Queen Mother: Expert discusses public reaction to death
This Friday is the one-year anniversary of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell announcement that they would be leaving their duties behind to “carve out a new progressive role”. They have since moved to California and launched Archewell, which involves a Spotify podcast, a Netflix deal and a new non-profit organisation. However, Harry’s great-grandmother the Queen Mother, who died in 2002, would not have been too happy with this.
Unearthed footage of the Queen Mother discussing William and Harry’s future reveals that she hoped the princes would put duty first above all else.
The “private long unseen video”, dug out by a friend of the Royal Family, exposes the true extent of the pain Megxit might have caused the Queen Mother.
Basia Biggs posted a clip from the video on her Instagram in which the Queen Mother is asked what advice she would give her great-grandsons about serving the country as a royal.
She said: “Well, I suppose, I hope they will be brought up to always put their country first, whatever happens.”
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The Queen Mother said duty should be put first no matter what
The Queen Mother with Princess Diana and Prince Harry
She added: “It is about duty to one’s country, isn’t it, really? It comes first.
“I’m sure they will be brought up like that.”
The remarks were made by the royal in her garden room at Clarence House.
Ms Biggs wrote: “I was standing in the room that day and fascinated to observe her good nature turning to steely-eyed irritation when unexpectedly questioned as she never gave interviews.
The Queen Mother in her garden room at Clarence House in home video
“A historical gem of a video searched for and found in my cupboard under the stairs, I knew it would come in handy one day.”
While Harry insisted he had “no choice” but to leave the Royal Family, the Queen Mother’s comments here imply she would have begged to differ.
And as she maintained these views throughout her long life, her dying wish will likely have been for her family to follow suit.
Of course, her life had been dominated by the constitutional crisis triggered by a royal abandoning duty and putting love before country.
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The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, formerly Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
When King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, her husband, known as Bertie, had to take the throne and become King George VI.
This thrust the pair of them into the limelight and forced them to shoulder much greater responsibility.
George VI is said to have been extremely apprehensive, being a shy man who suffered from a stutter, and the Queen Mother was reportedly furious that her brother-in-law had selfishly ruined their lives.
She was also not a fan of Mrs Simpson, who she would refer to as “that woman”.
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This is likely why she had such staunch views that royals should serve their country “whatever happens”.
She herself served as Queen Consort for 15 years, six of which were during World War 2.
King George VI and the Queen Mother were seen as figureheads of the so-called ‘Blitz spirit’ of ‘keep calm and carry on’.
Devoted to duty as they were, they stayed in London instead of going somewhere safer, and would frequently visit bombed-out areas of the East End.
When Buckingham Palace itself was bombed, the Queen Mother said she was “glad” because she could look the people of the East End in the eye.
The Queen Mother with her great-grandsons
The Queen Mother also helped the King overcome his stutter, giving him confidence as they created a warm home for their family.
After the King’s passing in 1952, she served as the Queen Mother for a further 50 years.
She was consistently one of the most popular royals, liked by the people for always doing her duty no matter what.
She would likely have not approved, therefore, of her great-grandson’s decision to leave it all behind, even though the Queen has said she supports Harry in his decision.
The Queen Mother held this belief about duty until the day she died aged 101, when Harry was 17.