NATIONAL treasure Joanna Lumley returns to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose next month to discuss her new book, ‘A Queen for All Seasons’.

No British monarch has worn the crown as long as Queen Elizabeth II.

And this book traces events from 1952 to the present day.

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The appearance of Lumley, who was made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours List, was always likely to attract a large audience.

And, sure enough, the show was sold out within days.

But Joanna was still kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to tell us about her book.

She said: “I honestly can’t wait to come back to the Borders. I’ve been there before and loved the wonderful houses at Bowhill and Abbotsford.

“The Queen seems to have reigned since time began, but I must be one of the few people left who can remember her being crowned. I was six years old and living in Kuala Lumpur when King George died and seven when she was crowned. I still remember feeling a sense of awe.

“And these memories later made me want to study her life through other people’s recollections such as Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Khrushchev, as well as the people who wave the flags in the Mall and the staff who set her table. It was fascinating researching the book which is not chronological but rather set in themes and it’s a book you can dip into.

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“I wanted to collect the memories like a bunch of flowers from the garden, some large, some small and put them into a bouquet and present them to her majesty for the world that loves her.

“I hoped to dedicate that book to her, but her private secretary Sir Edward Young politely informed me that she had taken the decision years ago not to have any books dedicated to her. So, I asked if I could send a copy and he replied saying that he would make sure it was presented to her.

"Giles Bradreth once told me that neither the Queen or Prince Philip ever read books about themselves, but hopefully she will because it’s not opinionated.”

Lumley told us she first met the Queen at a Royal Academy of Art event in the 1990s.

She added: "There is a picture of me, Penelope Keith and Darcey Bussell with her and if you look at our eyes you can see how alert we all are, but I can’t remember what she said to us.

"She also presented me with my OBE, which I didn’t think I deserved. It was thrilling but also terrifying. I was so worried about what to wear as I wanted to look smart but again, I can’t remember what she said to me although I remember being tongue tied.”

Although this show is sold out, there are still many other entertaining events to choose from.

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Keeping with the Queen theme, two other shows are available to attend:

Anna Keay discusses The Restless Republic

In the weeks following the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it is worth reflecting that history might have turned in a different direction. In 1649 Britain was engulfed by revolution. On a raw January

afternoon Charles I was executed for treason. The people, it was announced, were to be the sovereign force in the land. What this meant and where it would lead, no one knew. The Restless Republic: Britain without a Crown is the story of the extraordinary decade that followed the king’s execution as it ranges from London to Leith, Cornwall to Connaught, from the corridors of power to the common fields and hillsides. ‘A dazzling achievement’, said The Sunday Times.

Thursday 16th June, 4.30pm (Tickets £11. £9)

And Tracy Borman talks about the Crown & Sceptre

Crown & Sceptre tells the story of a thousand years of kings and queens in Britain and it could not be more appropriate. In the wake of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, this brilliant history of our monarchy, one of the most enduring institutions in the world, reminds us how important and precious it has been. Britain’s kings and queens have survived the storms of rebellion, revolution and war that swept away other European dynasties because successive generations have been remarkably responsive to change. Tom

Thursday 16th June, 6.15pm (Tickets: £13, £11)

Tickets are available at or by calling 0131 290 2112.