Uncovering the Controversies That Surrounded Elizabeth the Queen Mother

After the death of Queen Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, unexpected revelations about her life abounded in newspapers and biographies.

Crowned on May 12, 1937, Queen Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon held her position with strength and perseverance despite miserable events such as the early passing of her husband King George VI, World War II, and the bombing of Buckingham Palace. When her daughter Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, she was referred to as the Queen Mother.

She fulfilled her duties until her last breath on March 30, 2002 at the age of 101. Here are things about the Queen Mother you may not know about.

According to biographies, not all of her actions were noble.

After the death of the Queen Mother, numerous articles and biographies were published exposing the cruel behaviors that she had earlier displayed, including anecdotes about incompetently ill family members whom she had locked up in institutions and referred to as “dead” while she lived a carefree life in Buckingham.

She had a peculiar fascination for bloodlines.

For the Queen Mother, bloodlines “determined a person’s worth.” This perception influenced her to marry into what she believed was the ultimate choice.

She was particularly enamoured with Edward Windsor (Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex) for his name and privilege, but future events proved that he was uninterested. She eventually married Edward's brother, Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor, who later became King George VI.

She allegedly took advantage of Edward VIII’s marriage which had already been bound for destruction on its own. She ensured that George was heir to the throne so that she would claim her title as Queen. Clearly, her plan prevailed as she was able to rule alongside her husband. 

Edward nearly jeopardized the throne by marrying American divorcee Wallis Simpson, an event the public was not ready for at that time. Edward was also notorious for having arrangements with Adolf Hitler in secrecy. All these controversies provoked his sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, to speak her mind once, when she stated: “The people who caused me most trouble were Wallis Simpson and Hitler.”


She has been perceived as racist.

Part of Her Majesty’s responsibility was to interact with her entourage or the public. Some interactions, however, were not pleasing conversations.

English writer Sir Roy Strong, has admitted that he had concealed the story concerning the Queen Mother's racist comment in order to shield the British monarchy from bashing headlines. He proclaimed that she used the term “blackamoors,” which is a form of English slang to point out a person of color. This happened during a period of small talk.

He was conflicted as to whether or not he should expose the Queen Mother for her offensive language but decided to stay quiet. He mustered the courage to speak out about the issue after her death to avoid any conflict that could have disrupted the relationship that he had with Her Majesty while she was alive.

She was inside the Buckingham Palace during the 1940 bombing.

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On September 13, 1940, a military aircraft hovered over Buckingham Palace to drop a bomb that fortuitously did not physically affect the Queen Mother or any other royal monarch residing in the palace.

The bomb was identified to be manufactured by the German Nazis in an attempt to threaten the crowned head, but the Queen Mother was not shaken by the detrimental message. In fact, she took it as an opportunity to demonstrate her strength. She showed no sign of cowardice and stated one of her well-known comebacks: "I am glad we have been bombed. Now we can look the East End in the eye."


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Adolf Hitler gave her a potent description.

The Queen Mother was classified as one of the most influential leaders who had an abundance of power during the time of Adolf Hitler (WWII). Before that, she was the backbone of the British Monarchy along with King George VI who unfortunately died a few years after the cold war. She went on diplomatic tours to France and North America alongside her husband the King, which proved her influence and power. This was seen as a sign that she was capable of conquering Hitler and his Nazi followers, hence the appellation, “The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe."

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