21 April 1926 - 8 September 2022
Those of us under the age of 70 have known no other Monarch. We have known no other images on our postage stamps, bank notes and coinage for most of those 70 years.
We have subconsciously known that there was a public persona as well as a completely different private persona, with the latter being one that only a selected few, outside of the family, close friends and staff, got to see. What was said and done ‘behind closed doors’ stayed there.
From Her sketch with Daniel Craig that preceded the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games to the most recent ‘Tea with Paddington’ during the Jubilee - both of which Her family knew nothing about until the sketches were actually broadcast, to the long list of ‘one liners’ that are slowly surfacing.
The now infamous meeting with the American tourists while she was out walking with an equerry on the Balmoral estate, and when asked if she had met the Queen, she replied ‘No but he has’ pointing to her equerry. In a more recent video clip when she appeared to be struggling to cut a large sponge cake with a sword/sabre, a voice off camera was heard to say ‘there is a knife’ to which the Queen replied ‘I know, but it’s more interesting doing it this way’
For 70 years she walked a fine line between the two personas. Her ‘duty’ was to maintain the ‘Mystique of the Monarchy’ but not become too remote. ‘I have to be seen to be believed’.
She had strong role models. Both Her parents and Grandparents were there for her through her early childhood and then later as Queen she continued to have the support and guidance of her mother for 50 years. We heard stories from ‘Her neighbours’ in Ballater, and the other villages surrounding the Balmoral estate, that Balmoral was a place where she could ‘hang Her crown on the gate post as she went through the gates’ and just be a wife, mother, grandmother and latterly great grandmother. Tales are also emerging from those invited to the regular ‘informal’ ‘picnics, all in a similar vein to that of Dickie Arbiter, a royal aide. After he‘d decided to start the washing up and on hearing footsteps behind him, expecting it to be the ‘lady in waiting’ he quipped, ‘I’ll wash, you dry’ But a very familiar voice replied ‘I’ll wash, YOU dry.’ Picking up a tea towel, he did as he was told.
On a ‘walk about’ in Windsor, Katherine, the new Princess of Wales revealed the words of her youngest son, Prince Louis. ‘'Mummy don't worry because she is now with great grandpa.’
Rest in Peace Your Late Majesty now that you are reunited with your ‘Strength and Stay’.