BOOK REVIEW: The Queen and I by Sue Townsend


When a Republican Party wins the General Election, their first act in power is to strip the royal family of their assets and titles and send them to live on a housing estate in the Midlands.

Exchanging Buckingham Palace for a two-bedroomed semi in Hell Close (as the locals dub it), caviar for boiled eggs, servants for a social worker named Trish, the Queen and her family learn what it means to be poor among the great unwashed. But is their breeding sufficient to allow them to rise above their changed circumstance or deep down are they really just like everyone else?


Where do I begin with this one? Delightfully funny and light, this is definitely one to read on cold, winter nights with a glass of wine or hot chocolate or on a hot beach with a cocktail. Basically, location doesn’t matter as everything dissolves into the background once the first chapter is completed.

When it was originally published in 1992 I borrowed a copy from my Mother and devoured it cover to cover. I was only 10 or 11 years old at time, but having read it in subsequent years it has only gotten funnier.

The Queen and her brood are evicted and have to live amongst the great un-washed on a council estate in housing that falls far below par. As they come to terms with their situation, the Royals meet fantastic characters and deal with the predicament in their own ways (not necessarily how you’d first expect). With The Queen in a pensioners bungalow and the Queen Mother having ‘meals on wheels’, it’s a book that keeps you laughing, crying and reeling in despair from beginning to end.


“Mr Barker, there is no mention of dogs here,” said the Queen.

“One per family,” said Jack.

“Horses?” asked Charles.

“Would you keep a horse in a council house garden?”

“No. Quite. One wasn’t thinking.”

“Clothes aren’t on the list,” said Diana, shyly.

“You won’t be needing much. Just the bare essentials. You won’t be making personal appearances, will you?”

Princess Anne rose and stood next to her father. “Thank God for that! At least something good has come out of this bloody shambles. Are you all right, Pa?” 


If you enjoyed Sue’s other offerings such as ‘Adrian Mole’, this certainly won’t disappoint. Her easy and engaging style of writing really puts you in the story to empathise with and laugh at the characters.

– JoJo Writes

Grab your copy here:

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