being made by the author throughout the book. Then again, if you’re a fan of the Royal Family, you’ve probably heard all the rumors before anyway.

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