Queen Elizabeth I became Queen mother in 1953 when her young daughter, Princess Elizabeth, ascended the throne, but the power shift came with mixed feelings.
When King George VI became King in 1936, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, was Queen Elizabeth. The couple ruled for a little over a decade before King George’s demise.
His sudden death led to the beginning of his daughter, Princess Elizabeth’s reign. This automatically made Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother and lose her reign as the major monarch. This transition was untimely for her, and it led to jealousy. Here’s all that transpired.
The Transition From King George VI’s Reign To Queen Elizabeth II’s Era
King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth became the paramount rulers in England after King Edward unexpectedly abdicated the throne in 1936. George VI and Queen Elizabeth served the firm for 15 years, within which he suffered severe lung diseases.
In 1952, King George’s failing health reached its last dregs, and he died of coronary thrombosis. George VI was reportedly a chain smoker, and his lungs were significantly affected in the long run.
His death was rather jolting and unexpected for the royal family, especially his first child Princess Elizabeth. This was because she had begun her own comfortable family life in Malta with her husband, Prince Philip, and their two young kids, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
King George’s death marked a new era and was rapidly followed by new developments. On the one hand, Princess Elizabeth had to reluctantly return from Malta and assume the duty, with her husband leaving his job as a Naval Officer to be by her side.
On the other hand, the widowed Queen Elizabeth also had to move out of Buckingham Palace. She went from being the Queen to being Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
How The Queen Mother Reacted To Being Displaced
According to Royal biographer Christopher Warwick, the Queen mother did not like being cut off from her reign in her prime. He emphasized that the King and Queen were pretty much in their middle ages when tragedy struck. Warwick added:
“So she felt they’d been cut off in her prime, she loved the position of being Queen and suddenly all that was taken from her. The Queen Mother minded very much being the Queen Mother, she was jealous of her daughter having become Queen.”
However, more royal biographers shared that the animosity the royal matriarch initially had for her daughter’s new status faded off. She apologized to Queen Elizabeth II and went on to maintain the Queen Mother role 50 Years after her husband died.
What Were The Queen Mother’s Duty While She was Queen?
Despite not being prepared for sudden excess attention when Edward forfeited his position, the Queen Mother and George VI dutifully stepped into their roles as King and Queen.
The pair became very popular among the people because of the exceptional way they had handled the global interest in the 1930s. Before World War II started, she and her husband made two important visits to Canada and France.
The most popular impact from them was during the war when the Queen Mother showed immense courage. At the time, she was advised to seek shelter until the colossal dust settled, but she refused and memorably stated:
“The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.”
When Buckingham Palace was hit by the Germans, the then-young Queen stood her ground. She and the King visited war-torn areas, readily bringing comfort to all those affected.
Her Life As Queen Mother
The Queen mother continued her public duties after Elizabeth II’s coronation. She embarked on 40 official visits outside the country. The Queen Mother was also the patron of about 350 organizations.
She was the commander-in-chief of the Army and Airforce Women’s Services. The Queen Mother’s duty also extended to women in the Royal Navy, and she was the president of the Red Cross society in England.
The royal duties she handled became relatively minimal such that the Queen Mother found time for leisure and her favorite pastime. The Queen Mother bought a castle in Scotland and spent a good number of times there until she died in 2002.