The Daily Telegraph


- Edited by Christophe­r Hope peterborou­

The late Queen’s brolly

TV personalit­y Gyles Brandreth, below, recalls when he first met Queen Elizabeth II in May 1968 as a student when she visited the Oxford Union in the pouring rain. He later took union president William Waldegrave (now Provost of Eton) to task for not carrying Her Majesty’s umbrella as he escorted her in a courtyard. “The Queen insists on holding her own umbrella – always,” Waldegrave told Brandreth. “If someone else holds it, the rain trickles down her neck.”

Is it for one?

Queen Elizabeth liked to help her ministers feel at ease at Privy Council meetings, royal biographer Robert Lacey recalls. At a meeting with Cabinet ministers in the early days of Sir Tony Blair’s government, Clare Short’s mobile phone started ringing. No one knew where to look, then the Queen piped up: “Oh dear, I hope that was not for someone important.”

Pushing the boat out

No10 has made clear that a memorial for the late Queen will be considered. One fitting tribute would be side-byside statues of Queen Elizabeth with the Duke of Edinburgh. But perhaps it is time for the UK to push the boat out: why not a replacemen­t for the Royal Yacht Britannia, funded by members of the public?

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay certainly thinks so. He tells me: “I can think of no better tribute for this project to be fast-tracked as a memorial to Queen Elizabeth’s life and as a new binding force for the nation, her realms and Commonweal­th to which she gave, collective­ly, a lifetime of devoted service.” Does anyone else agree?

When the Queen reversed

Queen Elizabeth might have been our monarch, but on Royal Deeside she was treated as “very much one of the locals”, former royal butler Grant Harrold recalls. On one occasion, a postal van driver refused to defer to her when their vehicles met on a narrow road. “The Post Office van one day came face to face with the Queen, did not realise who it was, and made her reverse up one of the lanes,” Harrold says.

Golden lamp posts revealed

Parliament’s gift to Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Platinum Jubilee – two ornate lamps on a plinth of a rampant unicorn, lion, elk and dragon to represent the four nations – have been wrapped in polythene all summer, waiting to be unveiled by the late monarch. Tory MP Michael Ellis raised the funds for the lamps from MPS and peers and was often seen inspecting them in New Palace Yard in the shadow of Big Ben.

Yesterday, he ordered the lamps – topped with spectacula­r gold crowns, below – be uncovered without ceremony by a parliament­ary maintenanc­e crew. The hope now is that King Charles III will formally unveil them “in due course”. And why not? They are magnificen­t.

One is amused

Former Scottish secretary David Mundell recalls the row over space on the Commons benches caused by the SNP returning more MPS than expected at the 2015 general election. “The Queen ... sought to interrogat­e me on the rights and wrongs of the issue,” the Tory MP says. “I found myself blurting out – ‘oh Your Majesty, that’s buttockgat­e’. And I thought ‘in my first meeting with the Queen I have said the word buttock’.” Queen Elizabeth just laughed. “She found it all very amusing,” he says.

Elizabeth II drew the line at Nessie

The late Queen lent her name to hundreds of roads, hospitals and public buildings. But she drew the line at the Loch Ness monster. Naturalist Peter Scott, the son of polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott, wrote to the Royal family in 1960 offering to name the elusive animal “Elizabethi­a Nessiae”.

Her advisors replied saying that it would not be appropriat­e to attach her name to something that was viewed as a “monster”. And it would be “most regrettabl­e” if Nessie turned out to be a hoax.

RIP Queen Elisabeth

Lib Dems in Eastbourne yesterday emailed supporters to cancel “deliveries and other political activity” as well as a planned garden party this weekend. But the respectful email was undermined by its misspelt subject line: “HM Queen Elisabeth II: a Sad Time For Our Country”. At least they meant well.

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