The Royal Family
The Queen Mum Turns 100!
Britain honors the country's most beloved royal
by David Johnson
When Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born 100 years ago, the mighty British Empire was in full swing, the indomitable Queen Victoria still at its head. The pound sterling was the leading international currency, and London was the world's largest and most powerful city.
After 16 years as queen herself, and since 1952 as mother of the present monarch, the Queen Mother is one of the more popular members of the royal family.
England went all out to celebrate the Queen Mother's 100th birthday August 4, 2000.
Military Planes, Shower of Rose Petals
On July 19, the Queen Mother was honored with an hour-long parade featuring 7,000 troops from various military regiments, a military airplane salute, marching bands, farm animals, choirs, racehorses, camels, dancers, and floats.
More than 20,000 people watched the parade in central London. A huge cheer went up when the Queen Mother arrived at the festivities in a carriage accompanied by her grandson, Prince Charles.
Many of the charities supported by the Queen Mother participated, many in costume representing different periods of the century. Colorful punk rockers, jitterbugging flappers, uniformed personnel, and even two of the Queen Mother's beloved corgis marched in the parade.
A choir of 25 children from the Royal School for Deaf Children "sang" in sign language. Thirty other children arrived in the form a 25-foot high human birthday cake. They then handed out real cakes to spectators.
As thousands sang Happy Birthday, the Queen Mother was showered with one million rose petals, and given a huge card signed by 8,000 parade participants.
Other Birthday Treats
Another birthday gift for the Queen Mother included the chance she may receive her own honors list, dispensing honors to those she wished to recognize. Normally, only the Queen awards honors on New Year's Day and on her official birthday.
Honorees included Major Michael Parker and Major General Evelyn Webb-Carter, Knight Commanders of the prestigious Royal Victorian Order; Miss Fiona Fletcher, Ian Gill, and Captain Ashe Windham, Commanders of the Victorian Order; Colonel William Toby Browne, Lieutenant of the Victorian Order; Warrant Officer Alan Mason and Captain William de Rouet, Members of the Victorian Order; and Emma Bagwell Purefoy, given a Royal Victorian Medal.
Other birthday events included a helicopter trip to Dover, where she received the well wishes from the people of the town, and a service at St. Paul's Cathedral, attended by four generations of the royal family.
In June, 2000, a bust of the Queen Mother was unveiled at St. Paul's Cathedral, where it will remain on permanent display. Princess Anne unveiled the bust, telling the audience it was a chance to repay her grandmother for all her past love and support. The choir then presented a 15-minute recital.
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