I accidentally stumbled across Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn on Audible and was thoroughly delighted by this enjoyable book. One day Queen Elizabeth II, experiencing some malaise in her life, strolls out of the palace in the perfect disguise: a hoodie with a skull and crossbones on the back lent to her by Rebecca, who takes care of the queen’s beloved horses. The disappearance of the queen creates panic among the staff in the palace, who frantically go in search of the monarch before something might happen to her.
The queen gets on board a train to Edinburgh, to visit her beloved yacht Britannia, which was retired in 1997 and made open to the public. There, she has an experience getting to talk to “real” people about their true thoughts, including a very interesting conversation on the death of Princess Diana, inspired by the queen’s resemblance to Helen Mirren, who played Queen Elizabeth in The Queen. This book is about more than the enlightenment of the queen though. A limited number of staff members mobilize to locate the queen, and in doing so, they break down barriers of class that had kept the dresser from the ladies in waiting and the butler from the army major equerry and discover true friendship across these rigid lines that had previously divided them from each other.
The conclusion shows how the queen and her subjects have learned from their experiences and the queen’s contact with the everyday person on the street, shown through the lens of a performance of Shakespeare’s King Henry V, a powerful moment.
Simon Prebble does a great job of narrating this book and making it particularly enjoyable. I suspect I would not have had as good a time reading this book visually than I did listening to it.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train is one I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to everyone. It is light but with solid content and really made my day as I listened to it, also giving me new insight into the possible perspective of the royal family. I give this book five bright gold stars!
To purchase this highly entertaining book, simply click on Amazon.