'Humble' Queen would never do things 'her way' unlike younger royals

·Royal Correspondent
·6 min read

Watch: The Queen visits aircraft carrier ahead of deployment

The Queen would never think of doing things "her way" like younger royals because she is "humble" and followed her father's example, according to a royal biographer. 

Matthew Dennison, author of The Queen, said that the monarch had it instilled in her from a young age that there was an example to follow.

It comes as Harry has spoken about feeling "trapped" inside the institution of monarchy claiming his brother William and father Charles were in the same situation.

Harry has said his move to the US was part of his work to break the "cycle of pain and suffering" which he said had been passed on from Prince Charles to him and from the Queen to Charles.

However Prince William appears to have adapted to royal life by following the example of his grandmother. He stepped into defend his family as "very much not racist" after allegations by Harry and Meghan in their interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. 

Speaking about how the Queen was trained for her life of service, Dennison said: "The kind of queen the Queen would be was determined by older men in advance. 

"Throughout her childhood there was focus on her emulating the example of her father and grandfather, the press reports continually picked up on her physical resemblance or resemblance of character between the Queen and other family members.

"When she becomes the Queen the Lord Chancellor sends a memorandum about how important it is to the survival of constitutional monarchy some idea of permanence is.

"I think it was that idea, also part of gender politics at the time, that she would follow a model that had been foreordained.

"We hear younger royals talking about wanting to be their own person and do it their way - it wouldn't cross the Queen's mind to do it her way. 

"She's very humble but also inculcated from her training from a young age was this idea that there was an example that you followed."

TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II reacts during her visit to the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, southern England on May 22, 2021, ahead of its maiden operational deployment to the Philippine Sea. - The aircraft carrier will embark on her first operational deployment on May 23, leading the UK Carrier Strike Group in engagements with 40 nations including India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen during her visit to the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, in May 2021. (Steve Parsons/AFP)

The Queen, at 95, is entering a new phase of life as she continues her work without her "strength and stay" Prince Philip by her side.

While Philip had retired in 2017 from his royal duties, he was still an important part of her life as her husband of more than 73 years before he died in April. 

They had spent more time together in the last year during the pandemic than they had been able to in some time, as he moved down from his retirement spot of Wood Farm in Sandringham to be with her at Windsor Castle.

Dennison said his extensive research for the book showed him the Queen will keep going in her widowhood because of the commitment to the institution of monarchy itself.

He told Yahoo UK: "What I saw throughout her life is this focus on the institution of monarchy and the sense that ultimately she is a servant of monarchy.

"What will sustain her through whatever comes next is that strong conviction that her role is to do whatever is best by the monarchy and that can't change. it becomes a more diff task if you are not supported by close loved ones on who you previously relied but the job description is the same."

He said the Queen's late parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, have been an "ongoing inspiration" for her.

Watch: Prince Charles reveals Queen Elizabeth only owns one TV

He added: "The Queen Mother was widowed for 50 years, which is not going to happen to our Queen, but both of them had a strong religious faith, an unwavering conviction in what loyalty was all about. 

"The Queen had watched her mother go on to the end, carrying out engagements when she was 101, and doing so, albeit in a slow way with a certain pizazz.

"The Queen knows she lacks her mother's theatrical qualities, but what she recognises is that as long as her health continues she had the ability to keep going."

Dennison noted the example too of Philip who didn't retire until he was 97, giving the Queen at least two more years.

Dennison's biography, which is released on 3 June, is a comprehensive look at the monarch's life, from her birth and the unusual fascination with her in her childhood, to how she has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and Harry and Meghan's decision to step back as senior royals.

Comparing the current royal crises to 1992, the year the Queen dubbed her 'Annus Horribilis', Dennison said: "There are clear differences in that in the Annus Horribilis with the collapse of the marriage of the Waleses, the criticism of the Queen's tax position there was direct criticism of the Queen herself. 

"I'm not aware that anybody's response to what's happening with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex includes any criticism of the Queen. On the contrary, there are high levels of sympathy that at this point in her life, and just after death of husband of 73 years she has this to deal with."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as the Royal family attend events to mark the Centenary of the RAF on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Queen, Prince Harry, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in July 2018. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

But as for the similarities, Dennison said: "In part it's a crisis that emerges from her family but I don't think this constitutes an Annus Horribilis in the sense that the queen herself is being criticised or found wanting or any sense that what has happened has been brought about by her actions, even inadvertently."

Without Philip by her side though, the Queen will rely more and more on her advisors.

Dennison said: "Philip had this pater familias role of head of family and Philip found direct confrontation easier than the Queen for whom that is not a natural modus operandi.

"But he had been in failing health for some time and I don't think realistically the Queen would have anticipated him having a guiding role in a crisis of this sort/

"It puts pressure on the Queens advisors to give best possible advice to her and children to rally around her."

The Queen has been returning to in-person engagements in recent weeks as the restrictions around coronavirus ease.

She attended the state opening of parliament with Prince Charles and Camilla but then took on a solo engagement when she visited Portsmouth before the departure of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

She remains at Windsor Castle where she moved to escape London at the beginning of the pandemic.

The Queen by Matthew Dennison is released on 3 June.

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