The late Queen Mother was always an enigma to me, she would appear regularly on balconies and platforms with her family, all dressed up like extras from “Oh what a lovely war” and then vanish again until the next state occasion, not a bad life though, three squares a day and a substantial roof over your head, if it’s good enough for the inmates of ‘Barlinnie’ and ‘The Scrubs’ then it’s certainly good enough for the Royal Matriarch. It was probably a wee bit more expensive to pay for her than an inmate of the ‘Bar L’ but, think of the life time’s service she gave, cutting ribbons, attending Ascot, waving at crowds etc. What made her such a mystery to me was that even now I can’t remember ever hearing her speak and being the inquisitive fellow that I am I have often thought about that and still do.
An old friend of mine who has sadly now passed on told me a story about her which was told to him by a friend and it dated from his time on National Service. He was stationed at some castle where the Queen Mum was in residence and in pleasant weather she would sit outside reading or having a ‘swallie’ with friends. Soldiers regularly passed by where she was seated and were obliged to salute as they passed. Some soldiers on seeing that she was sitting with her back to them or engrossed in a book would pass without saluting, not a great sin you would think but, unknown to them she had a strategically placed mirror which allowed her to note those who didn’t salute and they were duly dragged over the coals when she reported them, what jolly good fun eh? Another mystery about this gracious lady was her wealth or lack of it, I remember reading on her demise among all the sycophantic grovelling in the press that she had died £6M in debt! How in the “name of the wee man” did she manage that?
A recent news story however has perhaps discovered why she was so reticent, possibly she was muzzled, censored, made to button her lip as it were. The BBC presenter Edward Stourton, himself from a ‘silver spoon’ background has described her as “a ghastly old bigot” and guilty of harbouring the prejudices which have caused conflicts in Europe in the past.
In an interview with Stourton she described our close European Allies as “huns, wops & dagos” he went on to say, ”I thought that what she had said was nasty and ugly” Oh dear dear me, when I wrote about the royal family before and the prejudice which is part of their lives I was attacked for it, perhaps the Queen Mum is just an example of what a dissolute artificial life, with no grasp of reality can lead to.
I do know this, my own grandmother was part of my life for Approx. 30 years and I never once heard her use such language, I never once heard her disparage anyone because of their colour, race or creed, is it any wonder her royal family have turned out the way they have, despite the wealth and the fame I am glad that the Queen Mum was not my grandmother, the one I had was just fine.