Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 23

Elizabeth (Queen Mother)

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Queen-consort of Great Britain, born in St Paul's Walden Bury, Hertfordshire, UK. Her father became 14th Earl of Strathmore in 1904. Much of her childhood was spent at Glamis Castle in Scotland, where she helped the nursing staff in World War 1. In 1920 she met the Duke of York, the second son of George V; they were married in April 1923. Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) was born in 1926 and Princess Margaret in 1930. She was a strong support to her husband, during the period of Edward VIII's abdication in 1936, and after her husband came to the throne as King George VI, she scored striking personal success in royal visits to Paris (1938) and to Canada and the USA (1939). She was with the king when Buckingham Palace was bombed in 1940, travelling with him to visit heavily damaged towns throughout the war. After George VI's death (1952), the Queen Mother continued to undertake public duties, flying thousands of miles each year and becoming a widely loved figure. In 1978 she became Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, the first woman to hold the office. Even after her 100th birthday, which prompted a nation-wide celebration, she continued to attend public events. Her death generated a wave of popular emotion, with 200 000 people queuing many hours to walk past her coffin in Westminster Hall. A million lined the route of her funeral, and the nation marked her death with a level of ceremony not seen in the UK for half a century.

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