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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Tea with a centenarian
The Queen Mother with Prince Charles
The Queen Mother with her favourite grandson, Prince Charles
To mark the Queen Mother's hundredth birthday, Radio 4's PM Programme found another woman who celebrates her centenary this year. Reporter Nigel Wrench went to see her at her home in Surrey.

Flos Boyton comes to the door of her home in Mitcham a little wary of the visitor.

At 99, her life has a regular routine: a bus will come by at 11 each morning to take her off to lunch, and perhaps a game of bingo. Weekends are spent with her son Donald, 72, and his wife. So a newcomer is regarded with some suspicion.

She has had a life that on the face of it could not be more different from the Queen Mother's.

Flos Boyton 100 years young
Flos Boyton: celebrating her own century
The young Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon grew up in a life or privilege and comfort, her wedding in 1923 to the then Duke of York was the society event of the year.

But we selected Mrs Boyton precisely because her life circumstances were so different, even as she lived through the same world-changing events that the Queen Mother did.

She married a year later than the Queen Mother, but she had to be back at work the next day.

War time memories

Both women had brothers who went to the front in the First World War. Mrs Boyton's brother returned, the Queen Mother's brother, Fergus, did not.

As the Queen Mother gained lifelong admiration for her tenacity in the Second World War, Mrs Boyton bore the pain of her son being evacuated from London to live with a family in Marlowe.

Her husband regularly took part in practice with the Home Guard, manning the guns on Clapham Common.

She speaks with care and a little reserve of her life. There is a bottle of gin in a glass-fronted cupboard and she still likes a cigarette.


We are alike. We both have our own hair, we like a drink, I like a song

Flos Boyton

Of the Queen Mother she says: "We are alike. We both have our own hair, we like a drink, I like a song."

Her life is a reminder of difficult times. She worked from the age of 14. She and William, her husband, delayed having children because there wasn't the money. "We were afraid of children," she says simply.

Mrs Boyton marks her 100th birthday on Boxing Day, with rather less fanfare than that at Clarence House. "I'd just like to forget my birthday," she says, "no-one likes to get old."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Flos Boyton
on the air raids
Flos Boyton
on meeting her husband
Flos Boyton
on meeting Queen Elizabeth and the King
See also:

17 Jul 00 | Entertainment
17 Jul 00 | Entertainment
15 Jul 00 | Scotland
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