Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

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Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1939.

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (August 4, 1900 - March 30, 2002)or Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (popularly known as The Queen Mum) was Queen consort of George VI of the United Kingdom (1936 to 1952) and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II.


  • "We'd have to go self-service."
After a Tory minister advised her not to employ homosexuals
Reported November 10, 2002 in The Observer
  • "Whatever would American tourists think?"
Admonishing a group of London teenagers she saw throwing stones at a car.
  • "Is it just me or are pensioners getting younger these days?"
To a group of pensioners. (At age 90)
  • "Is that wise, darling? Remember you have to reign all afternoon."
To the Queen, who was contemplating having a second glass of wine at lunch.
  • "I hadn't realised I enjoyed that reputation. But as I do, perhaps you could make it a large one."
To her host who blurted out "I hear you like gin" during an engagement at which she was supposed to be offered a cup of tea.
  • "The chopper has changed my life as conclusively as it did Anne Boleyn's."
To a pilot after having decided that helicopters were a useful convenience.
  • "Oh, I understand that perfectly. That's how we feel in Scotland too, but the English won't allow it."
On a 1947 tour of South Africa, in reply to an Afrikaner who said "I don't think much of royalty. I think South Africa ought to be a republic."
  • Canadian veteran: Are you Scotch or English?
    Elizabeth: I'm Canadian!
  • "I wouldn't if I were you, Noel; they count them before they put them out."
To Noel Coward, when he showed interest in the guardsmen at a gala function.
  • "When one of you young queens has finished, can you bring this old queen a drink?"
To her largely homosexual personal staff
  • "Not very romantic."
About her honeymoon, spent at Glamis Castle suffering from whooping cough.
  • "Who are you supposed to be, dear? Are you Daddy or the Mad Hatter?"
To her daughter, Princess Margaret Rose. The reply was "No, I'm Johnnie Walker."
  • "I'll polish it off myself."
On the fate of a gift of a nebuchadnezzar of champagne (20 bottles worth) even if her family didn't come for the holidays.
  • Whilst playing cards,
Elizabeth: How are you getting on? You don't look very happy.
Lord Salisbury: Oh, Ma'am, I've been left with a horrible queen.
Elizabeth: I don't think that's a very good of way of putting it, do you?
Quoted by Lord Home of the Hirsel in: The Queen Mother Remembered (BBC Books, 2002)
  • "Was this yours? Oh, could you take it?"
On returning a toilet roll to a demonstrator who had thrown it at her.
Quoted by Sir Peter Ustinov in: The Queen Mother Remembered (BBC Books, 2002)
  • "But I love communists!"
On being warned that a functionary to whom she was about to be introduced was a communist.
Quoted by the Duchess of Grafton in: The Queen Mother Remembered (BBC Books, 2002)


  • "The princesses could not possibly leave without me; I wouldn't leave the King, and the King will never leave under any circumstances."
After being asked to go to Canada for her safety during the Blitz
  • "I am almost glad we have been bombed. Now I feel I can look the East End in the face."
After Buckingham Palace was bombed. The East End of London had been badly damaged by bombing.
  • "The only other man who has ever done that to me was my husband."
After U.S. President Jimmy Carter greeted her with a kiss on the lips.
  • "We loved him."
On the Duke of Windsor, previously Edward VIII
Quoted by the Duke of Grafton in: The Queen Mother Remembered (BBC Books, 2002)
  • "Never trust them, never trust them. They can't be trusted."
On the Germans.
Said to Woodrow Wyatt on 16 November 1991, quoted in Woodrow Wyatt, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume Two (Pan, 2000), p. 608.

About her

  • If [Winston] Churchill is the man in Europe I must fear most, then surely she is the woman I have most to fear of in Europe.
Adolf Hitler (attributed)
  • [She should be] Hung, drawn and...quartered...hung in diamonds, drawn in a coach, and...quartered in the best house in the land.
A British serviceman, in her autograph book, for her service caring for wounded soldiers

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