Obituary: Ben Pimlott
AS THE leading historian of the British Labour movement,Ben Pimlott's choice to write a biography about the Queen took everybody by surprise.
Even he was concerned about being mocked by earnest left- wingers. Yet the book, published in 1996,for the Queen's 70th birthday, was highly acclaimed and became his best-known work. He believed that a biographer should not just aim for ``accuracy'',but also ``understanding''.Unlike the avalanche of books about the Royal Family's glamour, pomp,personalities and scandals,Pimlott's biography examined the Queen's position and performance in the political process.
Pimlott, who has died from leukaemia,aged 58, had already scored great success with his biographies of the former Labour Prime Minister and Huyton MP Harold Wilson, in 1992, and Hugh Dalton (1985), Clement Atlee's post-war Labour Chancellor.
His biography of the Queen examined constitutional issues such as the Royal prerogative,her relationship with her Prime Ministers,and her role as head of the Commonwealth. The book's primary revelation was that the Queen had colluded with outgoing PM Harold Macmillan, top revent RA (''Rab'') Butler's succession as Prime Minister Pimlott claimed that the Queen,faced with Macmillan's determination not to allow Butler to succeed to the Premiership, took the line of least resistance,acting on Macmillan's recommendation that she should call on the Earl of Home. …