Queen Mother: Pundits discuss name choice for second daughter
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The official communication, which was unveiled after almost three decades, revealed that the Queen Mother filed a formal complaint after her sleep was disturbed by low-flying jets during one of her annual trips to the castle. The commandant-in-chief of the RAF Central Flying School, who had just turned 93, ordered one of her staff members to contact the Ministry of Defence to raise the issue of noise from jets during the day.
A letter from the defence secretary’s office dated August 12, 1993, shows that immediate action was taken to keep the peace and comply with her wishes.
The letter stated: “Following your telephone call yesterday about low flying over the Castle of Mey while HM the Queen Mother is in residence I thought it might be helpful to confirm the arrangements that have been made.
“The castle will receive special protection from low flying (which will extend to two nautical miles laterally and two thousand feet vertically) until the Queen Mother leaves on August 27.
“While we can give no guarantee that aircraft are not seen in the vicinity, this should ensure that Her Majesty is not disturbed.
“Similar arrangements can be made for future periods when the Queen Mother is in residence. I understand that this is usually during the month of August.”
Another memo, written by Lieutenant Colonel JJD Cox, said: “I have been told by the Royal Air Force that they have placed a special protection zone over the Castle of Mey.”
Major Sir Ralph Anstruther, the Queen Mother’s treasurer, responded: “I am to ask you to express Her Majesty’s thanks to the Royal Air Force.”
Staff at the castle, near John o’Groats, said she would take an afternoon nap after having her first drink of the day.
The drink was a powerful concoction, reportedly consisting of two parts Dubonnet to one part of gin.
However, this was not the only time the Queen Mother asked for state assistance at her Scottish retreat.
In 1956, she instructed the Ministry of Works, the Government department responsible for rebuilding the nation’s shattered postwar infrastructure, to do some work after discovering mildew and leaks in the castle’s walls.
The Queen Mother had bought the Castle of Mey, in Caithness, as a holiday home for £100 in 1952 after she fell in love with the semi-derelict fortress during a visit to the far north of Scotland.
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After her death in 2002, her beloved castle has turned into a tourist attraction.
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