17 Facts About Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

From the 1920s until her death in 2002, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had endeared herself to the public for her ready smile and chic fashion sense. She was the power behind the throne, a familiar figure that has kept the British Royal Family popular through the years. Let us celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II, forevermore Great Britain's eternally smiling queen.  

Her life spanned the reign of six monarchs. Born on August 4, 1900, when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, she lived through the reign of six monarchs (Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VII, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II).

She was born into the nobility. Her father was Claude Bowes-Lyon, then Lord Glamis, who succeeded as Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in 1904. Her mother, Cecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck, was the eldest daughter of Reverend Charles Cavendish-Bentinck, a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Portland.

A young Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon with her younger brother, David. 

Her birthplace is still disputed. There were those who believed that was born in her parents’ London home, while many also believe that she was born on a horse-drawn ambulance.

She was called “Imp” or “Merry Mischief” when she was a child. She was particularly close to his youngest brother, David, and their favorite pastime was “repelling raiders.” They would welcome guests at the family home, Glamis Castle, with cascades of cold water above them , tipped on the unknowing visitors by Elizabeth and David who claimed they were “manning” the towers to ward off invaders.

The official engagement photo of Albert, Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
She was a close friend to Mary, Princess Royal. Mary was the only sister of Elizabeth's future husband, Albert, Duke of York. Elizabeth. Elizabeth was one of Mary’s bridesmaids when she married Viscount Lascelles (later the Earl of Harewood).

She twice rejected the proposal of the future King George VI. Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V, proposed to her twice. He initially sought her hands for marriage in 1921, but she turned him down because she was "afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to." However, Albert made it clear that he would marry no other woman. Queen Mary paid a visit to Glamis to meet the girl who stole her son's heart. She was convinced that Elizabeth was "the one girl who could make Bertie happy."  Albert once again proposed a month after the wedding of the Princess Royal—she once again refused. She eventually agreed to marry Albert in January 1923, despite her hesitations about her soon-to-be-life as a royal bride.

The Duke and Duchess of York on their wedding day.

Elizabeth married into the royal family with no idea that she would one day become Queen.
She married Albert on April 26, 1923 at a magnificent ceremony in Westminster Abbey. She chose the Nottingham lace for her train to support the declining British lace industry. Their wedding was not broadcast because the Archbishop of Canterbury feared that “disrespectful men in pubs might listen with their hats on.” She was afterwards styled HRH the Duchess of York. 

She had an “unromantic” honeymoon. After their wedding, the couple proceeded to Polesden Lacey, the manor house in Surrey, and then to Glamis Castle, where the Duchess caught a cough. So much for an “unromantic” honeymoon.

The Duke and Duchess of York on a holiday with their two daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose.

She was the last royal mother to have the Home Secretary beside her when she gave birth. She gave birth to a healthy baby on April 21, 1926 (the future Queen Elizabeth II). The Home Secretary arrived for her (a custom at that time) to ensure that all heirs to the throne were actually the child of royal parents and not substitute.

Her second daughter, Margaret Rose, was the first royal baby to be born in Scotland for over 300 years. A huge bonfire was lit on a hill near the castle to celebrate the royal birth.


She was the greatest support King George VI ever had. When King Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, the woman he loved, Bertie was reluctant to accept the throne, but the Duchess of York rallied behind his support. “There wouldn’t be no Royal Family today if it hadn’t been for her,” a courtier noted.

She was the last Empress of India. In 1947, India gained its independence. 

King George V and Queen Elizabeth visiting war-torn areas in London.

Hitler called her the “most dangerous woman in Europe.” During World War II, when most Londoners evacuated the city, Queen Elizabeth and King George VI stayed in the capital to do their duty. Many survivors never forgot her kindness and bravery.  She visited bombed sites to boost the morale of the citizens, dressed on her best. ‘I’m almost comforted that we’ve been hit,” she said after the Mall was bombed. “At least, I feel I can look at the East End in the face.” In fact, Buckingham Palace was hit nine times during the Blitz.

She bought a Castle after King George VI died. In February 1952, King George VI died  of lung cancer and thenceforth, she was known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. She bought the Castle of Mey in the far north of Scotland to seek solitude—so far the only home she bought. She restored it stayed there every August.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother with her pet corgi on the grounds of the Castle of Mey.

She was affectionately called Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. After the accession of her daughter to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II, she was styled Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. And she was perhaps the most popular Queen Mother Great Britain ever had!

She was the first member of the British royal family to reach age 100. She celebrated her 100th birthday in 2000. A parade was held celebrating her life, her image was featured on a special commemorative £20 note issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, and she attended a lunch at the Guildhall, London, at which George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, accidentally attempted to drink her glass of wine. 

She died at the age of 101. She still performed official duties, albeit in a downsized capacity a few months before she died. Her death came on March 30, 2002, less than two months after her daughter, Princess Margaret, died on February 7, 2002, of a stroke.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother with Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and other members of the British Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during her 100th birthday celebrations. 



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