Book Review: Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William KuhnThis is  a book about the Queen of England going for a walk and disappearing from view. I don’t often like stories about existing people because it’s hard to know fact from fiction. In this case, I didn’t mind, I just took it all to be fiction.

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train: What it is about

From the publisher’s website: “After decades of service and years of watching her family’s troubles splashed across the tabloids, Britain’s Queen is beginning to feel her age. She needs some proper cheering up. An unexpected opportunity offers her relief: an impromptu visit to a place that holds happy memories—the former royal yacht, Britannia, now moored near Edinburgh.

Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace into the freedom of a rainy London day and heads for King’s Cross to catch a train to Scotland. But a characterful cast of royal attendants has discovered her missing. In uneasy alliance a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that supplies Her Majesty’s cheese set out to find her and bring her back before her absence becomes a national scandal.”

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train: What I thought

The book is told not only from the Queen’s perspective but also from that of some of her attendants. When they discover that she has maybe taken the train to Scotland, they follow suit in pairs. What follows is a story about modern England, about old values, becoming friends, homosexuality, war trauma’s and a lost son.

The plot is a bit on the light side and the fun of this book comes from the way it is written and from the way the characters relate to each other. A butler and an equerry partially come out of the closet that they never knew they were in. A lady in waiting and a dresser who loathed each other for years travel together and become friends. The Queen herself learns to talk to common people and about the price of a train ticket to the North.

It was a pleasure to read this book. Recommended to anyone who likes a well-written, but light and gentle read.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Number of pages: 304

First published: 2012 (Harper)

I got this book: for review from the publishers (ARC)

Genre: contemporary fiction


Have you read this book?

Did you enjoy it?

About Judith
I'm owner and editor at and We edit books and articles for independent writers.

18 Responses to Book Review: Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

  1. Looks like a fun read, Judith, but not one for me, I think.

  2. bibliosue says:

    I like the sound of this one and will add it to my list. Have you read The Tower,the Zoo and the Tortoise? It has a similar tone to this one, I think.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I think you’ll enjoy it, Suzanne. I don’t know anything about *The Tower,the Zoo and the Tortoise*, although I’ve heard of the title. I’ll check it out, thanks.

  3. Ooh, this sounds fun. Though it’s light, I honestly cannot imagine being pent up the way she has most of her life. I would ache for a walk in the park, myself, under such circumstances. Thanks!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jenn, I wondered about that and I’m not sure. Maybe if you’re surrounded by (security) people all the time, you’d be scared to go out by yourself. Like someone in an institution who is released and misses the safety and predictability of the place.

  4. William Kuhn says:

    Thank you for the very kind and accurate review of my book. As a nineteenth-century private secretary to Queen Victoria used to say (when he wanted to make fun of overly elaborate royal compliments), “I’m grattered and flattified.”

  5. This does sound like such a whimsical little delight–definitely something to pick up when on the hunt for a bit of light reading!

  6. susanbright says:

    I have not read Mrs Queen Takes The Train, however I have read The Uncommon Reader, another fun, witty novel, or in this case Novelette about The Queen of England.

  7. Chinoiseries says:

    I’m glad to find that you enjoyed this book, Judith, I think I’ll add it to my tbr 🙂

  8. I think this sounds really fun! It sounds like a good weekend read.

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