Born April 21st.1926.
Died 8th. September, 2022 at Balmoral Castle Sleeps at the George VI Memorial Chapel. Windsor.
Queen Elizabeth the Second departed this life after a reign that spanned some epoch making changes not least the jackboots of the Wehrmacht crunching their way across Europe and at at times when the war clouds loomed thick over world horizons, the feeling for so many was was one of despair and doubt.
The craft of the Kriegsmarine or to put it more simply the U-Boats roamed the oceans of the world sinking a frightening toll of shipping and coming close to the concept of world domination.
This was the world that the young Elizabeth came to know so very well, born on the 21st. April The Luftwaffe on nightly runs over London unloaded a horrendous tonnage of bombs that Goering’s Luftwaffe fulfilled his dictum that it would soon be all over and the old bulldog himself, namely Churchill would be forced to the ignominy of defeat.
But Elizabeth kept in her heart the belief so very British, that we would not be broken despite the terrible cost of defence, and indeed in the skies over southern England a new aid came to our help and a force to be reckoned with, namely the Spitfire. And the pilots to fly them.
The young princess and her sister Margaret, worked in the land army and we picked up the pieces after Dunkirk and the miracle of the little ships, and The British navy following in Nelson’s footsteps dealt its fair share of damage to the Kreigsmarine. Bit by bit, piece by piece, el Alamine and onwards the tide of war began to run in our favour.
My father was in the RAF and I was eigthteen months old and could still remember my Dad in his RAF blue looking down at me in my cot. And so the war eventually came to an end.
Elizabeth had been born on the 21st. April, 1926 with an amazing life before her. And she always said the war taught her so much.
She used to laugh when the subject of Prime ministers came up (Lord knows what she’d make of it now) and always wanted to know as much as possible about visiting politicians, big wigs, saints, sinners, mountebanks, the great and the humble.
It was Elizabeth who having met Nelson Mandela described him as one of the finest gentlemen she had ever been her pleasure to meet and given the recent fiascos the have run like wildfire through the Royal Family, she was ever the calm and wise factor whose ability to assess a situation was always strong on wisdom and low on criticism.
I met her and the Duke and the Queen Mother at a ‘do’ at Clarence house.
I was playing guitar in a Society Orchestra, went looking for the toilet and bumped into the Duke of Edinburgh. He was a great character, the Queen Mum asked me if I was hungry. I said yes, and we went down to the kitchens and she made me a corned beef sandwhich.
Much later I met her again filming with the BBC at Glamis Castle, and in a cupboard we used as a changing room I was happy to tell her there were all the measurements of the Princesses through their lives.
Oh, and she did like a G&T… I heard of her visiting an old lady in Richmond, and said to her host would she like a gin, then added she had heard of The Queen Mum’s penchant for gin.
The Queen Mum then said, ‘I don’t know where you got that idea from but seeing as you mention it, make it a large one!’
She loved to laugh. And at the presentation after a Royal Performance she met Tommy Cooper, incredibly funny but a loose cannon as well. It is Royal Protocol that you do NOT speak to a Royal, you wait to be spoken to. Cooper ignored this completely and asked the Queen Mum, ‘Do you like football, Ma’am?’ ‘Well not really’, said QM…’ ‘Great, said Cooper, can I have your football tickets then?’
And so the story goes!
The Queen when she was ‘on holiday with an the as yet untitled Duke of
Edinburgh, got the news… the King of Great Britain had died suddenly whilst his daughter was on holiday. The young Queen hurried home for the funeral followed by the Coronation.
Her life was ever similar, crises of one kind and another to be analised and decisions taken.
Her life was devoted to her job and as they came along-her children.
She did say to me on one occasion as regards the pressure ever at her door, ‘at least I have seen the Beatles.’
Up every morning at 6.0 am to be sure to sign the ‘100 years old’ birthday cards careful that no one was left out (including my Mum) and whenever possible indulging in her passion for horses.
A tireless worker for her many charities’, her sister Margaret was relatively close to her and in fact it was through Margaret, that I met the Queen. That was after one incredible night in the Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the late, great John Dankworth performing his arrangement of my Seasons Suite.
We went up to the Palace after the show in the AH.
Her kind will never come this way again and as I watch the mind boggling mental geriatrics of the likes of Harry… I despair.
Chris Simpson, February 8, 2023.