"In the old days, the monarch led his soldiers on the battlefield and his leadership at all times was close and personal. Today things are very different. I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice. But I can do something else. I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations." --from Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas broadcast, 1957 This beautiful and perceptive book details the Queen's achievements through decades of upheaval and reveals the personal qualities that have made those achievements possible. With an authoritative text and remarkable photographs -- most of them in colour --Queen and Countrytells anew the story of Queen Elizabeth II's 50-year reign. From the romantic and tragic beginning, to the tumultuous and eventful present, the BBC along with reporter, author, and broadcaster William Shawcross show how Elizabeth II's strength of character, acute intelligence, and ingrained reticence have both shaped and been buffeted by a drastically changing world. The story that Shawcross tells focuses on the Queen's constancy through 50 years of extraordinary change. From the middle of the twentieth century to the beginning of the twenty-first, the Queen has watched the rise and fall of labour unions, the building and partial dismantling of the welfare state, and the progress by turns of socialism, conservatism, Labour, neo-conservatism, and New Labour. She has been counselor and sometimes friend to ten prime ministers of Britain and to dozens of Commonwealth leaders abroad. The small and mainly respectful band of reporters present when Elizabeth became queen have been replaced by an enormous cohort of technicians operating in a variety of media with a relentless and remorseless hunger, not so much for news as for scandal. But, while members of her family have been embarrassed or disgraced, her own rectitude has never been questioned. Queen Elizabeth's real achievement is that she has been true to the promise she made to her subjects in her Christmas broadcast in 1957.