Endearments peppered with gossip. Morrow, Court correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph and author of a similar, less burbly homage to Queen Elizabeth (The Queen, 1983), does convey why the 83-year-old Queen Mother--or ""Queen Mum""--is ""the most loved person in Britain today."" ""Under the charm there is much strength and self-control."" ""Her style is royal but quite informal."" She has endearing quirks--a preference for tardiness over haste, for the ""company of men"" over that of women--and quaint foibles: ""Rather right-wing, she has great sympathy for poor Ian Smith in that dear place she will always think of as Rhodesia."" But the life of pretty, sparkling, Scottish-sensible Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon--imparted smoothly if discontinuously and inconsecutively amid displays of her personality--has not been without its difficulties: she has never forgiven the Duchess of Windsor for ""stealing Edward VlII's heart,"" catapulting her husband on the throne, and (as she sees it) causing his early death. She was ""sympathetic but helpless"" through Princess Margaret's doomed romance with Peter Townsend, and pained by Margaret's rages during her marital breakup. (""Even with all the traumas she found more in common with Tony Armstrong-Jones' artistic diffidence than with Prince Philip's gritty no-nonsense personality."" Later, though: ""The Queen Mother never ceases to be thankful for Prince Philip as a son-in-law."") American readers will find much of this trivial and cloying, even faintly distasteful: after a late night, the Queen Mother's servants ""can have a lie-in the next morning. That usually means 7:30 A.M. and not a minute later."" But it does have royal-souvenir authenticity.