It is a sad fact that most ‘self-help’ books end up helping no one, other than the people who wrote them, who pay off all their debts and move to California. Mary Killen’s How The Queen Can You Make You Happy (Elliott & Thompson, £8.99) could be the exception. For Mary has noticed that, at the age of 86, the Queen appears to be healthy, happy and fulfilled, and wonders whether her long life of service might not be the secret.
In this brief volume, she suggests, with almost regal modesty, that restraint, dignity and good grace can bring us all a vestige of inner peace. Forgiveness can help too. ‘A central tenet of Christianity is forgiveness and, if the Queen can forgive even Fergie, then we must all take our lead from her.’
One reason for the Queen’s enduring popularity is that she retains her mystique. ‘Less is not only the new more, it is the old more. It is the eternal more.’
I would wager that there’s more good sense crammed into these few pages than in the entire oeuvre of Alain de Botton. ‘If you want to be happy for a day, go fishing; if you want to be happy for a week, go on holiday; and, if you want to be happy for life, serve others.’
If you want to be happy for an afternoon, read this book. Did I mention it’s also screamingly funny? But of course it is: it’s written by Mary Killen.