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Royal Biographies

The Queen Mother

by David Johnson

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Possibly the most popular member of the royal family, the Queen Mother, who is Queen Elizabeth's mother, was known for her good health, her energy, and the seriousness with which she took her responsibilities. She died in her sleep on March 30, 2002. She was 101. Although she turned 100 years old on August 4, 2000, she continued to carry out official duties. In 1997, for instance, she attended 58 official engagements.

Born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother was descended from the Scottish royal family. In January 1923 she married an old childhood playmate, the Duke of York, son of King George V. They had two daughters, Elizabeth, the present queen, and Margaret, who died Feb. 9, 2002, at age 71.

In 1936 King George V died and his eldest son became King Edward VIII. However, when he abdicated later that year, the Duke and Duchess of York became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Popular Monarchs

The new monarchs were extremely popular, especially during World War II. Even during the darkest days of the Blitz, the Queen remained in London, enduring hardships and dangers like the rest of the population. Buckingham Palace was bombed in 1940, although no one was hurt. She is reported to have said, "I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End {scene of serious damage} in the face."

King George VI died in 1952 and Princess Elizabeth, the present queen, ascended the throne. The Queen Mother maintained an active life, making more than 40 official visits abroad and serving as patron to some 350 organizations.

Avid Horseracing Fan

She lived in Clarence House, a royal London mansion, and loved visiting her vacation home, the Castle of Mey, in the extreme north-east of Scotland several times each year.

Officially known as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, she was also an avid sportswoman. She loved to fish and was an enthusiastic horseracing fan. She was also reputed to have had a keen sense of humor. In reference to the large numbers of homosexuals on the royal staff, the Queen Mother reputed once to have called to the kitchen, "When you old queens are done gossiping, this old queen would like a drink."





Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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