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  • Writer's pictureThe Chesterton House Team

Your Memories of HRH Queen Elizabeth II

When the Queen passed away last month we shared our message of condolences and asked if you had any personal stories about the Queen that you’d like to share.


David and Robert both contacted us with their memories of encounters with Her Majesty. We hope you enjoy their anecdotes.


Robert shares...


I had the honour of meeting the Queen on several occasions and, perhaps unusually, mostly in quite informal circumstances.


The Inn of Court of which I am a member used to hold twice-yearly weekend seminars for students at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. These events would also be attended by benchers and barristers of the Inn, and it is traditional that each of the Inns of Court has a member of the Royal Family as one of the Masters of the Bench. Our 'Royal Bencher' at that time was the Queen Mother, who took a very close interest in the Cumberland Lodge weekends, and whose regular practice was to invite the benchers, barristers and a number of the students involved to attend the Sunday Morning Service at the Chapel Royal in the grounds of her home a short distance away, followed by pre-lunch drinks at Royal Lodge. These gatherings were always strictly informal, and quite often other members of the Royal Family would come up to Royal Lodge to join the Queen Mother after the morning service at St. George's Chapel. The first time that the Queen herself was there during one of our visits I had been helping to organise the Cumberland Lodge weekends for some time, and so had been privileged to be invited to several of these occasions.


This particular Sunday was a very wet day in late Autumn, and I was delayed on the walk up the drive from the Chapel Royal so that not only was I one of the last members of the party to arrive at Royal Lodge, but was also very damp by the time I got there. The first person I saw on going through the front door was the Queen Mother, and almost as soon as I saw her I found myself being ushered not just into the Drawing Room where there was a splendid roaring fire, but straight up to the fender seat in front of the fireplace. There were already two people sitting there, one towards each end leaving a space in the middle, and as the - notoriously enormous - Royal Lodge G&T was slipped into my hand the Queen Mother with a gesture towards them said "Oh, do you know my daughters?"


It must have been obvious that I was somewhat at a loss as to how to respond appropriately, but the Queen came to the rescue immediately and asked if I had been to Royal Lodge before.When I replied that I had, and added that I had always greatly admired the splendid Gothic decoration of the Drawing Room in which we were sitting, the Queen Mother said "We decorated it ourselves, or at least my husband did - I held the ladder!"




David recalls...

Meeting the Queen on Smiths Lawn In April 1956 I was in my last year at school in Reading. I was intrigued to learn that Prince Philip would be playing polo on Smiths Lawn in Windsor Great Park. I cycled to see the match (18 miles). While watching from the side of the match and not looking where I was going my feet tangled with the leads of three corgis, held by the Queen. I disentangled and we said a few words. She took her leave saying she had an appointment. I subsequently learned that she was going to a meeting with Krushschev and Bulganin.

The official record of the visit includes:


April 1956 19. Khrushchev told the Prime Minister, with every appearance of sincerity, that he had been deeply impressed by The Queen. He said that if ever the Prime Minister were to hint to the Soviet Government that The Queen would like to visit the USSR, an invitation would be sent at once, and they would give to The Queen and her court all the honours that were their due.

In November of that year Krushchev ordered the brutal suppression of the Hungarian uprising, arresting and executing the Prime Minister Imre Nag and the Foreign Minister Pal Meleter.

Britain welcomed 25,000 refugees, who were housed temporarily in, among other places, the otherwise deserted Hednesford RAF camp. I spent three months there organising transport and driving about 1,000 miles a week in old army trucks which we bought for £30 a time from the MOD disposal site at Ruddington.




If you have a story or memory you would like to include, we’d love to share it. Email Jenny at marketing@chestertonhouse.co.uk or give us a call on 01509 610472.

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