Aged 101 years old, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday March 30th 2002 at Royal Lodge, Windsor, England, at 3:15pm. Her daughter, the Queen of the United Kingdom and her niece Lady Margaret Rhodes was at with her at the time. Her other daughter, Princess Margaret, died less than two months earlier aged 71.

A Palace spokesman said, "Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had become increasingly frail in recent weeks following her bad cough and chest infection over Christmas."

The Queen Mother, formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, was daughter of a Scottish Earl. Born August the 4th 1900, she married Prince Albert who was the second son of King George V and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret.

The duke's elder brother succeeded to the throne in 1936 as King Edward VIII, but by the middle of December had abdicated to marry an American divorcee called Wallis Simpson. Simpson was the only person the Queen Mother was viewed to dislike. She later called Wallis Simpson the "lowest of the low" when it was rumoured that Edward and Simpson were talking to the Nazis in 1940 about themselves returning as monarchs.

Prince Albert reluctantly took the throne in 1936, changing his name to King George VI.

The Queen Mother stayed in England during World War II at the side of her husband King George VI instead of fleeing to Canada as suggested to her, earning the respect of the UK citizens.

She stated that, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave."

After her husband's death in 1952, she continued with her royal duties which she continued until she was in her 90's. When she reached her 90's, she made fewer public appearances as she suffered from arthritis which led to a hip replacement at the age of 95, in November 1995. She walked out of hospital unaided 18 days later. However she did break her hip in January 1997 whilst watching horses and had an emergency hip replacement operation.

The Queen Mother, also famous for her love of horse racing, was also the only royal to stay friends with Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles. She was a popular and dedicated Royal and will be sadly missed by many.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. August 4th 1900 - March 30th 2002.

Sources
Associated Press 30/3/2002
New York Post 31/3/2002

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a popular Royal in the Armed Forces. As Honorary Colonel-in-Chief of several Army Regiments, Honorary Air Commodore for some RAF Stations, and holding several Honourary positions in the Royal Navy, her admiration for the Armed Forces was a source of pride for us.

I remember reading the following story about a royal misunderstanding.

HM was reviewing a line-up of some young RAF pilots awarded the Distingushed Flying Cross (DFC) during the War. She asked one what he had done to earn his medal.

"Well, Ma'am," he replied, "I was patrolling the Channel with my Squadron when we sighted a flight of Fokkers ahead of us. One of the Fokkers took out our point man. I climbed above him, dived, and shot the pilot through the canopy. Another Fokker was on my tail, so I looped round and shot him down, and caught another Fokker's tail as I recovered from the loop."

HM nodded admiringly, and asked, "And what were they? Messerschmitts?"

RIP

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