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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 21:43 GMT
The Queen who charmed England
The Queen Mother
The Queen Mother visited Portsmouth last November
Tributes to the Queen Mother have flooded in from all over England following her death at the age of 101.

The much-loved Royal died at Royal Lodge, Windsor, at 1515 GMT on Saturday.

Spanning all generations, people from every corner of the country have fond memories of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Her sense of duty and kindness attracted admirers and great respect from the English public.


They broke the mould with the Queen Mother. She was regal without being imperious

British Women's Land Army Society

The former Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Sir Richard Knowles, remembers meeting the Queen Mother nearly ten years ago at the city's Botanical Gardens.

"She was an amazing old lady. She always engaged with people when she was talking to them.

"When talking about politics she seemed to be much less inhibited than many of her contemporaries.

"She was a great servant to this country and during the war she stood by her husband, King George VI and was a great help to him."

Throughout her lifetime, the Queen Mother patronized 320 charities and organisations, all of whom she supported officially and informally.

In 1933, the then Duchess of York inaugurated a training college for disabled people at Leatherhead in Surrey.

Bomb-weary country

Later renamed the Queen Elizabeth Training College, she became patron in 1953, just months after being widowed.

She was also patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, which has welcomed her support since 1964.

Over the decades, the Queen Mother provided a sense of continuity for generations of people and brought stability to the Royal Family during tumultuous years in the 1990s.

Young Queen Mother
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon as a young woman

Throughout World War II, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were a backbone of support to a bomb-weary country.

When Buckingham Palace was itself bombed during the Blitz, the Queen famously said: "I'm glad it happened - now I can look the East End in the eye".

They also made visits to towns and cities across the country to boost morale during the dark days of war.

After the untimely death of King George VI, she spent a year in mourning for her beloved companion before returning to public duties.

In June 1960, almost eight years after his death, the Queen Mother opened the new library at Hull University.

'Absolutely charming'

Wendy Mann was a librarian there, becoming something of an institution as she worked at the library for nearly 45 years.

"She came for the whole day, it was a great day, an absolutely superb day."

Ms Mann also remembers the Queen Mother's visit during the war to the city of Hull.

Queen Mother and Prince Charles at her 100th Birthday celebrations
The Queen Mother had a close relationship with Prince Charles

"She was going down the Cottingham Road talking to people and made everyone feel at ease.

"She had a lovely smile and was absolutely charming."

Aged 88, the Queen Mother attended a reunion of the Land Girls in Birmingham.

The present chairman of the British Women's Land Army Society, Jean Procter, remembers the day well.

"They broke the mould with the Queen Mother. She was regal without being imperious.

"She used to go into the fields and talk to the girls and made you feel you were important to her.

"I was hoping that she would make it past the Queen's Jubilee but it wasn't to be."

Final engagement

As a child, the young Elizabeth used to visit north-east England every summer, with her large family of brothers and sisters.

When the Queen Mother married the Duke of York in 1923 and started making official visits to the area, it was, she often said, like "coming home".

One of her most memorable visits took place in 1981, when she was invited to launch the Ark Royal which was built at the Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend.

Twenty years later, she was to relaunch the recommissioned Ark Royal in Portsmouth.

It would be the Queen Mother's final official engagement.

She will be remembered for her steely determination and bright nature that endured throughout her life and endeared her to the hearts of millions of people.

See also:

30 Mar 02 | UK
In pictures: 100th birthday
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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