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  #601  
Old 10-24-2017, 04:14 PM
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Elizabeth wasn't always plump, had a beautiful complexion and very blue eyes. Wallis was no beauty herself. Huge jaw, unsightly mole, gigantic hands.

Becoming Queen was the last thing the Queen Mother wanted. I'll have to look up the details but on the weekend following the Abdication the former Duke and Duchess of York were at a shooting party.

The Queen was looking a bit pale and wan so her hostess followed her into her bedroom. Elizabeth broke down and cried 'Why did this have to happen. We' (that is herself and her husband) 'have been so contented and happy. And now, all is changed.' She didn't say that for show, as her hostess didn't repeat it to anyone and wrote the exchange in her diary.

An easy retirement? She was still performing royal duties in her late nineties. And you think that she preferred 'retirement' to having her beloved husband with her? Where are you getting these sources from?
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  #602  
Old 10-24-2017, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kronprinz View Post
Well, at least deep down she had to thank David for abdicating and giving her the chance of being Queen instead of a plump, plain Duchess of York, besides handing her a free ticket for 50 years of easy retirement.

I'm sure she was quite grateful for that.
I'm not the Queen Mother's biggest fan, but as Curryong wrote, she was performing royal duties until the very end.

About 50 engagements in 2001 at the age of 100/101 - her last public engagement was when she visited HMS ARK ROYAL in Portsmouth Naval Base and was present at a Service of Re-Dedication on November 22th, 2001.

Here's a video of it:
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  #603  
Old 10-25-2017, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Kronprinz View Post
Well, at least deep down she had to thank David for abdicating and giving her the chance of being Queen instead of a plump, plain Duchess of York, besides handing her a free ticket for 50 years of easy retirement. I'm sure she was quite grateful for that.
In essence, I agree. She was ambitious, and she had a will of iron. I think she liked being Queen, was happy to be Queen, and enjoyed the power of her position as Queen, first beside her husband, and then behind her daughter. She ruled, as I think Philip would agree.

The public duties she performed were not onerous. When one is being feted like that, it can be quite enlivening. She did all right. It was in her character.

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I believe it was the exact opposite. Its a well known fact that the Queen Mum blamed the abdication crisis and her husband suddenly being thrust onto the throne unprepared as the cause of his early death. I think the last thing that she ever wanted or expected to be was Queen.
I wouldn't be so sure she didn't expect to be Queen. It was in the cards given how David was proceeding with his life. It was generally conceded that the Princess Elizabeth would one day be Queen. That being so, she knew she would be Queen one way or another. Top of the social ladder. I think she was fine with that.

As for her blaming the abdication on her husband's early death, that's the tale that is told to keep the pressure on demonizing Wallis. It's so strange, but it's been repeated enough that no one blinks when the story gets repeated yet again. Her animus towards Wallis preceded by a couple of decades her husband's death. At the time of the abdication one would have had to have second sight to know the King would die 'so young'. Plus his smoking was so patently a key element in his early death. I don't for a minute believe the whole scenario as spun. It's not true to the character of those involved. It's a blind, that deflects from the real (or other) reasons behind what went down. JMO.
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  #604  
Old 10-25-2017, 02:56 AM
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There's a difference in becoming an elderly king in the 70s and being forced into office 30 years earlier only to lead an empire at war something that took a very heavy toll on King George. That said, you're right in that smoking could've lead him to an early death even as a Duke of York but it's widely agreed on that the strains of war is what weakened his constitution to the point of causing his death.
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  #605  
Old 10-25-2017, 03:54 AM
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In what way did Elizabeth personally 'demonise' Wallis? In what verified remarks or letters? Whereas there are certainly instances of Edward and Wallis being rude in remarks and in letters, with references to 'Cookie', imitations of her demeanour to fellow guests, and so on.

Elizabeth's 'animus towards Wallis' went back 'two decades before her husband's death'. To very early 1932 then? That is extraordinary, considering that Edward did not become involved with Wallis Simpson until an affair began in early 1934. I doubt that Elizabeth knew who the heck Wallis was before mid 1934.

And, when it came to doing their part to uphold the morale of Britain and the Empire in time of war, King George and Queen Elizabeth certainly did far far more than Edward and Wallis ever did.
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  #606  
Old 10-25-2017, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Lady Nimue View Post
...
The public duties she performed were not onerous. When one is being feted like that, it can be quite enlivening. She did alright. It was in her character.
I wouldn't be so sure she didn't expect to be Queen. It was in the cards given how David was proceeding with his life. It was generally conceded that the Princess Elizabeth would one day be Queen. That being so, she knew she would be Queen one way or another. Top of the social ladder. I think she was fine with that...
If David died without issue, a big if as he was a relatively young man when he abdicated, then yes, Princess Elizabeth would have become Queen, but assuming David had chosen to stay, the only scenario where the then Duchess of York would have become queen would have been if David and both her daughters had predeceased her and Bertie and been childless. There's no way "she knew she would be Queen one way or another."
An even casual reading of the letters she wrote at the time of the abdication gives a great deal of insight into just how the Queen mother 'felt' about becoming Queen.
From just before David made up his mind:
11/20/1936 to Queen Mary "...it seems almost incredible that David contemplates such a step, & every day I pray to God that he will see reason and not abandon his people."
11/23/1936 to Helen Hardinge "...It's bad whichever way you look at it, both from our point of view and the country's...I feel very depressed and miserable..."
12/3/1936 to Hon. sir Richard Molyneux "...we both are unhappy & terribly worried...It is all so dreadful and wasteful..."
12/6/1936 to Mary Elphinstone "...Bertie & I are feeling very despairing and the strain is terrific."
After David decided to abdicate:
12/12/1936 to Archbishop Cosmo Lang "...we were miserable...over his [David's] change of heart and character during the last few years, and it is alarming how little in touch he was, with ordinary human feeling..."
12/16/1936 to D'Arcy Osborne "...everything seems like a bad dream..."
1/14/1937 to Archbishop Cosmo Lang "...I feel now, rather as if I was coming to after a heavy blow on the head. I think that the shock of those terrible days in December was literally stunning, and a merciful numbness overcame one at the time. The return to life is rather unpleasant - we shall need all our courage in the days to come...."

And indeed it was courage, and faith and steadfastness that enabled the Queen Mother to confront the unexpected hand that life dealt her and play it well.

I think it's important to remember just how grim and desperate times were during the war. The terror of watching country after country fall to the German aggression until Britain basically stood alone in Western Europe. It's easy to look back knowing who won, but at the time during the heavy bombing & the massive casualties, when it was very much in doubt who would prevail, it was a very different story.
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  #607  
Old 10-25-2017, 08:19 AM
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From reading bios I have always gotten the impression that at least part of the dislike between the Queen Mum and David was due to the disapproval of his lifestyle (on the part of she and perhaps Bertie..but Bertie wasn't held up as harshly by David).


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  #608  
Old 10-25-2017, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by sndral View Post
If David died without issue, a big if as he was a relatively young man when he abdicated, then yes, Princess Elizabeth would have become Queen, but assuming David had chosen to stay, the only scenario where the then Duchess of York would have become queen would have been if David and both her daughters had predeceased her and Bertie and been childless. There's no way "she knew she would be Queen one way or another."
An even casual reading of the letters she wrote at the time of the abdication gives a great deal of insight into just how the Queen mother 'felt' about becoming Queen.
From just before David made up his mind:
11/20/1936 to Queen Mary "...it seems almost incredible that David contemplates such a step, & every day I pray to God that he will see reason and not abandon his people."
11/23/1936 to Helen Hardinge "...It's bad whichever way you look at it, both from our point of view and the country's...I feel very depressed and miserable..."
12/3/1936 to Hon. sir Richard Molyneux "...we both are unhappy & terribly worried...It is all so dreadful and wasteful..."
12/6/1936 to Mary Elphinstone "...Bertie & I are feeling very despairing and the strain is terrific."
After David decided to abdicate:
12/12/1936 to Archbishop Cosmo Lang "...we were miserable...over his [David's] change of heart and character during the last few years, and it is alarming how little in touch he was, with ordinary human feeling..."
12/16/1936 to D'Arcy Osborne "...everything seems like a bad dream..."
1/14/1937 to Archbishop Cosmo Lang "...I feel now, rather as if I was coming to after a heavy blow on the head. I think that the shock of those terrible days in December was literally stunning, and a merciful numbness overcame one at the time. The return to life is rather unpleasant - we shall need all our courage in the days to come...."

And indeed it was courage, and faith and steadfastness that enabled the Queen Mother to confront the unexpected hand that life dealt her and play it well.

I think it's important to remember just how grim and desperate times were during the war. The terror of watching country after country fall to the German aggression until Britain basically stood alone in Western Europe. It's easy to look back knowing who won, but at the time during the heavy bombing & the massive casualties, when it was very much in doubt who would prevail, it was a very different story.
I agree with much of what you've written except you've confused something in your first paragraph. Yes, the expectation was that David would do his duty, marry and have children right up until he insisted on marrying Wallis. But the only way the Duchess of York was not going to one day be Queen (if David had no legitimate offspring and didn't abdicate) was for Bertie to predecease David. Then Princess Elizabeth would be Queen after David, nothing to do with her mother. If something had happened to both Elizabeth and Margaret, the next heir was Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester.
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  #609  
Old 10-25-2017, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by O-H Anglophile View Post
I agree with much of what you've written except you've confused something in your first paragraph. Yes, the expectation was that David would do his duty, marry and have children right up until he insisted on marrying Wallis. But the only way the Duchess of York was not going to one day be Queen (if David had no legitimate offspring and didn't abdicate) was for Bertie to predecease David. Then Princess Elizabeth would be Queen after David, nothing to do with her mother. If something had happened to both Elizabeth and Margaret, the next heir was Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester.
Thank you - I obviously wasn't thinking clearly late last night, if David had died before Bertie then she would have been Queen, my mistake. :)
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  #610  
Old 10-25-2017, 04:20 PM
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I think her letters make it very clear that Elizabeth did not want to be queen. She'd found the "sweet spot" as Duchess: a degree of attention, wealth, and duty that kept life interesting balanced out with a relative freedom to enjoy some degree of normalcy when desired. What's more, her husband chafed under royal duties as Prince and then Duke; the much heavier responsibility of the crown weighed very heavily on him. She loved him and hated to see him struggle. And struggle he did. His entire time on the throne was a difficult one for the UK and it wasn't always clear or obvious what the king could or should do to help maintain positive spirits in the face of the abdication, WWII, or the post-war privations. That had to have been hard for her to watch.

So I understand how she could feel that the increased burden of kinghood lead to an early demise. I'm not sure that actually hurried his death, but I can see how grief and years of watching him stress over his position would make her feel that way. She does seem to have vocalized that feeling by making Wallis the scapegoat for the whole abdication mess. David would be a more logical whipping boy for that decision, but he was family and had once been someone Elizabeth had quite enjoyed. Wallis was an outsider and Elizabeth hadn't really spent that much time with her. In sadness, loss and hurt complicated by a tricky history, Wallace was the easiest target.
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  #611  
Old 10-25-2017, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Kronprinz View Post
Well, at least deep down she had to thank David for abdicating and giving her the chance of being Queen instead of a plump, plain Duchess of York, besides handing her a free ticket for 50 years of easy retirement.

I'm sure she was quite grateful for that.
Sorry but where do you get information from??? Elizabeth did not want to be queen.. (In any case since Edwrd was unlikely to marry or have children she would almost certainly have become queen at some stage anyway). She turned George VI down at least twice becase she wasn't sure she wanted such a life..
And she was not bothered about being "plump" (I woud not say she was plain myself). She was happy as Duchess of York, and had no great desire to become queen and have her husband forced into all the stress of being king, in 1936.
And she worked all through her "retirement" and was still doing engagements as an old woman, so I don't know what you mean at all...
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  #612  
Old 10-25-2017, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ROYAL NORWAY View Post
I'm not the Queen Mother's biggest fan, but as Curryong wrote, she was performing royal duties until the very end.

About 50 engagements in 2001 at the age of 100/101 - her last public engagement was when she visited HMS ARK ROYAL in Portsmouth Naval Base and was present at a Service of Re-Dedication on November 22th, 2001.

Here's a video of it:

H.M Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was quite frankly, an embodiment of service throughout her life, and how enjoyable to see a clip I've not seen before, of her last public engagement, at the age of 101. Impressive as her years as Queen-Consort were, I think her role in retirement was no less important, especially as a great support for her daughter, who came into the enormous role of Queen of dozens and dozens of nations at a very young age and with small children, and as someone who continued to personify what duty, diligence and getting on with the job, really means.
In some ways, and I mean this in no way detrimental to the Queen, she did it even better than her daughter, probably because of her slightly different role as not the monarch, but consort and later parent, for the Queen Mother always did her job with a smile on her face and happy waves and greetings towards her audience, acknowledging their presence in a very sympathetic and genuine way.
I know that it endeared her to me, and I'm sure it did to many.
To claim, without any sources, that she was so ambitious she was content for the monarchy to be cast into its greatest crisis since WWI so she could become Queen and Empress, her insecure and quite unprepared husband become King and Emperor, only for him to die far too early, is scurrilous and should not be done, 15 years after her passing.

To me and many others, I think the Queen Mother was first an foremost the epitome of 'duty first, self second', and watching that lovely clip of her last official outing in November 2001, that is certainly how she should be appreciated, and remembered.
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  #613  
Old 10-25-2017, 06:21 PM
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I, too, am grateful to be able to watch that amazing video. So many thoughts went through my mind watching it. I had read where when it came to doing royal engagements, the ones the Queen Mum probably loved the best were the ones that involved the armed services. Its been reported that she reveled in them, really enjoyed talking with the people she was meeting and knew her stuff when it came to the subject matter at hand.

This is very clearly visible in this video. Her warmth in her interactions actually remind me somewhat of the charisma and the ability to talk to people that her great grandson, Harry, exhibits. You could actually see the happiness in the Queen Mum's face as she talked to and interacted with the people. It wasn't just a pleasant "how do you do" and moving on but she found things to talk about and drew those she talked to easily into the conversation.

To be able to endure what seems to be a pretty lengthly recommissioning and to walk about on her own steam just adds to the strong belief I have that this woman was one of endurance and stamina. HM, The Queen had such a wonderful role model in her mother.
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  #614  
Old 10-25-2017, 06:32 PM
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I hope she found peace with her role as queen and then queen mother--and joy in her duties. If she didn't, she at least had a great ability for projecting grace and ease in her role.
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  #615  
Old 10-25-2017, 06:48 PM
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One tidbit that really made me laugh was reading about how every now and then, she'd escape her protection officers and her staff and go tooling through the streets of London in her grandson, David Linley's "fast cars". She really had an adventurous streak in her. If you get a chance to read the Shawcross biography of the Queen Mother, she goes into details of how much she loved "roughing it" in tents while on an African safari with her husband in the earlier years.

I think her dauntless spirit was a big key to her longevity. She took life as it came and made the best of it. There was always tomorrow to look forward to and things waiting around the corner to happen and she took advantage of every minute of it.
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  #616  
Old 10-26-2017, 04:10 AM
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I remember a clip of her when she was very old, watching a parade of soldiers,.. and she was standing up.. but her legs gave way and she had to sit down. But within a few seconds she levered herself up on her feet again. So to suggest that she "wanted an easy retirement" is IMO ridiculous. Yes in some ways the Royal job isn't that diffuclt compared with many jobs.. but she went on doing it till she was well into her 90s as the queen is doing.
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  #617  
Old 10-26-2017, 04:28 AM
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While the queen mum certainly slowed down, she never fully retired, until the months leading up to her death. In 2001 she still did a few engagements at the age of 101. While royal life may be a lot easier then most work, this is a woman who was 36 years past the usual age of retirement. Even having had to have hips replaced and cataract surgery that year, she did things like planting a cross at Rememberance.

It is said for the years leading up to those last few, she was actually as busy as queen mum as she had been as queen. She did retreat to Scotland for a bit to mourn, but she was very much an active support to her daughter.
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  #618  
Old 10-26-2017, 04:32 AM
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True. She knew how to enjoy herself and she was extravagant, and liked ot have a good time but she did work.. and went on doing it very late in life.
Wallis OTOH, led a life that was pretty much all "social engagements",
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  #619  
Old 10-26-2017, 07:55 PM
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And you think that she preferred 'retirement' to having her beloved husband with her?
Are you kidding? Of course she would have wanted the King to live. That would mean she would retain her position.

Her time as Queen Consort was cut short when she was finally getting the taste of it.
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  #620  
Old 10-26-2017, 08:17 PM
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I think if you really got into it and read more about the kind of a person the Queen Mother was, you'd change your opinion of the type of woman that she was.

The more I have read and really got to *know* more about this lady, the more I can definitely say that actually having a hunger for position and prestige and titles was not Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon's ambition in life.

This, of course, doesn't mean that she didn't take her position and her titles and her duties seriously, in fact, it was her innate nature to uphold and do the best that she could to honor the positions she was in. Some people's natural nature is to attain position, status, fame and glory for themselves. Some people attain these things and see it as something they need to do their best with. The Queen Mum was the latter.

Kronprinz, I see you are from Germany and also seem interested in the British Royal Family. I have a book that I find very fascinating and I think perhaps you would too. It goes even further back in the history of the British Royal Family and their relationships with family in Europe. Its called "King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins" by Catrine Clay. The King is George V (father of Edward VIII and George VI, the Queen Mum's husband), Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Its an excellent read if you're into that kind of thing.
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