>> you are watching the tv on c-span2. is our prime time lineup for tonight. .. >> that all happens tonight on c-span2's booktv. >> from the 12th annual national book festival on the national mall in washington, d.c., sally bedell smith presents her book, "elizabeth the queen: the life of a modern monarch."
it's about 40 minutes. [applause] >> thank you so much, francis, for that generous introduction. i have to tell you that i'm especially honored to be introduced by francis today because, um, our friendship goes back to the mid 1990s when my husband stephen was the foundiny editor of "civilization," the wonderful magazine of the library of congress, and francis was his highly-capable deputy editor. the magazine, unfortunately, fell victim to the first wave of infatuation with the internetca and lost its funding, but francis has gone on to be a top editor at "the washington post." as aye been travel -- as i'vengo been traveling around the country talking about queen elizabeth ii, the one consistent question i have heard is what did you learn that surprised you.n well, the answer is that it
seemed like there was something unexpected around almost every corner. in the course of my research, i made numerous discoveries about b the way the queen goes about her job and about aspects of her character and personality that people either don't know about or don't fully appreciate.a one of my main goals in writing "elizabeth the queen" was to w part the curtain and tell what she's really like, taking thewh reader as close as possible to elizabeth, the human being, the wife and the mother and the friend as well as the highly respected world leader. i also wanted to do what none of her other biographers, all ofo them english, had been -- had, done, which is to explain her strong connection to the united states. has not only has she been to this country five times -- 11 times, excuse me, five of them on
private holidays, the most vacation time she has ever spent anywhere outside her privateutsi estate, some of her closestv friends are americans which may be one of the biggest surprises. she is also known -- she has also known every president from harry truman to barack obama with the exception of lyndonm johnson who tried but fail today meet her. i remember being impressed whenr an official at the american embassy in london told me that during the memorial service att st. paul's cathedral after the 9/11 attacks, the queen sang every single word of the american national anthem. and i would betsi that therem. aren't any presidents who canh sing all the words to "god save the queen." since we are here today on the national mall, i thought i woul focus on the queen's fondness ml
for this country and its people, pote little known and well known, and in so doingnown illuminate corners of her life that can help you understand her better. the queen to help understand her better. it was most often played out in state visits here when it was written. one was the first came to washington in 1951, she was a 25-year-old princess, only months away from becoming queen. harry truman was completely smitten, announcing that when everyone becomes acquainted with you, they immediately followed that with you. like those who followed him, truman was surprised that elizabeth was so much more approachable than she seemed in her public image. dwight eisenhower had known princess elizabeth during world war ii when he was in london, he
had what he called was a devoted friendship with king george next, and he entertained the teenage princess at his london apartment where he served her prime ribs of beef according to instructions, nice and rare. in 1957, she was given a short trip by her biographers. according to a horrible research and in an interview ruth buchanan, who was the widoc of eisenhower's chief ofhe protocol, was with the royal couple throughout their six dayt in the united states which began in jamestown in williamsburg,
ended in new york city andand included an impromptu visit to a supermarket in suburban sub maryland. ruth gave me an impromptu -- anu invaluable personal perspective on elizabeth's conduct as queen and her relationship with her husband, prince phillip.e one of my favorite descriptions was of a moment on the president's airplane when phillip was immersed in the sports section of the newspaperm and ignoring his wife's s questions as she wrote postcards to their children.w when she pressed him, he got flustered. it was so like what an ordinary wife would do do -- do when her husband wasn't paying attention to her. g what was happening when her husband wasn't paying attention to her, he said. he also noticed that elizabeth was very certain and comfortable in her role and very much in control. yet, once when ruth was waiting
at the white house for her husband, ruth heard her roaring with laughter at one of the protocols. you didn't realize that she had that kind of a hearty laugh, booth said. the minute she rounded the corner, she straightened up. this combination of public dignity exists to this day. the 1957 visit was remarkable for its informality and spontaneity. and the number of unguarded glimpses of the queen seen by the public. she has specifically asked what to see what she called an american football match. twigg university of maryland and the university of north carolina, she went down on the field and chatted with the players. the governor of maryland,
explained that her history of football going all the way back to the greeks and romans and the president at the university of maryland, even showed her how to throw a forward pass. she watched the game intensely, but she did see perturbed whenever the players through blocks. on the way to the stadium, she had spotted a supermarket, which was a phenomenon that was then unknown in britain. and she asked to see how american women went shopping. well, he visited was hastily arranged after the game, startling hundreds of shoppers. wearing a full-length mink coat, she and prince philip explored the supermarket like a pair of anthropologists in american culture.
she marveled at the quantity and range of projects. the queen was particularly intrigued by the frozen chicken pot pies. and she quizzed the store's manager about refrigeration techniques and how the checkout counters worked. at her insistence, they arrived at their next stop, new york city, by water, which is something she had been dreaming about since childhood. squealed with tonight ungentle life. she compared to a rule of great tools. she ate a three course meal,
which was highly unusual for a site, said she was never supposed to be filmed eating. when the royal couple left after midnight, their limousine was lit up the crowds lining the streets to see her in her glittering evening gown and her diamond tear a. many of the women were wearing bathrobes and they have curlers in her hair. look at all those people and then i close, she said to philip. i certainly would not come out in my might close to see anyone drive by, no matter who they were. the british people felt left out as they read about the queen's relaxed style that they had never seen. to them, she was still a distant presence. and it would be several decades before mingling with ordinary people would become standard operating procedure.
why did she have to cross the atlantic to become real? wondered one newspaper in london after she returned home. with the exception of 14 hours in chicago for the opening of the st. lawrence seaway in 1959, the queen would not return to the united states for nearly another two decades. but she did entertain american presidents in britain. eisenhower made a very memorable visit to belgium world, where she invited him to a picnic and cooked scones on a griddle for him. he was so impressed that he asked her for the recipe, which she wrote out in longhand. apologizing that the quantity was for 16 people and adding that the mixture needed a great deal of beating.
she gave jack and jackie kennedy a dinner at buckingham palace, which was the first time the president had dined there when woodrow wilson was entertained by the queen's grandfather, king george five. yet, the 31-year-old first lady was surprisingly critical afterwards. he was not impressed by the flowers were the furnishings at buckingham palace. or by the queens evening gown and what she described as her flat hairstyle. jackie said that when she also complained about the pressure of being on tour, the queen gave her a glance of and advice that one gets classy with time.
when the president was assassinated in 1963, she was prevented from her doctors from attending the memorial service at the intensity was the beetle. yet she insisted on having her own memorial service at saint george's chapel windsor, and she invited 400 american servicemen to attend the service and to have a tour of windsor castle afterwards. when winston churchill died in january 1965, the queen gave him the supreme honor of a full state funeral. lyndon johnson wanted to be there, but he was in the hospital with acute bronchitis. for three days, his request for special accommodations, including her in his armchair to the funeral, ranging shelter from the rain, and being allowed
to sit while others were standing. the queen granted all of his request, and thoughtfully invited him. unfortunately, lyndon johnson's doctors denied his request to meet the queen. richard nixon had been very eager to please the queen since their first meeting in 1957 when he gave her a book entitled the art of readable writing. in an effort to improve their public speaking. which had been criticized in the british press. nixon also hosted a stand-in or for prince philip in the white house, which prompted barbara walters to scold him for not including any women. nixon had princess anne and two
children visit in washington, even trying to fix up his trials with his daughter, patricia, once of the prime minister's residence in the country, but he never managed to get the queen over here for a state visit. his successor was the ambitious post in 1976. he game this week against with the queen at the white house to the unfortunate choice of the lady is a champ. planning went somewhat awry, as it did at the british ambassador's reception for 1600 people during the washington leg of their tour. elizabeth was being trailed by tv cameramen with very big
bright lights. when suddenly, this cameraman disappeared and ran to the front door of the ambassador's residence, because elizabeth taylor was making her grand entrance. the ambassador was furious. the queen of was merely amused. her press secretary told me that because for once, somebody else was the center of media attention. in private during that trip, she also demonstrated the secret of her sturdy stance that the allows her to endure long hours on her feet. lifting her evening gown above her ankles, she told the wife of her foreign secretary that one plants once the apart like this. always keep them parallel. make sure that your weight is
evenly distributed, and that is all there is to it. the queen was accompanied by her good friend, jenny, who was her first and only american lady in waiting. who grew up in new york and newport, rhode island. as the wife of one of the queen's friends since childhood, she had been entertained frequently at the queens home, that all moral, and when the queen nasser in 1973 to join her at her household, jenny declined. but she frequently became one of her most frequent attendance. the temperature was very high, but she said luckily i don't mind the heat when surrounded by a crowd in manhattan. it was another example of what
people told me about the queen. that she does not perspire, even in the hottest temperatures. this is something i actually witnessed when i was on tour in the tropics with the queen and her face remained throughout remarkably dry. one of the queens cousins, lady pamela hicks, explained to it to me in her own an unknowable way that the queens then does not run water. while it helps her look good and helps keep her clothing ungreased, it does make her uncomfortable. the queen had a fleeting encounter with jimmy carter when he attended a black-tie dinner at buckingham palace in 1977. but he managed to offend her mother by enthusiastically sing her on the lips.
i took a sharp step backward, the queen mother recalled, not quite good enough. she later said that she had not been this that way since the death of her husband of 25 years earlier. the friendship between the royal family and ronald and nancy reagan was the closest of all the american presidents. the reagans had first met prince charles was in california while serving with the real navy in the early 1970s. they had an equally strong relationship with the queen and prince philip, as well as her sister, princess margaret, the queen mother, and her cousin, princess alexandra. they kept an extensive personal correspondence that i was given permission to read at the presidential library out in california, the reagan library. the letters tell a story of infection and thoughtfulness on both sides, over more than three
decades. correspondence that continues to this day with nancy reagan. in june of 1982, when the reagans were in europe for summit meetings, the queen invited them to stay at windsor castle. which was the first such personal invitation for an american presidential couple. not only did she arrange such a dedicated telephone line, but she had the first shower installed in the more than 900-year-old castle, because she was told that is what the family needed. it was a family dinner on the first night, and the following morning from the queen invited the reagans to breakfast. it was surprisingly informal, nancy reagan told me. we had to walk through their bedroom and line up on a table where boxes of cereal were. i said to prince charles, what do i do? and he said, just help yourself. there wasn't anything like i had
when the claim insisted on braving the elements to tour the grounds of the 200-acre estate she hopped into the main and start that was filled with mops and brooms. reagan had promised the queen arrest and style ride on horseback at his rancho del see yellow on a mountaintop near santa barbara. the relentless downpour forced the house to arrange 4-wheel drive vehicles to climb the 7 miles of hair-thin turns up the mountain. despite concerns about the dangers the queen was eager to take the treacherous dirt wearing black leather boots and a macintosh. she says, if we can get there, let's go. the ride on horseback had to be canceled. a thick slog blocks the view, but the two couples had a lunch of tacos and enchiladas and three fried beans.
that was so enjoyable, the queen said, especially they used beans. [laughter] in san francisco there was a black-tie dinner in honor of a queen and prince philip at the museum. watching the clock, he asked the queen's private secretary, sir philip morris, why she was taking so long to get ready. the queen needs heard tiara time , he replied he then explained that she has a kayten with tools that she uses to decorate certain crs by hooking on paroles or rubies or sapphires for emeralds depending on what she is wearing.
when i asked the crown jeweler, david thomas about this he said that it is, in fact, a pastime that she very much enjoys. the queen and prince philip had an easy camaraderie with george h. w. bush and his wife, barbara in part because they were all close contemporaries. philip and the 41st president had also both seen action in the pacific in world war ii, which give them a common bond. the queen is rather formal, bush told me, but i never found per reserved, standoffish. it is hard to explain really, but she is a very, very easy to be with. conversation comes easily. that ease was evident after the white house welcoming ceremony for her third state visit in 1991 when presidential aides for got to provide a set for the podium that have been designed
for the considerably taller president's. while making her remarks, the cluster of microphones obscured the queen's face, offering tv viewers what appears to be a talking purple and white striped had. the queen laughed after words. another moment slightly gone wrong. her humor made it all seemed fine, george bush said. he also marveled at her stamina at age 65. at the state dinner he observed that her fast pace had left even the secret service panting. one of the queen's secret service once said she has too great assets. she sleeps very well and secondly, she has got very good legs. she is, he said, as tough as a yak.
i got another insight from of a woman named valentino who, for many years, oversaw blair house which is where the queen and prince philip were staying during a visit. she happens to see elizabeth one morning before she set off on a half engagement. the queen was standing completely by herself. it was as if she is looking inward getting set. this is how she wound up her batteries. there was no chitchat. standing absolutely still and waiting, resting within herself. bill and hillary clinton had a warm relationship with the "-- queen as well. like other presidents clinton was impressed with what he described as the clever manner in which he discussed public issues, probing the for
information and insight without venturing too far into a expressing her own political views. he observed that the circumstance of her birth, she might have been a successful politician and diplomat. as it was, he said, she had to be both but without quite seeming to be either. george w. bush got off on the right foot, literally, with the queen during her 1991 visit. the president's 44-year-old eldest son was wearing custom-made cowboy boots to his parents' private luncheon upstairs of the white house. the texas rangers, is that on the boots, the queen asked? note -- no, ma'am, the young george joked. god save the queen. she left the nest, are you the
black sheep in the family? i guess so, he said. the queen replied to all families have them. he asked, whose horse? don't answer that, said his mother, which let the queen escape from the conversation. the 43rd president noticed the queen's twinkle which he told me he took as a sign of an easy spirit. george and laura bush were not only honored by his visit at buckingham palace in 2003, they hosted her for a state visit at the white house four years later laura could not have note -- could not help noticing one of the queen's habits. at the end of a meal some people find surprising. she opens her handbag, pulls out a compact, and three applies to lipstick. sometime later laura made a similar cosmetic fix during a washington ladies luncheon and cheerfully said, the queen told
me it was all right to do this. before arriving at the white house in 2007 the queen and philip had attended the kentucky derby for the first time. laura made certain to advise the winning jockey, calvin barrell, to the state dinner. when he and the queen met in the receiving line, if he wrapped an arm around her and the first lady. the queen has become, by then become accustomed to american familiarity and did not mind at all that he had breached protocol by touching her. a similar encounter led to headlines in the british tabloids when barack and michele obama visited buckingham palace with a first time in march 2009. at a reception for heads of state attending did g20 summit the queen and circulated informally through the crowd of high-powered gas. as michele and the queen were
talking, they turned toward one of her ladies in waiting to show their difference in height. the queen is about 5-foot three or five ft. four. michele, as you know, nearly 6 feet. the first lady put her arm around the queen and responded by lightly in circling machel's waste. the palace videographer told me that they were totally spontaneous gestures. the tabloid it made a fuss about what they called an unthinkable protocol violation by the american first lady. in fact, the queen was completely relaxed about what heard top advisers called for a display of affection and appreciation. elizabeth's day at the kentucky derby was arranged by one of her closest american friends, will ferris, a former ambassador to britain and a fellow in thoroughbred breeder. during her fifth private holiday
on his horse farm in kentucky, her first vacation there had been in 1984, and it was such a novelty that when she landed at lexington a woman from customs administration would not admit her to this country without a passport. the state department protocol officer who was accompanying the queen tried to explain that the queen does not have a passport, which is one of the oddities of her unusual status. the official resistance until a call to washington gave the queen clearance. the pattern of her stay in the bluegrass for his country held for all of her subsequent holidays visits to farms to seek prospective the stallions, and outings to local racetracks. lunches and dinners with friends from the world. whenever senior advisers told me that he saw an atmosphere of informality and gave the that i
never saw in england. no one was calling her man or your majesty. she was laughing and joking and having fun. in 1984 she also stayed for a weekend in wyoming and arrange on the slopes of the big horn mountains. her hosts were her longtime racing manager and his wife, jeanne, another american friend in the queens inner circle. when they first met in london in 1955 gina was struck by what she described as the queen's steadiness. she is difficult to know, gene told me, but it is worth the wait. you sort of become friends. it takes a long time to know where. in wyoming the queen was able to relax completely, taking 5--mile walks on the 4,000-acre property and joining shooting parties as the guns brought down.
she hosted a dinner at the mavericks' supper club where she was quite perplexed by the process of ordering from a restaurant menu which she had not done before. what offered various sizes of filet mignon. she asked, now, here's a surprise. a queen size the bill that cuts would has browned potatoes and onions because i have never tasted before. honored departure she wrote a letter to ronald reagan describing the time she had spent in america doing what she liked best, looking at beautiful thoroughbreds and walking in the wide-open spaces by the absence. the american west had a long held a fascination for the queen. one of her most intriguing american friends has been a monty roberts, a california cowboy who is known as the horse whisperer for his humane techniques to train horses in a
circular pen. she was so impressed by what she had read about his approach that she invited him to demonstrate his technique at windsor castle in 1989. come show me this lion's cage of yours, she said. do i need a whip and change? as montae recalled to me, said that not only with the twinkle but that her message addressing him clearly her talent put him at ease. his demonstration was a big success, and the queen and the cowboys struck up a fast. over lunch in the castle garden she asked him numerous questions i saw mine open up, he recalled. when he told her something that she did not know she would sit on the edge of her chair, he said, with a humility of a first grader. she also gave him advice on how to present his concepts to a
skeptical group of english trainers. you need to ease up, he said. that way you don't appear to be too competitive. the queening kirsten to write his memoirs, critique his draft, and even found a publisher. there remain in contact by phone, and he visits her at windsor several times a year. 2011, she awarded roberts by making him an honorary member of the royal victorian order. and when her oldest corky died several weeks ago at age 13 it was revealed that he had been named after monty roberts. her last visit to the united states was in july 2010 to lay a wreath at ground zero in new york city. and she spends nearly a half hour in a record sheltering heats of 100 degrees,
103 degrees greeting families of those who have lost their lives on september 11th. debbie polymer, the widow of a firefighter who died in september 11th echoed the observation of others when she told me, we were all pouring sweat, but she did not have an obvious what honor. i thought, this is what it is like to be roiled. well, the queen has shown us over the years how to be royal in so many ways. her sense of duty and professionalism as well as her wisdom and good judgments, which is endearing, not only to her subjects, but to so many people in this country. on her first state visit in 1957 she emphasized the common language and the heritage of history between britain and america. she praised the enlightened and skilled statesman who founded
the american republic. she has repeated her pledge of between many, many times over the years with her words and her actions and her clear affection for america's tradition, people, and its leaders. the queen has helped in ways beyond measure to ensure that this special relationship between britain and the united states transcends political differences wherever they may arrive. thank you. i'd be delighted to take questions. [applause] >> hi. i'm curious if you can tell us what is in her handbag as was alluded to? to, under their legal system, is queen or king, as that gender of the head of state changes, is
that the most important political title under their system or is it something else? avast the british embassy and have not got no reply. >> well, first of all, the hand back. i had three eyewitnesses. the most amusing one was a manager of the football team in the home who sat next to her at a luncheon. i talked to and after words, and if she said that she had opened her handbag and got a very good look. you know, it's just like anybody's hand back. it had a coin purse, probably did not have any coins in it. it had heard -- it had her makeup. it had some sweet there for her coffee. it had a column, lipstick. i spoke to one of her ladies in waiting, and she said you know, you have to understand that the queen is very practical. she carries thing that she needs. a handkerchief. she often carries losses.
it is up to the lady in waiting to carry things like extra pairs of gloves, needles, that, things like that. she is practical and wants to have these things close at hand. one more thing that a friend told me about that she had seen when she went to dinner at one of the queen's cousin is some years ago. she watched from a sitting very close and watched as the queen opened her hand back and pulled out a suction cup and proceeded to spit into the sexting cup. attached to that section kemp was the hook. she took it and prompted underneath the table said that she could hang your head back our. that is the essence of practicality. as far as the most important title, i mean, obviously the market goes back 1,000 years. it is often said that the power and glory in britain are kept separate.
the power is invested in the prime minister who is the leader of the party that wins in a general election. the queen has a specific power under the constitution to be consulted and to encourage and to warn. she does that in all of her private audiences with the prime ministers and many other government officials, members of the clergy and members of the judiciary to come to her for completely confidential audiences which are extremely important to them. [inaudible question] >> well, the first constitution is so different from ours. underwritten, accumulation of laws and traditions. their subjects of the queen. that is what, you know, the term is. >> i need to ask, asking
questions just temporarily, please stick around for more questions from the audience. c-span will be here shortly to continue. there will be taking questions year from that history and biography pavilion and also from national colors. please stay with us. we would love to have you continue. and if you have questions, we will be back with you in it slightly less than ten minutes. thanks so much for your patients. please stay with us, and please thank our author >> visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs you see here online. type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can also share anything you see on booktv.org easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with top nonfiction books and authors.
booktv.org. >> quickly, sally bedell smith, is keith elizabeth ii -- queen elizabeth ii a republican or democrat? n >> guest: oh, we'll never know. shoue is scrupulous about asserting her neutrality orma maintaining her neutrality. it's a great guessing game.ue i suppose the more apt question would be, um, whether she's a, you know, labour or a torrey. but she has made it her business in the course of her 60-year reign to get along with every single one of her prime, her 12 prime ministers. it's an amazing span from winston churchill, who actuallyi was born in the 19th century and served in her great, great grandmother queen victoria's army to david cameron who was born three years after the birth of her youngest child, princehe edward. but she is, she has opinions
which she expressed in private,e but she is extremely careful about not making political statements in public. i did catch her, or i was told about one that was actually quite amusing which was, um, robert tuttle who was one of the american ambassadors to britainn during george w. bush came for his presentation of his h credentials. and at that moment there was a big tour or about -- furor aboue something called the congestion tax. it was a political hot potato,mp and it was being imposed onm people to prevent them from driving into london too much. and the american embassy maintained they were not liable because they called it the congestion charge, but they saie it was a tax, and the americans were not supposed to pay it. and so robert tuttle arrived for his presentation of his credentials, and they went
through all the formalities, and then they had a little informalo discussion, and she said to him i understand you think the congestion charge is a tax. he said, yes, ma'am, it is a tax. and she said, well, of coursehes it's a tax. and, of course, the head ofrs protocol for the diplomatic corps was turning, you know,or white at the prospect that she would say something so political, but those kind of slips are very unusual. and as far as her or relationships with americanio presidents, she has bonded with them kind of on a personal basis, but not so much -- it doesn't have anything to do with politics, republican ore a democrat. >> host: in several instances in your book, you indicate that she has a pretty wicked sense of humor. >> guest: she does. she spends a lot of time in a scotland, and she's a greato mimic., a and it is said that