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Portrait of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

8 facts about Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

Image: Public Domain

She was beloved throughout her life and lived for over a century. Here are some more interesting facts about Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

1. The press once referred to her as a ‘commoner’

We’re pretty sure no one associated intimately with the Royal Family could be considered remotely impoverished, but when Elizabeth married the Duke of York, the future King George VI, the British press regularly referred to her as a ‘commoner’. Despite their sensationalist choice of words, the truth was far from this. Elizabeth came from minor nobility as she was the daughter of Lord Glamis.

2. She rejected the future king’s proposal twice

Albert, Duke of York, who became King George VI when coronated, saw his future queen reject his proposal twice. He first proposed to Elizabeth in 1921 but she said no. No one really understands why but her biographers suggest she may have had fears of being in the public eye.

After the rejection, Elizabeth received a visit from the Queen, who left the meeting convinced Elizabeth was the only woman for her son. Albert did propose a second time in 1922, but she refused again. Elizabeth eventually agreed to marry him and they were wed on 26th April 1923 at Westminster Abbey.

3. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth did not immediately gain popular favour

George VI took the throne in unprecedented circumstances. His brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry his divorced lover Wallis Simpson and he had been an extremely popular monarch. Crowds would follow him wherever he went so George and Elizabeth had a lot to live up to. They were considered a dull second-best replacement but as Elizabeth continued to work hard and show her support for her country, particularly visiting areas affected by the Blitz during World War II, public opinion began to warm towards her. By 1953 when Queen Mary died, Elizabeth had taken her role as the matriarch of the Royals.

4. Her home really was her castle

The Royal Family had many stately properties and amazing mansions, but the Queen Mother had a special place in her heart for The Castle of Mey. Elizabeth bought the castle in the far north of Scotland following the death of her husband and considered it a place of true peace and calm. She visited her castle at least once a year and its restoration was one of her true passions in the years after her husband’s death.

5. She was the last Empress of India

Elizabeth never visited India during her life but whilst she was Queen, she was also the Empress of India. In 1877, Queen Victoria was appointed Empress of India and this was a title handed down to each monarch until 1947, when India proclaimed its independence and George and Elizabeth were simply the King and Queen of India. When the Commonwealth was established and India became a Republic, these titles were also lost.

6. She lived through six different monarchs

Elizabeth was born in August 1900, when Queen Victoria was on the throne. She then lived through the reigns of five more monarchs, ending with that of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

7. Hitler declared her the ‘most dangerous woman in Europe’

Elizabeth’s work in London during World War II gained her much respect from around the world. The King and Queen remained in the city throughout the Blitz and did their duty. Adolf Hitler described her as ‘the most dangerous woman in Europe’ and her popularity was at odds with his hopes for the German conquests.

8. She was the first centenarian in the British Royal Family

Elizabeth celebrated her 100th birthday in 2000 and was the first British monarch to ever reach this landmark age. There were many celebrations to mark her birthday, including a parade and the release of a commemorative £20 note. She sadly died two years later in 2002.