Story Of London

England’s Queen Mother: Introduction to the Series

England’s Queen Mother: Introduction to the Series
by Elisabeth Emmick

The recent death of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother brought Royal pomp and ceremony to London, the like of which had not been seen since the death of her husband King George VI in 1952. Hundreds of thousands queued in a cold wind and through the night to file past her coffin. A million flower-throwing people lined the route from London to Windsor the see it on its final journey. These extraordinary eleven days have underscored the position of the Monarchy in 21st century Britain in a way which no-one expected. There is not only a sense of an historical era passing but also of history in the making and the shaping of the future shape of Britain’s monarchy. This major series of articles examines the life and ancestry of the Queen Mother.

England’s Queen Mother: Introduction to the Series

by Elizabeth Emmick

Elizabeth, the Queen Mother died peacefully in her sleep at Windsor at 15:14, Saturday March 30th, Easter Saturday2002. She was 101 years old. The Queen, her daughter, was at her bedside for the last hours. Her life spanned a grand epoch in England’s History. She was the living face of Britain throughout the twentieth century and especially in its darkest hours.

The Queen Mother, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, was born into a Landed Scottish family on August 4th 1900. She was born in Hertfordshire but taken to the family seat, Glamis Castle, near Dundee in Scotland for her christening. Four years later, her father inherited the family title and became the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Glamis then became her principal home. The family traces its roots back to the House of Atholl. One of her earliest forebears was Malcolm Cannmore (1031-1093). He was a child when his father, Duncan, was murdered by Macbeth in 1040. Malcolm, slew Macbeth in 1057 and became King of Scotland. Her line descends through his fifth son, David I, who reigned as King of Scotland between 1124 and 1153. Thus, her genealogy spans the entire last Millennium just as her life spanned the entire last century of it.

The arrangements for her funeral had been in place for years and she herself had a large input. After the death of the former Princess of Wales and the almost hysterical reaction to it, it was generally accepted that the Monarchy was in terminal decline. The various authorities therefore planned for and expected a relatively low-key response from the public. Put simply, they were not ready for what happened. Not only was the short processional half mile crammed with a half million people, thousands of whom were quite unable to see the procession, but the numbers who queued to pay their respects in Westminster Hall on Friday afternoon overwhelmed the official arrangements. They had reckoned without the people. The media both printed and, most especially, broadcast had persuaded the Palace and everyone else that this was going to be a low-key affair in no way comparable to the great outpouring of media-whipped grief at Diana’s funeral. The decent, respectful people and downright ordinary people of quiet Britain proved them wrong, quite wrong. This major series will provide eye-witness accounts of the lying in state and the funeral as well as exploring the ancestry and life of the Queen Mother who was so much a part of London in the 20th century. The articles already published in the series are listed below. There are links in each to allow you to navigate through the series either by sequential scrolling or by “hopping” to individual articles.

The funeral arrangementsHer Ancestral TreeHer Celtic AncestryHer Bruce AncestryThe Grand Ceremonial ProcessionThe Lying in State