Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (AKA Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon) was beloved by many - a rock of consistency who helped the British Monarchy weather the many storms of the 20th century. Others criticized her as emblematic of the insular privilege and wasteful spending that have long characterized the royals in the eyes of some.
But of course, as with all historical personages, she was first and foremost a person, whose essential nature shone through in small gestures and mundane moments. The following anecdotes help to humanize the Queen Mother for those of us who never had the opportunity to meet her.
She Wore High Heels To The Bitter End
Actor Barbara Windsor admired the Queen Mother's determination to confront life in heels, come what may:
I love the fact that, like myself, she's in those high heels until the bitter end. She's had hip operations but she still wears her high heels. It's wonderful and it makes me laugh!44550Memorable detail?
She Would Have Liked To See A Baseball Game At Toronto’s SkyDome (Rogers Centre)
The CBC recounts a surprise request from the Queen Mother during a 1989 visit to Canada:
During her visit to Canada in July 1989, the Queen Mum, 88, had a surprise request for her hosts: She wanted to see the newly opened SkyDome (now called Rogers Centre).
'The royal motorcade wheeled right inside the stadium,' the CBC's Sheldon Turcott told viewers on The National. 'She stepped out of her limousine, looked around for a few minutes and then described the stadium as a wonderful place.'
According to a Toronto Star report, the Queen Mother said: 'Someday I would like to come back and watch a baseball game.'43854Memorable detail?
There Was A Secret Closet She Didn’t Want People To Look Inside
In his memoir, the Queen Mother's former equerry Colin Burgess recounted this anecdote:
The only time she was ever really testy with me in terms of overstepping the boundary was when we were at Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Some guests arrived and I decided to put their coats in a nearby closet. Suddenly, I heard a stern voice say, ‘Oh, no, don’t go in there. It’s a very secret place.’
I turned round and there was the Queen Mother smiling, but behind the smile was this narrow-eyed determination that I should do as she said and obviously I did.51777Memorable detail?
She Suggested Gin To Fight Off The Cold
As recounted in the Daily Beast, the Queen Mother had some helpful advice for model Romy Adlington, who was dating Prince Edward at the time:
[Prince Edward] did date a model named Romy Adlington in the 1980s, who, according to Ingrid Seward, was given an adjoining room to Prince Edward at Balmoral. During her visit to Scotland, Romy joined a shooting party. 'I was so cold,' she said, 'I was blue in the face. The Queen Mother came over to me and offered me a large slug of sloe gin: "This will warm you up from the inside."'38847Memorable detail?