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Topic: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (nee Bowes Lyon)  (Read 130114 times)
Reply #165
« on: August 09, 2006, 12:48:53 PM »
bell_the_cat Offline
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Yes, I've been reading extracts in a Sunday newspaper. It was very entertaining and very believable. Like me ( Embarrassed), she enjoyed embarassing guests, by playing yodelling music!

There was also a funny anecdote about how she used to always try to top his glass up at lunchtime. When he protested, saying he had to drive that afternoon, she asked what the problem was. So he had to explain that he might get stopped by the police and have his breath tested. To which the QM replied: "don't worry, just tell them you work for me!".

The QM was astounded once on a royal visit when she was shown how a pedestrian crossing works. "Fancy that, you just press a button and all the cars stop!"  Cheesy
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Reply #166
« on: August 09, 2006, 04:23:02 PM »
Prince_Lieven Offline
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Yes, and the 'tell them you work for me' thing worked!  Shocked Grin For anyone who hasn't read them, I don't mind copying them out.  Wink
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Reply #167
« on: August 10, 2006, 10:12:56 AM »
Kimberly Offline
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Please do Liam, I for one would love to read them Kiss
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Reply #168
« on: August 10, 2006, 10:42:36 AM »
Prince_Lieven Offline
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Your wish is my command.  Wink This appeared in 'the Sunday Times'.

The summer of 1995 had been glorious. The Queen Mother was enjoying lunch in the garden of Clarence House with her 'home team': her elderly treasurer Sir Ralph Anstruther, her private secretary Sir Alastair Aird, her senior lady-in-waiting Dame Frances Campbell-Preston and me - the people she relied on day in and day out to get things done and to make her life as comfortable as possible.

We had finished the main part of the meal, which consisted of an egg starter followed by chicken and potatoes - mashed potatoes because they were the Queen Mum's favourite. The win, a full bodied claret that wasn't really conducive to a hot summer's day, had been passed around and a few bottles drunk, and conversation dipped in and out of such diverse subjects as the second world war and the latest episode of Eastenders.

About five minutes after we had finished our main course I saw Sir Ralph nodding off. No sooner had he started snoring than the Queen Mother closed her eyes and was asleep, her head slumped forward. This was a first for me. I turned Alastair to ask his advice, because I really didn't know what to do. What is the correct procedure for waking up a member of royalty who has nodded off during a meal? But Sir Alastair, too, had fallen asleep. The next thing I heard was a gentle thud on the dining table as Dame Frances's head hit it and she had gone as well.

I sat there for 5 minutes, which became 10, and all the while I was thinking, someone is going to wake up any minute, but they didn't. All in all, I sat for a full 35 minutes not knowing what the hell to do. The whole situation was bonkers. I was banking on a waiter to appear to clear the plates. But he wouldn't appear until the Queen Mother rang the bell.

Eventually I got to a point where I felt I would just be spending the rest of the day just sitting there. So I thought, d*mn it, and I rang the bell - a major breach of protocol. And blimey, as soon as it rang, they all sat up and just carried on from where they had left off, Ralph exclaiming "And of course, the Italians simply gave in once the Germans had gone."


More to come!  Wink
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"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."
Reply #169
« on: August 10, 2006, 10:46:06 AM »
Kimberly Offline
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 Grin Grin Grin I am warming to her. Yum, mashed potatoes.
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Reply #170
« on: August 10, 2006, 10:59:27 AM »
Prince_Lieven Offline
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I was about to leave the army in 1994 at the age of 26, after three years in the Irish Guards, when I was asked if I would be interested in being the Queen Mother's equerry. I wondered why the hell anyone would want me to look after her. I didn't come from a wealthy background; surely the job would go to someone of a much higher social standing than I. Previous equerries had included Earl Spencer, Princess Diana's father, and Captain Peter Townsend, who'd almost ended up marrying Princess Margaret.

But I discovered that there was absolutely no stuffiness about the Queen Mother. it came from the people around her. Other members of the upper classes, what I would term the junior upper classes, are the model of stuffiness.

It was interesting to watch the Queen interacting with the Queen Mother. They would sometimes be in hoots over something or other. When they were together, they often fed biscuits shaped like little Hovis loaves to the dogs. If guests were present, they would be given a couple of biscuits to feed to the dogs. But many guests fell afoul of this.

The Queen or Queen Mother would give a few biscuits to the guests, who would sit with them on their plate after lunch or dinner, and you could see them looking around at the other guests, wondering what the biscuits were for, before picking them up to eat.

Suddenly the Queen or Queen Mother would shout 'No, no, no, they're for the dogs!' Nearly every guest made this mistake. The Queen or Queen Mother could have prevented it but their naughty streak often got the better of them.
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"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."
Reply #171
« on: August 10, 2006, 11:18:39 AM »
Prince_Lieven Offline
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Ah, the Germans. The Queen Mum was quite fond on being un-PC and didn't like the notion of political correctness, thinking it nonsense. She would say things to me such as: "It's not politically correct to look down on our European neighbours, is it? But I still find the Germans beastly."

Her favourite television programme by a mile was Fawlty Towers. I'm not joking when I saw she must have watched it 30 times in the two years I was there and she always found it funny. Her favourite bit was the one with the Germans and the whole "don't mention World War II' thing. She was always saying "don't mention the war".

One of Prince Charles's part pieces, which he still does to this day, so I'm told, came about when a visit by the Queen Mother had been planned to a German town in the 1970s. The Germans had invited her to stay with a local dignitary, and they had sent over an itinerary for the trip, as was usual for most visits and tours.

Because they wanted to do things properly and show how efficient they could be, the agenda, lined up for a full five days she was there, had been planned down to the last minute. They had wirtten that breakfast would be served at such and such a time and finished by X time and than at Y time they would do this and finish at Z time.

Of course it was typical German efficiency, but it was so detailed and so planned that Charles kept the itinerary and from time to time got it out in Birkhall, the Queen Mother's house in Scotland, and in a ridiculous comic German accent he would say "Unt at svive of ze clock, ve vill be going parascending unt ze lady-in-waiting vill be going schuba divink. You vill then go to zee glass factory unt ze lady-in-waiting vill have ze chance to blow ze glass bubbles."

He would rip through this while I was having pre dinner drinks with the guests. The only thing he didn't do was start goose-stepping.

The Queen Mother thought the Japanese were even worse than the Germans and would say: "They really were dreadful, dreadful. The indignities those poor men suffered at their hands." She never forgot, and never allowed anyone in her presence to forget.
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"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."
Reply #172
« on: August 11, 2006, 02:21:50 AM »
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"They really were dreadful, dreadful. The indignities those poor men suffered at their hands." She never forgot, and never allowed anyone in her presence to forget.

*sigh* So true, all very sad.

Thank you for typing that all out Prince, I really enjoyed reading it Smiley
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Reply #173
« on: August 11, 2006, 03:01:30 AM »
Grand Duchess Kimbo Offline
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Quote
The Queen Mother thought the Japanese were even worse than the Germans and would say: "They really were dreadful, dreadful. The indignities those poor men suffered at their hands." She never forgot, and never allowed anyone in her presence to forget.


She got that right. I shudder when I think of what the Australians suffered at Kokoda..

Thanks, BTW, for typing that out! Kiss
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Reply #174
« on: August 11, 2006, 08:16:56 AM »
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No problem guys, glad you enjoyed it.

I very rarely saw the Queen and Prince Philipe together when I was at Clarence House, perhaps just a couple of times during my two years in the job. If anything, the Queen seemed to be closer to her dogs than to Philip. She certainly spent more time with them. She had 14 corgis and the Queen Mother had four.

One of the highlights of their day in Scotland was feeding the dogs sausages. Every single day, just before lunch and dinner, the dogs would gather round their feet and the sausages would come out. And throughout the day they were fed tidbits so they got quite fat and snappy with it too, snappier than a crocodile handbag. You could stroke them, but if they were in a bad mood you learnt to avoid them. I saw them really got for some people. They would bite their ankles and things like that.

The corgis were rather like the Queen in that they seemed to carry with them this touch of formality, if dogs can have such a thing. This was echoed in the Queen's demeanor. She was the Queen and she was never really off duty. Instead, she had to adhere to a clearly defined role that carried with it certain standards of behaviour and attitude.

Princess Margaret, on the other hand, was more feisty and opinionated and generally a bit more noisy that her older sister. She was certainly more personable and also flirtatious. But her mood could turn on a sixpence. One minute she would be all smiles and the next she would be crothety and snappy. People were very aware of this and trod carefully around her. She could even be snappy with both the Queen and the Queen Mother, and it didn't take much for them to expose her short temper.

Margaret often eschewed protocol to get her own way. I remember her saying to me one morning, "Ah, Colin, what are you doing this morning?"

"Well, nothing really," I replied.

"Great, well, grab your swimming trunks. Come on, lets go for a swim and then we'll come back and have lunch."

I was a bit taken aback by this and wondered what the protocol dictated about how you were supposed to swim with a female member of the royal family. But this was Margaret, a woman who had led quite a hedonisitic lifestyle and came across as someone who had lived a bit, so I thought what the hell, I'll go with the flow. So we loaded up a Range Rover and went to one of her friend's houses that had an outdoor pool.

I was in the pool when she appeared in this rather old fashioned one piece swimming outfit and I spent the rest of the morning very comfortably. I tried to swim in such a way that I was always on the opposite side of the pool to her. I just didn't want to get too close. It seemed a tad too close and a bit too informal for my comfort.
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"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."
Reply #175
« on: August 11, 2006, 10:22:26 AM »
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While I enjoy reading these tidbits (thanks, Prince!) I find some of them a little hard to believe.  They seem to be formulated to perpetuate the 'sweet old lovable gran' image that QEQM has enjoyed for many years.  A little bit of 'legacy upkeep' if you will...
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Reply #176
« on: August 11, 2006, 11:06:33 AM »
Prince_Lieven Offline
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I see your point EE, though I don't think every word's a lie - perhaps he feels obligated to keep up her image out of loyalty. Then again, it could all be true - I mean, maybe she was just a sweet old lady. I don't think it's that hard to believe.  Wink
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"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."
Reply #177
« on: August 11, 2006, 11:17:53 AM »
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I enjoyed the extracts...a nice light-hearted piece.  However, his appointment as equerry was for only two years, so not exactly an overview of her whole life.
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Reply #178
« on: August 11, 2006, 11:34:33 AM »
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The interaction between the Queen and Princess Margaret was quite fascinating. Margaret would curtsey and so on, but this was out of respect for the crown, not because it was her sister.

They were very natural with each other and very, very relaxed in each other's company; they acted as all sisters did. They were there for each other, they confided in each other and whenever they were together it was as though I wasn't working for the royal family anymore, but just an ordinary family, albeit with all the trappings of wealth. They would chat away with each other and be very much in family mode.

The Queen, like her mother, was a stickler for etiquette and tradition but also had this slightly wicked side. In contrast Margaret was a bit of a wildcard and had a bit of a short temper, like Prince Andrew.

The difference between them can perhaps be summed up in a royal get together at Sandringham over Christmas. The family was having dinner and during the meal Princess Margaret leant over to get something and her hair moved in the way of a candle. Almost without it being noticed, her hair began smouldering and before long caught the Queen's attention.

It took only about 10 seconds for the back of the Queen's sister's head to start blazing away and Margaret knew nothing about it.

The Queen, in slight amusement, turned and said "Oh look, Margo's on fire!"

A quick thinking member of staff patted it out with his hands while Margaret looked at him in horror, as if to say "what the hell do you think you're doing, do you know who I am?" It was only when it was pointed out to her what had actually happened that her face turned to shock and genuine concern for herself.

The Queen's reaction to her sister's catching fire was typical. When people have accidents, when they fall over or trip up, it's sometimes veyr hard to stop yourself from laughing, even if they have hurt themselves, and the Queen was very much the laughing sort. She saw humour in potential tragedy. She is extremley bright and very funny.
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"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."
Reply #179
« on: August 11, 2006, 01:16:49 PM »
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I see your point EE, though I don't think every word's a lie - perhaps he feels obligated to keep up her image out of loyalty. Then again, it could all be true - I mean, maybe she was just a sweet old lady. I don't think it's that hard to believe.  Wink

I'm not saying that it's all a bunch of lies, I'm sure there are kernels of truth in the anecdotes, however, I have the feeling that some of the stories are as embroidered as a Norman Hartnell crinoline!   Grin Cheesy Grin Cheesy Grin
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