An Uncertain Royal Path

Three Windsor women—two dutiful, one wild—and the future of the monarchy

Virtually all Canadians have known no other monarch than Queen Elizabeth II. Yet when the young, glamorous royal came to the throne in 1952, it seemed

a fusty relic in a world clamouring for change, especially the colonies of the once–invincible British Empire. Today, the House of Windsor is the epitome of a solid, successful monarchy, with three generations of heirs in line for the throne.

The modern royal family has largely been moulded into its current shape by its women, and they are the focus of three recent illuminating quasi-biographies. Individually they offer unique insights into the powers, privileges, and limitations of being royal. Together, they help explain how and why the royal family has not only survived but thrived through some trying, troubling times.

But nothing is forever and, as Elizabeth’s reign nears its end, Canadians have as much reason as anyone to wonder...