Clive Irving has had a long and career in journalism on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been managing editor of the Sunday Times in London, he was director of current affairs programming for London Weekend Television, and a consulting editor for Newsday in New York. He was the founding editor of Conde Nast Traveler, where he is still Editor Emeritus, and is a regular columnist for the Daily Beast. Most recently, he was a key contributor to the acclaimed two-part BBC documentary, Margaret: The Rebel Princess, which was broadcast on PBS in America. Irving lives in Sag Harbor, NY.
Clive Irving’s stunning new narrative biography The Last Queen: Elizabeth II’s Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor (Pegasus –January 5, 2021), probes the question of the British monarchy’s longevity. In 2020, Queen Elizabeth II finally appears to be at ease in the modern world, helped by the new generation of Windsors. Through Irving’s unique insight there emerges a more fragile institution, whose extraordinarily dutiful matriarch has managed to persevere with dignity. Yet in doing so made a Faustian pact with the media—something that we’re seeing with the new season of The Crown just about to launch and the introduction of Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher to the narrative.
The Last Queen is not a conventional biography—instead, it follows Elizabeth and her family’s struggle to survive in the face of unprecedented changes within the monarchy and Britain. As well as the world’s increased fascination with the royal family. “Royal journalism became the most profitable stream of celebrity journalism, and the royal family assumed the role of a compulsively viewable soap opera.”
Therefore, it became impossible to see the lives of the Queen and her family “clearly and fairly because of the way it was always conveyed in the terms and language of the tabloid circus that now always follows the family.” Irving masterfully details the truth behind England’s longest reigning monarch with the added perspective of his own first-hand, personal insight as a journalist whose career has paralleled Elizabeth’s reign.