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Behind Palace Doors: My Service as the Queen Mother's Equerry

by Major Colin Burgess

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622427,620 (3.4)2
She was described as the most dangerous woman in Europe by Adolf Hitler; Noel Coward said people who spent any time with her were always reduced to "gibbering worshippers;" she adored Margaret Thatcher and disliked Germans; and she found the French comical and hankered for the old days of Empire and Commonwealth. Above all, though, she was loved by the nation and in this affectionate and often hilarious inside story of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, her former equerry Major Colin Burgess reveals what life was like living with the most private of all the Royals. A unique and warmly remembered historic insight into a longest-surviving packed with previously untold stories, this is also a celebration of a life gone--and a way of life fast disappearing.… (more)
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An equerry is an officer of the British royal household who attends the sovereign or other member of the royal family. In the case of the Queen Mother's household this was an officer of the Irish Guards. The two year term Major Colin Burgess served was 1994 - 1996. The Queen Mother was in her mid-nineties and the Royal Family was at the mercy of the Press.

Burgess was responsible for the planning and implementing of all the events that occurred involving the Queen Mother. From a picnic lunch in the Scottish highlands, a dinner at Clarence House with guests, a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show,or at a military function where she would ask very specific questions about operations of the different units. But duties could also be stretched to teach a younger guest (age 64) how to roller skate, or solve the dilemma when all the luncheon guests, including the Queen Mum, fall asleep in the sun except for Burgess and it is past three in the afternoon.

This book provides a unique view into the workings of the Queen Mum's household. Servants who had worked there for up to thirty years or more, who had their own ways which were rather casual when compared to the military. It sheds light on her relationships with her children and grandchildren. Who comes to visit often or never. It opens the personalities of some of the lesser know royals, Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne and Princess Margaret's son, David Viscount Linley, both of whom visited often, as did Prince Charles who said: "She was quite simply the most magical grandmother you could possibly have and I was utterly devoted to her."

Posted Review
July 27, 2015
**** ( )
  pmarshall | Jul 27, 2015 |
A surprisingly fun read.
1 vote ramblingivy | Dec 3, 2013 |
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She was described as the most dangerous woman in Europe by Adolf Hitler; Noel Coward said people who spent any time with her were always reduced to "gibbering worshippers;" she adored Margaret Thatcher and disliked Germans; and she found the French comical and hankered for the old days of Empire and Commonwealth. Above all, though, she was loved by the nation and in this affectionate and often hilarious inside story of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, her former equerry Major Colin Burgess reveals what life was like living with the most private of all the Royals. A unique and warmly remembered historic insight into a longest-surviving packed with previously untold stories, this is also a celebration of a life gone--and a way of life fast disappearing.

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