The Queen and I


The Queen and I

infobox Book |
name = The Queen and I
title_orig =
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image_caption =
author = Sue Townsend
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = novel
publisher =
release_date = 1992
english_release_date =
media_type =
pages =
isbn =
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Queen and I" is a 1992 novel/play written by Sue Townsend.

The setting is England, after the 1992 General Election, where the House of Windsor has just been deprived of its Royal status by the People's Republican Party and its members are made to live like normal Britons.

After a People's Republican Party government is elected by the British people, who were influenced by subliminal messages sent through their TV sets by members of the television technicians union manipulated by Jack Barker, the Royal Family has to leave Buckingham Palace and must move to a council house estate. Barker, as the new Prime Minister, transforms Britain into a republic and dismantles the monarchy. In Hellebore Close (aptly known as "Hell Close" to its longtime residents), the new home of the Royal Family, they learn to cope with the normal day of ordinary people. The Queen learns how to use a zipper or buttons and that five hours of waiting to see a doctor in an ordinary hospital is not unusual. She gets to know that living with a small pensioner's income is hard and that you have to organize your budget. On the whole, the Queen quickly learns to cope with the situation and later does not want to go back to Buckingham Palace because of all the duties that would await her there.

On the other hand, her husband Philip cannot cope with the situation. He refuses to eat, is annoyed by sharing a bed with his wife and would like to be anywhere but in Hellebore Close.

Charles, former Prince of Wales, discovers his great love for gardening. While he and his wife Diana, Princess of Wales, begin affairs with their neighbours, their children, William and Harry, think the whole situation is an adventure. Later Charles is imprisoned and sentenced for attacking a police officer, a crime he did not actually commit. His sister Anne, Princess Royal, takes up with a local handyman. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is briefly mentioned to be serving aboard a submarine under the Arctic ice cap.Their neighbours, who are at first sceptical, eventually include the ex-Royals in their society and help them as much as their own circumstances allow.

Although the Queen Mum is the oldest, she learns very fast how to cope with the new situation, but even in the poor circumstances of Hellebore Close she cannot stop herself from betting on horses. Her death shakes the whole neighbourhood and everyone takes part in her cheap, but solemn funeral. A disgruntled fishmonger and his wife start a campaign to "Bring Our Monarch Back", under its acronym BOMB.

Jack Barker and his so called “Kitchen Cabinet” make very expensive promises to the voters, e.g. raising pensions or renewing schools, and soon get into trouble with foreign creditors. After talks with the Japanese Emperor, Barker announces that Britain is to become part of the Japanese Empire, with himself as Governor General. In return, all repayments to Japan are suspended indefinitely. This agreement is sealed by the marriage of the Emperor's daughter Sayako to Edward, the Queen’s youngest son.

It is then revealed that the whole story was the Queen's nightmare, waking to find that the Conservatives have won the Election instead.

In 2006 a sequel, "Queen Camilla", was published.


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