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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 17:54 GMT
Queen Mother: A remarkable life
Queen Mother on 99th birthday
Each generation will have its own memories of her
Buckingham Palace has announced the death of the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. BBC News Online looks back over her remarkable life.

She lived longer than any other King or Queen in British history. Yet her reign as Consort was comparatively short.

She was one of the architects of the modern House of Windsor, yet she was born a commoner.

Her birth came at the very beginning of the 20th century, but each generation will have its own memories of her.

To the young she was always "Queen Mother" - in the background of State occasions, in the forefront of public affection.

To those who lived through the war she was the Queen - constant and resolute by her husband's side, as the country faced its gravest hours.

And to an earlier generation she was the Duchess of York - bringing a touch of freshness and glamour to the years of slump and depression.

Elizabeth Bowes -Lyon

The Queen Mother was born Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, on 4 August 1900, the ninth of 10 children of Lord and Lady Glamis.

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon ninth child to  Lord & Lady Glamis
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon ninth child to Lord & Lady Glamis
But the family only inherited the ancestral home, Glamis Castle when Elizabeth was three.

After that she spent most of her summers growing up in Scotland, with her younger brother David.

Another of her brothers, Fergus, was killed in World War One, and her mother turned Glamis into a convalescent home for wounded soldiers: Elizabeth helping to nurse them back to health till the end of the war.

Elizabeth, Duchess of York

As an attractive young woman Elizabeth spent much of her time mixing with the highest in society including the young Prince Albert, the second son of George the Fifth, who would later become George VI. A shy young man, he was drawn to Elizabeth's outgoing nature.

Elizabeth enjoying the quiet happy years with the family
Elizabeth enjoying the quiet happy years with the family
They married in 1923 - becoming Duke and Duchess of York. There was no live broadcast; the Archbishop of Canterbury was concerned that men might be listening in pubs - and with their hats on.

In 1926 they celebrated the birth of their first child, Elizabeth - the present Queen.

Another daughter, Margaret-Rose was born four years later.

These were the quiet happy years for the growing family.

But their tranquillity was not to last.

Elizabeth, consort to the monarch

In January 1936 King George V died. The succession passed to Albert's elder brother.

But Edward VIII was forced to give up his throne to his younger brother after deciding to marry an American, Wallace Simpson.

What is more, Mrs Simpson was a divorcee at a time when divorce was not acceptable to the British establishment.

Elizabeth and George VI are crowned in May 1937
Elizabeth and George VI are crowned in May 1937
The planned coronation went ahead with a different King and a Queen. Quite unexpectedly, Elizabeth had been thrust into the role of consort to the monarch, the new George VI. They were crowned in May 1937.

The monarchy was now a Royal Family again and in a position to face an even graver crisis. War against Germany was declared in September 1939. The Queen was to the fore in keeping up morale.

The King and Queen, along with the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, became the symbols of the nation's resistance.

When London was blitzed, she would be there among the ruins, to offer moral support.

The Queen offered moral support throughout the war years
The Queen offered moral support throughout the war years
Together King and Queen brought the monarchy back into public favour. And when peace came again the House of Windsor acquired a stability that had seemed almost unthinkable at the time of the Abdication a decade before.

Within a few years another tragedy changed the course of her life again.

The King had cancer, and he died suddenly in February 1952 soon after his elder daughter had left for Africa on her way to tour Australia and New Zealand.

She had left as Princess Elizabeth but was returning home as the new Queen - monarch in her own right.

Her mother was only 51, suddenly alone and no longer the centre of attention.

Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

Elizabeth resumed her public duties, and in time becoming as busy as Queen Mother as she had been as Queen.

Queen Mum presents cup
Presenting a cup at the races
She cultivated a passion for horse-racing. It had begun when she was Queen, now it flourished. In time she owned many fine horses and watched them whenever she could.

As the years passed, her workload increased. Back and forth she travelled: a roving ambassador in the Commonwealth. Of all the countries she visited, Canada was her favourite.

Her popularity continued throughout the decades until some perhaps forgot she had ever been anything but Queen Mother.

Queen Mum on her birthday
Surrounded by children each birthday
Her birthdays became something of a national ritual. By now, everyone knew her simply as Queen Mum and many came to stand outside her house and shout "happy birthday".

For her 90th, a carnival-style tribute was held to mark the many decades Elizabeth had devoted to public service.

Representatives from more than 300 organisations with which she was associated - from Britain and the Commonwealth - paraded before her on a summer's evening at Horseguards.

The Queen Mother's later years were marked, in particular, by commemorations of the war years. She remained loyal to the memory of the RAF's Bomber Command, Arthur Harris, an act not without its critics.

She was in Portsmouth for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

Queen Mum portrait
Loved by all generations

On the 50th anniversary of VE Day, her appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace where she joined in the singing of the old wartime songs, was a poignant link between past and present.

Many in the huge crowd would remember the admiration she inspired by remaining in London even at the height of the bombing.

The new millennium saw vast numbers of people gathered once more in London, this time to celebrate the Queen Mother's 100th birthday and a postman delivered the congratulatory telegram from her daughter, signed simply "Lilibet".

Queen Mother at Princess Margaret's funeral
The Queen Mother was determined to attend Princess Margaret's funeral
Her final years were undoubtedly clouded by the problems of the Royal Family itself. The failures of so many Royal marriages and the reaction to the death of the Princess of Wales in 1997 provoked questions about the style and relevance of the British monarchy.

The criticisms, though, did not centre on the Queen Mother, and there was much sympathy for her when her youngest daughter, Margaret, died in February 2002 at the age of 71 after suffering a series of strokes.

The Queen Mother's life combined the certainties of an earlier age of monarchy with the warmth of someone who had a capacity to relate to people from all walks of life.

She earned the affection of every generation which knew her.


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