Remembering Queen Elizabeth II

A tapestry I made as a child, found as I dug out my royal memories.

“Monday, Lord Chamberlain’s address in BP. This was fabulous. Walking in the main gate + across the central square, the state apartments. Then listening to Start as part of the main address. Then the reception. The state apartments are so sumptuous. We were about to move rooms & then saw them coming towards us. We quickly realised we’d get Prince Philip which was cool in its own right. He asked us all one by one where we were for Christmas with no real interest in the answer. But he does look younger in person than he does on film for his 89 years. + then one of her majesty’s aides lined us up + we were introduced to the Queen! She was lovely (although more interested in royal collection marble than PoW ‘Start.’ So grandma like + gracious. Although her hands were less glam than expected. She spoke about dodgy marble + I said how lovely. I went home singing + told stories”.

Verbatim from my diary, written on 16 December 2011 about the day I became the only person in my family to meet the Queen in person and perhaps the only one to have met a reigning monarch. (Sisters-in-law excluded).

Here follow’s a swift roundup of our family’s love of & connection to the Queen in memory of a beloved monarch. May she rest in peace.

Scarf from Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Belonging to either Nana or her mother, Marian Moody. Now proudly owned by my Mum.

Nana (Mary Booth) was an ardent Queenie fan. So much so that when her only daughter, my mother, was born in 1952 there was only one name she could call her, Elizabeth. Aunty Christine (Dad’s elder sister) was equally as devoted. Although we no longer have the scrapbooks that both faithfully collected, they passed on their love of the Queen to us, their family.

Mum and Uncle Richard were born more than ten years after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI yet she still has these momentoes scratched with the initials RB & AB to ensure they knew who’s was who’s

Farnley Hall held an estate wide celebration for the Silver Jubilee in 1977. My sister & I were presented with gifts. Mum had to win hers….

Next up was the Royal Wedding of The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer on the 29 July 1981. By then I had started school.

We now take a 30 year interlude. Yes, we were excited about the birth of Prince Harry and the marriage of HRH The Prince Andrew & Miss Sarah Ferguson (how little did we know) and there was the frequently told story of how Mum cut the head of HRH The Princess Anne (in a photo of her presenting the 1st prize trophy in the NFYFC fashion competition to my sister, Helen), but the Royals did somewhat pass us by while we were growing up.

Until, on 15 February 2011, I started work in Clarence House as the project manager for Start, an initiative of HRH Prince of Wales charities.

It was here I really realised the pulling power of the palace. I have particular memories of sitting next to Sir Stuart Rose, talking about Yorkshire, hours after I had heard him on Radio 4 talking of his resignation as Executive Chairman of Marks & Spencer.

It was this role that led to the most remarkable series of Christmas parties. Clarence House, carols at The Queen’s Chapel and Buckingham Palace and the reflections with which I started this blog.

Unfortunately, I’d left just too soon to secure any sort of special access or insight into William & Kate’s wedding the following year. Already anxious that May Day Bank Holiday Monday was being moved to the Friday (it being my day of remembrance for Paul) I am not quite sure why I thought I could attend a celebration party where people were encouraged to where wedding dress for free entry. I pleaded widowhood and then later in the day changed my mind, cycling down to join the celebrations in Green Park.

Picked up in Green Park at a party I was initially reluctant to join.

Just as the Queen failed to head my edict that she had to live long enough to become the longest reigning monarch (damn Louis XVI for succeeding to the throne when he was four years old and ensuring the French will forever retain this title) Grandpy & Grandma both failed in my request that they live to 100 to receive their birthday card from the Queen. Fortunately Aunty Muriel (Grandma’s oldest sister) took up the mantle.

Aunty Muriel’s card from the Queen, October 2016

In a final ode to the Queen, Sharon & I decided to bid for a chance to join The Patron’s Lunch on The Mall to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. Sharon is, I think, the staunchest Queenie fan in our generation and torrential rain was not about to spoil the most wonderful day.

In these next few hours, days and weeks many will remember the Queen. This is our story. Rest in peace Queenie. You have our family’s love.

(By strange coincidence, the last blog I wrote set out our purported relationship to King John. He “may” be our 25th great grandfather which makes Queenie our “cousin.” So be nice, we just lost a family member…..

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