Given the choice of a lifestyle, Elizabeth would have decided upon being a horse woman – someone who breeds, races, and talks about them constantly. It is her one thing that she loves best and that absorbs much of her free time and attention. She knows more about horses than a great many people, and is most willing to open up to the idea of change when it somehow involves them (her visit to an American racing farm gives her lots of ideas about the future for their own stables). In other ways, she is modest, circumspect, fully present to the moment, and makes decisions based on past precedent and “duty.” She’s detached, trustworthy, and able to keep her head. Elizabeth is willing to go to great lengths to get what she wants, and use diplomatic channels and power plays to get it, through bartering and compromising. She worries that her education was insufficient for a leader, and hires a tutor to help her make up the difference. She pushes herself into exhaustion through a rigorous tour schedule, as part of a global tour, for political gain. Often, Cabinet members or Churchill can argue her into a new position using the facts, and rational approaches. More often than not, she puts aside “personal sentiment” for the good of “the crown.” When advising Margaret Thatcher, she says that it’s best not to create enemies right, front, and center, right away when you are in political office. She can also be stubborn in going after what she wants. Elizabeth wanted to marry Philip, when everyone else said no – and married Philip. She struggles mightily between her responsibilities as a monarch, and her strong belief that Margaret should have similar freedoms in her choice of a husband. She often asserts herself, but sometimes backs down when others argue precedent. Her torment about her marriage problems, Philip’s unhappiness, and the weight of the throne, remains a silent barrier with others. She can be frank, but doesn’t even hold her uncle’s insults against him (“You call me Shirley Temple… because of the curls?”). Once she does share her feelings, it’s without gushing, just a simple truth: “You’re the only one I’ve ever loved. Can you honestly say the same?” Though unhappy with some of the traditions that govern the crown, Elizabeth abides by them and expects other members of her household to do the same. She will push for a change and then step back when others seem too resistant toward it, or it seems too great a personal risk.

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Elizabeth has a reputation for her steady, unflappable nature; she even manages to remain calm when she discovers a man has broken into her room to “talk to her” and only has a mini meltdown after he has been escorted out in handcuffs. She has repressed herself and her opinions steadily for decades, to become an idealized sovereign of “no views” and expects the same of her children. Philip says she has a staggering inability to know herself, as evidenced by his total awareness of which child is her favorite and her utter bafflement in being able to figure it out for herself (she must conduct interviews with each to re-assess their natures). She is often kind and affable, wanting her sister and her children to have what they want and need from others, but also failing to assert herself. She cannot go against precedent and insist on having the secretary she wants, so she passively but unhappily allows them to appoint someone else. She tells someone that they must do something unpleasant for her, because “I am too soft.” She is also principled, moralistic, disapproving of bad behavior, and duty-driven—and at times, she will give her husband, her children, or her relatives a stout “telling off” for any number of infractions. But when she’s upset with Margaret Thatcher, in a true 9 indirect form, she goes behind her back and complains about it, rather than confronting her in person.