By Kristen Palmer, Communications Intern
Talk about a consistent public expression. That’s what earned Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother her nickname – the “Smiling Duchess”
Also known as Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, she was the queen consort (wife of a reigning king) of King George VI from 1936 until he died in 1952. How is she connected to the royal family we know and love? Well, the Queen Mother was the mother of – you guessed it – Her Majesty The Queen. That means she was Prince Charles’ grandmother and Prince William’s great-grandmother.
The Queen Mother led an active public life until her death in 2002. The people loved her! In fact, she was consistently popular, even when the other members of her family raked in low levels of public approval.
She had six brothers and three sisters, and she lost a few of them tragically. Her sister, Violet, died at age 11 due to diphtheria (yeah, I had to look it up too… diphtheria is an acute, highly contagious bacterial disease causing inflammation of the mucous membranes, formation of a false membrane in the throat that hinders breathing and swallowing, and potentially fatal heart and nerve damage by a bacterial toxin in the blood, according to dictionary.com). Her brother, Alexander, died as a child due to a brain tumor, and her brother, Fergus, died while serving in the First World War.
The Queen Mother and her husband used to argue about where they met. She claimed to have met him at a children’s party, but he thought he met her at a ball. She rejected his first marriage proposal because marrying a royal prince would be too restrictive! They later married at Westminster Abbey, but the ceremony was not allowed to be played on the radio, because men might listen to it wearing hats.
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, died at age 101 of pneumonia with her daughter, the Queen, by her side. Over one million people lined the route of her funeral cortege. Now that’s love!
To learn more about the royal family, be sure to tune into WNED-TV Sundays, July 1-22 at 8 p.m.