She’s the longest-reigning British monarch and the only one to celebrate a 90th birthday. As The Queen celebrates her special day, tributes are pouring in from those who have met and been inspired by her. From royal news correspondants to authors, we spoke to those who fondly remember their moments with the monarch…
“The Queen was about to walk into a reception at Buckingham Palace when, behind the closed door, she got her lipstick out of her bag, touched up her lips – without using a mirror – and then nodded for the door to be opened. On duty and ready for action!” Jennie Bond, former BBC royal correspondent. The new audiobook Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch, narrated by Jennie Bond, is available at audible.co.uk
“The Queen is surprisingly shy and finds meeting people she doesn’t know quite an effort. So imagine my surprise when she greeted me as if I was an old and trusted friend. We were at a private party and The Queen spoke to me like a member of her inner circle. She was animated and laughing, telling us about an incident that had happened that day.” Ingrid Seward, Editor in Chief of Majesty magazine and author of The Queen’s Speech (Simon & Schuster).
“My most poignant memory is doing the washing up with The Queen! She said ‘I’ll wash, you dry’.” Dickie Arbiter was The Queen’s press spokesperson between 1988-2000. He is the author of On Duty With The Queen (Blink Publishing).
“I’ve been fortunate to know the Queen as my cousin, from a young age. We shared family holidays in Scotland and I’ve seen first-hand what she has achieved. Now, as she celebrates her 90th birthday, the Queen, to my intense pleasure, has emerged as the consummate master of her role.” The Final Curtsey by Margaret Rhodes (Birlinn) is out now.
“My most memorable moment as a royal editor was in 2011 when The Queen became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland in 100 years. It was a real ‘hairs standing on the back of your neck’ moment.” Tim Ewart, Royal Editor, ITV News