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CNN.com - Britain's Queen Mum dead at 101 - March 30, 2002

CNN.com - Britain's Queen Mum dead at 101 - March 30, 2002

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      Britain's Queen Mum dead at 101

                  The Queen Mother on August 3, 1997, on the eve of her 97th



      LONDON, England (CNN) -- The Queen Mother, the creator of the modern
British monarchy, died Saturday at the age of 101.

      Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother died in her sleep at Royal Lodge,
Windsor, Buckingham Palace announced.

      Britain's royal matriarch brought the royal household -- previously a
stuffy institution -- far closer to the people.

      "She brought a particular kind of charm and public appeal the like of
which no authentic member of the royal family ever quite seems to have had,"
said historian David Cannadine.

      But the Queen Mother also had a tough, steely side, which she often
had to draw upon after entering the royal family as Lady Elizabeth

      Born a commoner on August 4, 1900, she was pushed into the limelight
when her shy, stuttering husband became king on the abdication of his older
brother, Edward VIII, in December 1936.

      She found it hard to forgive the American divorcee Wallis Simpson for
inflicting the unwanted role upon her.

      At the time she told one of her household: "We must take what is
coming and make the best of it."

      What was to come was a war and a series of family scandals that was to
threaten the stability and respectability she had helped build up for the
royal household.

      Spirit of a nation
      During World War II she rallied the nation in the fight against Adolf
Hitler and was famous for saying she could look East Londoners in the eye
after part of Buckingham Palace was bombed by Germany's Luftwaffe.

      Hitler had branded her the most dangerous woman in Europe for her
spirited resolve during the blitz.

      She was a devoted wife of King George VI and was consort for 16 years.
Afterwards the Queen Mother was an unfailing support behind her daughter,
Queen Elizabeth II.

      The Queen frequently consulted her mother -- ensuring a rock of female
solidity at the heart of an often-troubled modern monarchy.

      Duty was important to the Queen Mother and despite illness and various
operations she was still one of the hardest-working royals, carrying out 130
engagements in her 80th year.

      It was this human touch that allowed her to get away with a recent 4
million overdraft, a result of her extravagant, Edwardian lifestyle -- she
had five homes, a fleet of cars and an unspecified number of staff.

      Crowds would always gather outside Clarence House on her birthdays
waiting for the Queen Mother, usually dressed in her uniform of pastels and
pearls, to show her trademark smile.

      Family travail
      She set the scene for the typical royal marriage and was a firm
believer that marriage should be for life. But she also witnessed the
matrimonial mess experienced by three of her grandchildren.

      Her favorite grandchild, heir to the throne Prince Charles, separated
from Diana, Princess of Wales, after 11 years of marriage, and the Duke of
York, Prince Andrew, separated from the Duchess -- Sarah Ferguson, popularly
known as Fergie -- after six. Both couples were to divorce.

      The Princess Royal, Anne, divorced her first husband, Capt. Mark
Phillips, and within six months married her second, Cmdr. Tim Lawrence.

      And the Queen Mother's other daughter, Princess Margaret, caused a
constitutional stir over her relationship with Group Capt. Peter Townsend, a

      The Queen Mother also was to offer support and comfort to her
great-grandchildren William and Harry after the death of their mother,
Diana, in a Paris car crash in 1997.

      Yet her ready smile and sense of duty remained a constant, even as her
health finally waned and she turned to a golf buggy, the so-called Queen Mum
Mobile to keep up a life's work of public engagements.

      A fun-loving royal, the Queen Mother was known as a congenial and
sometimes feisty character with a love for salmon fishing, only outstripped
by her passion for horse racing.

       Queen Mother in hospital
      August 1, 2001
       Crowds gather for Queen Mother's 100th birthday
      August 4, 2000

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