A massive, entertaining, and thoroughly unsophisticated look at the life of a woman the author believes is likely to be one of Britain's last monarchs. From the time she became queen at 26 to the present, contends Davies (Death of a Tycoon, 1993), Elizabeth has had one mission: to uphold the monarchy and all its archaic standards and practices. As a result, she has been left at the helm of one of the world's most prominent dysfunctional families. Davies rounds up every last example of bad parenting, scandal, and infidelity he can find in the House of Windsor, but most veteran crown watchers will see few surprises here. Despite his best attempts to substantiate Elizabeth's ``extramarital romance'' with one of her courtiers, Davies mainly delivers speculation. The queen, in fact, emerges looking rather saintly compared to her unfaithful husband, Philip, and her wayward children. Elizabeth comes across as fairly ordinary (she eats toast and marmalade for breakfast, watches TV, loves her dogs) and often seems little more than a 68-year-old woman with a very demanding job. Despite her wealth and a household staff of more than 300, Davies's Elizabeth embodies the dilemmas of modern womanhood--balancing the responsibilities of work and family, public and private life. Davies concludes that her priorities have not served her or the nation well, that between its heyday in the 1980s (especially in 1981 with the marriage of Charles and Diana) and 1992 (``the year the fairy tale ended''), the monarchy sowed the seeds of its own destruction and now faces possible extinction. Despite a serious final chapter offering prescriptions for reforming the monarchy, the hallmarks of this lightweight biography are wealth, power, sex, scandal, happiness that never lasts, and unnamed sources.