Vermonters Memorialize Britain's Queen Mum
04/02/02 12:00AM By Steve Zind
(Host intro) England's Queen Mother died Saturday at the age of one hundred and one. Her passing did not go unnoticed among Vermonters with ties to England. VPR's Steve Zind reports.
(Zind) Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyons wasn't seen as Queen material, nor was she expected to occupy the position. But when her brother-in-law Edward abdicated the throne, Elizabeth's husband became King George VI and she became Queen. George's fifteen-year rule spanned World War Two. During the bombing of London, the King and Queen and their children remained in the city. George Moyser is a native of England and a Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont:
(Moyser) "They're remaining in London really gave all the people a sense that they were with them. She had a radiant smile and a gift for reaching out to people, which not every member of the royal family shares."
(Zind) Robert Whittingham of Tinmouth was born in Wales and raised in London. He was a teenager during the war. Whittingham says the Queen was a mother figure whose subjects affectionately shortened her chosen title of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother:
(Whittingham) "That itself tells you. The Queen Mum. I don't think any other monarch will ever have that title from the people."
(Zind) Whittingham says the Queen Mother represented a bygone era when people were united in their support of the Monarchy:
(Whittingham) "I think she'll be the last of the great monarch's that we'll ever know in the world."
(Zind) Moyser says even more than an end of an era in the Monarchy, the death of the Queen Mother closes a chapter in history:
(Moyser) "She's always been there in the public life all my life and she had a grandstand seat in much of Europe's and Britain's history throughout the twentieth century."
(Zind) Both Wittingham and Moyser say the purpose and theusefulness of the Monarchy have faded. Neither expect that a future British royal will play as important a role or enjoy the kind of respect afforded Queen Elizabeth.
For Vermont Public Radio, I'm Steve Zind.