Fragile Queen Mother ‘insisted’ on attending Margaret’s funeral

Queen Mother's actions at Margaret's funeral revealed by insider

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Last week, on September 8, Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at her Scottish home – Balmoral Castle. The 96-year-old monarch was with her eldest son King Charles III and daughter Princess Anne at the time of her death. Other members of her family travelled up to the estate when news of the monarch’s ailing health came to light. Her Majesty’s funeral will be held on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey and several royals are expected to attend. The last royal funeral held at the Abbey was the Queen Mother’s, who died at the age of 101 in 2002. 

The Queen Mother had been suffering from ill health for months, but having been confined to her Sandringham home over the winter period, the Queen Mother embarked on a rare outing for a very poignant event.

Seven weeks before the Queen Mother’s death, Princess Margaret died at the age of 71. 

Having suffered several strokes and a period of poor health that left her partially paralysed and suffering sight problems, one final stroke the day before her death proved to be fatal.

She was taken from her home at Kensington Palace to the hospital, where she died with her children Lord David Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto by her side.

The princess’ funeral was held the next week at St George’s Chapel, Windsor – 140 miles away from the Sandringham Estate. 

Royal historian Hugo Vickers once claimed that the Queen Mother, despite her fragile state, was insistent on attending her daughter’s funeral. 

He told the 2018 Channel 5 documentary, ‘Elizabeth: Our Queen’: “When Princess Margaret died and the Queen Mother was still at Sandringham – where she would have probably stayed – but she insisted on coming down to Windsor and taking part in the funeral.”

The Queen Mother had not been seen publicly since her final royal engagement in November 2021.

She had spent Christmas on the Sandringham Estate, bedridden with a persistent cold. 

The Queen Mother had missed regular engagements and traditional church services, but in spite of her deteriorating health, she travelled to Windsor for her daughter’s funeral. 

In order to avoid the press, she arrived at the chapel in a people carrier with blacked-out windows. 

The Queen Mother did not want to be seen or photographed in her wheelchair. 

Lady Anne Glenconner, Margaret’s childhood friend and one of Queen Elizabeth II’s Maid of Honours at her coronation in 1953, recalled seeing the matriarch during the service.

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She said: “We all sat in front – all the Ladies-in-Waiting – and it was terribly poignant because the Queen Mother was in a wheelchair, and when the coffin went by she tried to stand up, or I think she may have been held up, so she could be standing when Princess Margaret’s coffin went by.”

Margaret was cremated and buried next to the coffin of her beloved father, King George VI, at Windsor – the Queen Mother was later buried alongside them. 

Lady Glenconner explained: “Princess Margaret was cremated – one of the first members of the Royal Family I think – because she wanted to be buried between her parents, and there was only room really for ashes.”

In the following weeks, the Queen Mother’s health continued to worsen.  

On March 30, the matriarch passed away at her home, the Royal Lodge in Windsor. 

Her surviving daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, was by her bedside. 

The Queen Mother’s funeral was the first royal public funeral at Westminster Abbey since Princess Diana’s in 1997.

Prince Philip’s biographer Gyles Brandreth recalls “speculation in the newspapers that people wouldn’t turn up – that the Queen Mother, being over 100-years-old, belonged to another generation – that people wouldn’t remember her.

“In fact, people turned up in their hundreds of thousands. The country was mourning.”

In a rare public address, the Queen thanked the people that had come out to honour her mother. 

She said: “My family and I always knew what she meant for the people of this country and the special place she occupied in the hearts of so many.

“But the extent of the tribute that huge numbers of you have paid my mother in the last few days has been overwhelming.”

Today, the Royal Family’s social media accounts paid tribute to the former Queen Consort for “inspiring great affection from the public which her daughter the Queen spoke of as, ‘the special place she occupied in the hearts of so many’.”

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