RAF created no-fly zone at Castle of Mey to save Queen Mother’s naps

The jets had flown around the Queen Mother’s Caithness holiday home, which she purchased in 1952 for £100

Grace Almond
Wednesday 29 December 2021 19:38
<p>Staff at the castle said the Queen Mother was known to take afternoon naps, usually after her first drink of the day</p>

Staff at the castle said the Queen Mother was known to take afternoon naps, usually after her first drink of the day

The Queen Mother demanded that a no-fly zone be introduced around her home in Scotland to allow her to enjoy her afternoon naps without interruption.

A series of documents, reported by The Times, has revealed that Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother made a formal complaint after her sleep was disturbed by low-flying jets.

The jets had flown around her holiday home, the Castle of Mey in Caithness, which she purchased in 1952 for £100.

The documents, which have been sealed for almost three decades, show an order from the commandant-in-chief of the RAF Central Flying School to one of her staff members, asking them to contact the Ministry of Defence to inform them of the issue.

A letter, from the defence secretary’s office dated 12 August 1993, shows the department took swift action to rectify the issue.

“Following your telephone call yesterday about low flying over the Castle of Mey while HM the Queen Mother is in residence I thought it might be helpful to confirm the arrangements that have been made,” it said.

“The castle will receive special protection from low flying (which will extend to two nautical miles laterally and two thousand feet vertically) until the Queen Mother leaves on August 27.

“While we can give no guarantee that aircraft are not seen in the vicinity, this should ensure that Her Majesty is not disturbed,” the letter added. “Similar arrangements can be made for future periods when the Queen Mother is in residence. I understand that this is usually during the month of August.”

Another memo, written by Lieutenant Colonel JJD Cox, adds: “I have been told by the Royal Air Force that they have placed a special protection zone over the Castle of Mey.”

Major Sir Ralph Anstruther, the Queen Mother’s treasurer, responded: “I am to ask you to express Her Majesty’s thanks to the Royal Air Force.”

The Queen Mother was known to take afternoon naps, and staff at the castle said she would do so after having her first drink of the day, which was usually a mixture of fortified wine and gin.

Those who visited the castle in the Queen Mother’s day have said the atmosphere was relaxed and eccentric. One former aide remarked: “The decorations were put in between 1952 and 1955 and I’m led to believe that nothing much was changed after that.”

The Queen Mother rented a television set and video recorder for each summer when she made her annual visit to the castle. Her staff recall receiving instructions to source copies of her favourite television shows, which included Fawlty Towers and Yes Minister.

Following her death in 2002, the Queen Mother’s castle became a tourist attraction.

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