Queen Elizabeth visits the City of Westminster travelling library in the Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett and borrows Ivy Compton-Burnett along with Norman, the kitchen porter. Sir Bob Scratch-it, her private secretary, approved of neither Norman nor the book. The Mitford sisters were next for reading, ably recommended by Norman, Elizabeth’s new equerry. The Duke was told of her reading –‘Again?’ David Niven never won an Oscar because he persisted in reminding Princess Elizabeth at parties ‘Ah, You
brought the Greek with you!’ The Duke was born on Corfu and never learned his native Greek.
Elizabeth relied on Norman to return the Mitford books which was noticed. Norman was unfazed by exalted company - Elizabeth’s royalty was obliterated by her seniority. Amanuensis, opsimathic, syllogisms and any other definitions encountered and mastered did not curry favour as the
household of minders attempted to halt Elizabeth’s reading distraction.
The weekly briefing with the Prime Minister could not inspire Elizabeth – Mr Bean was in charge of the British Government and a literary desert.
Elizabeth quoted from A Tale of Two Cities as part of her Christmas address and followed up with some modern poetry. Sir Bob Scratch-it ensured her books for the Canadian trip went astray. Norman
was disappeared as every attempt was made to stop her reading habit. Sudden absences and departures were part of Elizabeth’s life.
Writing notes of daily happenings turned Elizabeth towards writing, rapidly recognising and relishing her own style. Elizabeth despite meeting living writers preferred knowing them in books. Elizabeth
recognised Shakespeare’s Cordelia as similar to her own predicament. Increasingly wild speculation on Elizabeth’s health meant Alzheimer’s was mentioned. Sir Claude Politiloge, an ancient royal
servant, was recruited to deter Elizabeth from reading, he inadvertently encouraged her to write.
Elizabeth did her own disappearing when a page tried to read her notebook. Elizabeth asserted herself,
rumours of senile decay dispatched. Elizabeth met Norman by chance at a University, on return, she promptly disappeared Sir Bob Scratch-it.
A party for her Privy Council allowed her to express disdain for the white-gloved handshakes with despots and dictators so steeped in blood that thigh length boots would have been essential. The British Empire stained one fifth of the world red with blood, introduced concentration camps to the world during the Boer War and proved a bad neighbour to John Bull’s other island. Queen Elizabeth felt shame not pride as head of the Commonwealth.
The Prime Minister warned Elizabeth not to write a book until her reign was over. ‘But why do you think you are all here?’