Queen Mother backed Thatcher honour
Thursday 17 September 2009
The Queen and Margaret Thatcher never really hit it off. Of all the prime ministers for whom the Queen held an audience, Mrs Thatcher was notoriously one of those she liked the least.
But her mother took a different view. Mrs Thatcher was one of the Queen Mother's "favourite politicians", says a new biography, out today. Her admiration for Mrs Thatcher was used to mollify the Queen Mother during what threatened to be a rift with her daughter in the 1990s. After royalty's "annus horribilis" in 1992, when royal divorces and other problems took their popularity to a low ebb, the Queen decided to update aspects of the monarchy.
One change involved the Order of the Garter, the highest and most exclusive order in the British honours system, restricted to 24 members, personally chosen by the monarch. The Queen Mother was shocked to learn that her daughter proposed to open the centuries-old order to women who were not members of the Royal Family. But she withdrew her objection when she learnt that the first non-royal female member was to be Margaret Thatcher. She was made a Lady Companion of the Order in 1995.
The Queen Mother also had favourites on the Labour side. She was charmed when Ron Todd, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, invited her to become an honorary member, after she had visited Smithfield Market and talked to "bummarees", a nickname for the porters. She instructed her secretary: "Would you tell Ron Todd (splendid name!) that as an Hon Bummaree I would be delighted to become an honorary member of the Union." William Shawcross, author of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother – The Official Biography was given unrestricted access to the Queen Mother's papers and to members of her staff, to produce a highly respectful, 943-page account of the long life of the woman who died in 2002, aged 101.
The biography reveals that the Queen Mother went through a successful operation for colon cancer in December 1966, which forced her to spend two weeks in hospital and cancel all her engagements for the first three months of 1967. Rumours spread that she had had a colostomy," Shawcross added. "This was not true."
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...