Harold Nicolson called her 'the greatest Queen since Cleopatra', while Cecil Beaton called her 'a marshmallow made on a welding machine'. Stephen Tennant said: 'She looked everything that she was not: gentle, gullible, tenderness mingled with dispassionate serenity, cool, well-bred, remote. Behind this veil she schemed and vacillated, hard as nails.' Who was she? The Queen Mother's story has not yet been properly told. This was partly due to her long life, and the difficulty that always exists when a biography of a living person is attempted, partly because she was a queen - and the real person gets hidden behind the perceived image - and partly because she is hard to pin down. From her privileged aristocratic childhood, to the Abdication and the problems with Diana - this book questions how she faced her challenges and crises, assesses her role, how powerful she was, and how she coped. This is a candid, personal portrait of one of Britain's most loved national treasures. Hugo Vickers, an acknowledged expert on the House of Windsor, has spent seventeen years researching this book, and observed the Queen Mother in public and private over a period of forty years.