Thinking Out Loud

November 26, 2019

Review: The Faith of Queen Elizabeth

Filed under: books, Christianity, reviews — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:59 am

Maybe it’s because of the type of reading I normally do, but for some reason, I was expecting something closer to the theology of Queen Elizabeth. Where does she stand on the burning doctrinal questions that so preoccupy and usually divide people here on the blogs, on Twitter, and on the Internet in general?

The Faith of Queen Elizabeth by Dudley Delffs is not that type of book. Furthermore, I would argue that the book’s title offers a promise which in some respects, remains undelivered. Yes, the woman is absolutely extraordinary and she makes no attempts to conceal that she attributes much of her inner strength to her trust in God, and how that source is available to all of us, regardless of our socioeconomic station in life.

But it was only in the ninth (out of ten) chapter that the author provided anything close to window into her prayer and devotional life, and the spiritual inheritance she received from her mother, and grandmother before her.

For someone like myself, who doesn’t read a lot in the genre, the book provided some much appreciated historical context for the nearly 70 years which have formed her reign. In fairness, a look at her faith is inseparable from the larger narrative of her biography, and a look at her life story is inseparable from her faith.

The question arises then, how deep can a journalist investigate when royal protocol dictates the inevitability of high levels of privacy? Sections of the book rely heavily on anecdotes concerning the information-gathering process for the book. There is the conversation with the unnamed woman in the coffee shop and the anonymous man on the train. I love the personal factor at work here, but one hesitates when writing a book of this nature to make the story about one’s self.

Other sections of the book rely on quotations from films and Netflix series about the Queen. I found myself several times asking if I am reading something which purports to be based on actual events, or if its inclusion in the book is for comparative purposes, or just speculation. Delffs made several trips for research, though it did appear at times that the book could have easily been written at the local library.

And then there was the head of an organization I contacted to tell him that their charity is mentioned in one pivotal scene. He was aware of the book and said that it is not a charity for which the Queen is a patron. Which left me confused. Why was she at the event? Why not adopt the charity? I went back to the original sentence and found it rather ambiguous.*

So am I giving this a thumbs down?

Far from it. I think this is one of those bridge titles you could give someone who is perhaps a royalist or monarchist or simply has an interest in all things British, but is unlikely to pick up another Christian title. While the book is not at all faith-focused on every page, and neither might they describe it as the best biography of the Queen they’ve ever read, The Faith of Queen Elizabeth does point to how a personal faith in Jesus Christ is a central part of her life.


The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: The Poise, Grace and Quiet Strength Behind the Crown | 224 pages with extensive photographs | Zondervan Publishing | hardcover in U.S.; hardcover and international paperback edition elsewhere | December 3 release

*The advance reading copy I received does not permit quotations, as the final text may vary.

1 Comment »

  1. Hail Queen Elizabeth. She’s always been an inspiration to many.

    Comment by laycistercians — November 26, 2019 @ 10:25 am


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