Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

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Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1939.

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (August 4, 1900March 30, 2002), or Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and colloquially known as The Queen Mum, was Queen consort of George VI of the United Kingdom (1936–1952) and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and grandmother of Charles III.


  • The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave.
    • In a public declaration in the early years of World War II. Sourced from the British Royal Family History website.
  • At the dinner table, the talk turned to politics. It was in the days before the 'Gang of Four' had allied themselves to the Liberal Party [early 1981].
    Queen Elizabeth [The Queen Mother]: I dislike this new socialist party of Woy's [sic].
    Host: They're called the Social Democrats, ma'am.
    Queen Elizabeth: Yes. Well, you don't change socialist just by leaving ist off the end. I say, it's a cheat to start something called the Social Party. I liked the old Labour Party. The best thing is a good old Tory government with a strong Labour opposition.
  • Queen Elizabeth: I thought the girls . . . you see, they were marooned in Windsor Castle for most of the war, and I was not sure that they were having a very good education and kind Sachie and Osbert [Sitwell] said they would arrange a poetry evening for us. Such an embarrassment. Osbert was wonderful, as you would expect, and Edith, of course, but then we had this rather lugubrious man in a suit, and he read a poem . . . I think it was called "The Desert". And first the girls got the giggles, and then I did and then even the King.
    Self: "The Desert", ma'am? Are you sure it wasn't called "The Waste Land?
    Queen Elizabeth: That's it. I'm afraid we all giggled. Such a gloomy man, looked as though he worked in a bank, and we didn't understand a word.
    Self: I believe he did once work in a bank.
  • Never trust them, never trust them. They can't be trusted.
    • On the Germans, to Woodrow Wyatt (16 November 1991), as quoted in The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume Two (2000) ed. Sarah Curtis, p. 608
  • He is the only man, since my dear husband died, to have had the effrontery to kiss me on the lips.”
    • The Queen Mother said about President Jimmy Carter, as reported in the British newspapers.
  • We loved him.
    • On the Duke of Windsor, previously Edward VIII, as quoted by the Duke of Grafton in The Queen Mother Remembered (2002), BBC Books
  • Whilst playing cards,
    Elizabeth: How are you getting on? You don't look very happy.
    Lord Salisbury: Oh, Ma'am, I've been left with a horrible queen.
    Elizabeth: I don't think that's a very good of way of putting it, do you?
  • Was this yours? Oh, could you take it?
    • On returning a toilet roll to a demonstrator who had thrown it at her, as quoted by Sir Peter Ustinov in The Queen Mother Remembered (2002), BBC Books
  • But I love communists!
    • On being warned that a functionary to whom she was about to be introduced was a communist, as quoted by the Duchess of Grafton in The Queen Mother Remembered (2002), BBC Books
  • Wouldn't it be terrible if you'd spent all your life doing everything you were supposed to do, didn't drink, didn't smoke, didn't eat things, took lots of exercise, all the things you didn't want to do, and suddenly one day you were run over by a big red bus, and as the wheels were crunching into you you'd say 'Oh my god, I could have got so drunk last night!' That's the way you should live your life, as if tomorrow you'll be run over by a big red bus.
    • As quoted by Michael Parker, as cited in William Shawcross Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography (2009)
  • That's mine!
    • Said to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, when she realised he had taken her glass of wine just as she prepared to propose a toast during a lunch to celebrate her 100th birthday.
    • Vickers, Hugo (2006), Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Arrow Books/Random House, p. 490, ISBN 978-0-09-947662-7 
  • I wouldn't if I were you, Noël; they count them before they put them out.
    • Murmured to Sir Noël Coward (who was gay) at a gala. While she mounted a staircase lined with Guards, she noticed Coward's eyes flicker momentarily over the soldiers; as quoted by Thomas Blaikie in You look awfully like the Queen: Wit and Wisdom from the House of Windsor (2002)
  • I'll polish it off myself.
    • On the fate of a gift of a nebuchadnezzar of champagne (20 bottles' worth) even if her family didn't come for the holidays.
    • Quoted by Graham Taylor in Elizabeth: The Woman and the Queen (2002)

Quotes about Bowes-Lyon

  • That is the most dangerous woman in Europe.
    • Usually attributed to either Hitler or Goebbels, but, according to official biographer William Shawcross, apocryphal.
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