Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Her Majesty, the Queen of England, is depressed. She reads biographies about the royal family and writes "not true" or "never happened" in the margins. To keep calm and fit as she grows older, she takes up yoga and even tries to learn the computer. But nothing can ease her sadness over her children's marriages breaking up, the death of Princess Diana, the fire at Windsor Castle and other woes. This is the set-up to William Kuhn's Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, an affecting, yet amusing, fictitious look at Queen Elizabeth II.

When the Prime Minister informs her the government can no longer subsidize the Royal Train--an outdated, expensive mode of transportation dedicated exclusively for official monarchy business--the 80-year-old Queen is delivered a final jolt. She walks away from Buckingham Palace, unattended, on a rainy day. Cloaked beneath a borrowed hoodie with a skull stenciled on the back, she sets off for King's Cross, London's busiest train station, en route to the royal yacht moored in Scotland. Along the way, she encounters an array of ethnically diverse commoners--some who mistake her for a homeless person, others for Helen Mirren.

Around the suspense and excitement of Her Majesty's mysterious disappearance, Kuhn works in engaging stories about the lives of those who work behind the scenes at the palace and know Queen Elizabeth best. The result is a clever, funny sendup mirroring contemporary British life while portraying the Queen as an emblem of "correctness... in a secular era." --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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